Lawyers who directly solicit accident victims are subject to disbarment
Too often I hear of injury victims who were directly solicited by phone or in a hospital by "runners" working for lawyers in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia. If you or a loved on is solicited after suffering an injury, you should know that any lawyer who participates in that sort of solicitation is subject to disbarment if caught.
Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3 provides, in part, as follows:
(d) A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment as a private practitioner for the lawyer, a partner or associate through direct personal contact or through live telephone contact, with a non-lawyer who has not sought advice regarding employment of a lawyer.
Solicitations of accident victims by mail are improper within the first 30 days after the injury. Rule 7.3 also provides:
(a) A lawyer shall not send, or knowingly permit to be sent, on behalf of the lawyer, the lawyer’s firm, lawyer’s partner, associate, or any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the lawyer’s firm, a written communication to a prospective client for the purpose of obtaining professional employment if: . . .
(3) the written communication concerns an action for personal injury or wrongful death or otherwise relates to an accident or disaster involving the person to whom the communication is addressed or a relative of that person, unless the accident or disaster occurred more than 30 days prior to the mailing of the communication;
I have seen instances of even out of state firms that are not licensed to practice law in Georgia directly soliciting a widow before the spouse’s body is buried. They are subject to reciprocal discipline in their home state for violation of these rules in Georgia.
The maximum penalty for a violation of Rule 7.3 is disbarment.
Would you really want your important case to be handled by a bottom feeding scumbag of a lawyer so unethical and desperate that he is willing to risk losing his license to practice law if he is caught in that solicitation?
If you receive such a solicitation, get the name and number of the caller and then immediately call the State Bar of Georgia Office of General Counsel at (404) 527-8720, and offer to assist in investigation and file a grievance for violation of Rule 7.3.
The State Bar needs to enforce the ethical rules and uphold virtue in the legal profession, but it cannot make strong disciplinary cases against such unethical lawyers without evidence required to support a prosecution.
Ken Shigley, an Atlanta attorney, launched the first law firm web site in Georgia in 1996, and the second lawyer blog in the state. He is a national board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. His practice focuses on representing people who are catastrophically injured, and families of those killed, primarily in commercial trucking and bus accidents. Mr. Shigley also has extensive experience representing parties in products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine).
Mr. Shigley is treasurer of the State Bar of Georgia, of which he has been elected to become president-elect on 6/19/10 and president on 6/4/11.
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