Rule 7.3 deals with the Solicitation of Potential clients in personal injury, divorce or legal separations, workers compensation, and wrongful death cases unless they are involved in an incident that occurred more than 30 days from the date of occurrence prior to the mailing of any solicitation.
How would some creative lawyer or law firm get around this attempt to control solicitation which primarily occurs in automobile, tractor trailer, or school bus cases as demonstrated in the past couple of years in the Chattanooga area? Here are a few tactics presently being used:
1. As soon as a major catastrophic accident happens get an out-of-state attorney or their investigator who is not licensed to practice law in Tennessee to contact the family or injured person directly through a friendly preacher or funeral home and gain control of the case as soon as possible. After the 30 days of the non-solicitation rule elapses the case can then be sent to a licensed Tennessee lawyer on a fee splitting basis or handled completely by the local firm;
2. Shortly after a tractor trailer or school bus accident create a television commercial showing lawyers who claim to be experts in truck or school bus litigation standing on top of a similar prototype of the vehicle causing the accident without referring to the specific tragedy;
3. Put an article on your website describing your alleged expertise in #2 without making any reference to the specific tragedy; and
4. Make a specific representation that a substantial amount of money ($2,500.00) is available to anyone that was in a wreck and was contacted by a lawyer, medical provider, or someone acting on their behalf by obtaining a police report. If the lawyer making the representation gets the first non-personal injury case it is fairly obvious that they will have the inside track in getting the initial case that resulted in personal injuries.
5. Obviously there are other creative ways to circumvent the 30 day rule restriction. As long as money is at stake, the efforts to get around Rule 7.3 will continue.
I encourage you to buy local products and hire local, reputable attorneys!