Soliciting Clients – Beta Version

In his book

How I Helped
the Mob Rule Chicago,
Then Brought the Outfit Down


by Robert Cooley with Hillel Levin,
Cooley writes of how lawyers would hang out in the halls of Cook County’s criminal courts’ building and try to snag clients.

Cooley is the source of the story that Rod Blagojevich was a bookie.

Recently I talked to someone who was approached another way by a McHenry County lawyer.

The prospective client had been indicted by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Soon a letter arrived in the mail asking if the person wanted his legal representation.

The person called the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and was told that this was not proper conduct.

Here’s the rule that an ARDC person apparently cited:

RULE 7.3 Direct Contact With Prospective Clients
Except as provided in this Rule 7.3, or as permitted by Rule 7.2, a lawyer shall not, directly or through a representative, solicit professional employment when a significant motive for doing so is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain. The term “solicit” means contact with a person other than a lawyer in person, by telephone or telegraph, by letter or other writing, or by other communication directed to a specific recipient.

There are exceptions, the closest of which seems to be

by letters or advertising circulars, providing that such letters and circulars and the envelopes containing them are plainly labeled as advertising material;

The solicitation, however, came in an envelope which was not labeled as “advertising material.”

Is it only one attorney in McHenry County who is using the State’s Attorney indictment list to solicit clients or is this a more general practice?

I wonder what action, if any, the ARDC will take?

I tried to get clarification from the ARDC, but none was forthcoming from the woman who answered the phone and the administrator did not return my call.

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