John Villafranco


A member of the Executive Committee at Kelly, Drye & Warren LLP, John Villafranco provides litigation and counseling services, with a focus on advertising law matters and consumer protection. John is highly respected for consistently delivering comprehensive legal counsel that emphasizes risk analysis and sound business practices for corporations involved in advertising and marketing. On the regulatory side, clients tell the U.S. Legal 500 that John is “arguably the best advertising lawyer in the U.S.” and “consistently provides good advice and service.”

John’s litigation experience includes consumer class action defense in state and federal court, litigation with the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys General, and Lanham Act litigation involving telecommunications, fast food, dietary supplement and consumer product companies. Among John’s clients are technology service providers, wireless advertisers, cloud-based software companies, telecommunication companies, major retailers and direct marketers, as well as manufacturers of dietary supplements, degradable plastics, automobiles, tires, fuel and engine oils, home appliances and other consumer products.

In addition, John represents clients in advertising substantiation proceedings and investigations conducted by the FTC and State Attorneys General. Clients applaud John’s practical advice, telling Chambers that he “knows the FTC and the law better than anyone.” John also represents challengers and advertisers before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). Moreover, he counsels clients regarding issues involving privacy, data security, electronic commerce, dietary supplement labeling, promotion and marketing, fair credit reporting, multi-level marketing, debt collection practices, truth-in-lending, health and safety claims, environmental marketing and standard certification.

John is considered an authority on a range of issues involving consumer protection law. He was Lead Editor on the Comments of the ABA’s Section of Antitrust Law on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century (2019) and is Chair of the Section’s Big Data Task Force (2019-20). He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Consumer Protection Law Developments treatise; was Editorial Chair on a year-long project that culminated in a report entitled “Self-Regulation of Advertising in the United States: An Assessment of the National Advertising Division” (Apr. 2015); is an author and featured columnist on advertising law issues; and is a frequent speaker at ABA and FTC programs and other advertising law seminars.

Notably, John has conducted advertising law workshops for many corporations, including Sprint, DISH, AOL, 3M, Whirlpool, Burger King, BellSouth, R.J. Reynolds, XO Communications, Michelin, Bissell, Verizon, and Iovate Health Sciences, among others. In addition, he will chair the 2021 ABA Consumer Protection Conference, and previously chaired the 2019 ABA In-house Institute, 2011 and 2012 ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting, and the 2007 and 2009 ABA Conferences on Consumer Protection.