Court rescinds proposed legal solicitation amendment

By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

The Michigan Supreme Court recently rescinded its order amending Rule 7.3 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct to add a 30-day prohibition on targeted written solicitations following an injury, death, or accident that may give rise to a claim and require the labeling of letters and circulars, whether targeted or non-targeted, as advertising material.

That order, adopted 4-3, was to have taken effect September 1.

The proposed amendments to Rule 7.3, Direct Contact with Prospective Clients, defines, under the section "prohibited methods of communication," solicit as including contact that is directed to a specific person in person or by telephone or telegraph or by letter or other writing or by other communication.

A lawyer is absolutely prohibited from soliciting work by "written or recorded communication or by in-person or telephone contact if the prospective client" has indicated to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited or the solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment.

The rule goes on to define what is not solicitation and is thus allowable. Included is a reference to Shapero v Kentucky Bar Ass'n, 486 US 466 (1988) and states that a solicitation sent to a person who may have a potential claim can only be sent 30 days after the injury, death or accident that gave rise to the claim and must contain the words "Advertising Material" on the envelope and at the beginning and ending of the any written communication.

Those words must appear whether the written communication is sent by regular mail, private carrier, electronically or in any other manner.

Comments on the proposed order may be sent to the Supreme Court in writing or electronically by November 1, 2011 at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909 or MSC_clerk

The Court welcomes the views of all. This matter also will be considered at a public hearing.

A copy of the proposed order is available at the Michigan Supreme Court website.

Published: Thu, Aug 18, 2011