In the legal profession they are called "runners" – non-lawyers who approach Tennessee personal injury victims and families of Tennessee wrongful death victims and try to persuade them to hire a particular lawyer or law firm. They may come to the scene of an accident, a hospital room, a residence, even a funeral home. Sometimes they are paid for their services, sometimes they do it just to have an "in" with a lawyer.
Runners may be ambulance drivers, tow truck operators, nurses or hospital technicians. Whoever they are and however they approach you, what they are doing is wrong. It is improper for a lawyer to employ the service of a non-lawyer to solicit personal injury clients or wrongful death clients. It is also improper for the lawyer to conduct this type of activity himself or herself.
So why do some lawyers do such a thing? Why would a lawyer put his or her law license on the line to get a new client? Because they have trouble getting clients based on their reputation or any of the other ways good lawyers find good clients. And the reason that they have trouble getting clients in an ethical way is that they aren’t good lawyers.
Think about it this way: if a lawyer is willing to violate the law to get your case, do you really think that you can trust him or her with your case? This type of lawyer is simply dishonest, and if he or she is willing to cheat to get your case if is safe to assume that you will not be treated any better.
This is not to say that you should disregard totally a lawyer referral from a family member, friend, or trusted co-worker – I am not suggesting that these people are runners. What you should be wary of is being approached by people you don’t have a prior legal relationship with who attempt to persuade you to hire a particular lawyer or law firm,
If you are approached by a runner, you should do two things. First, do not hire this lawyer, under any circumstances. Second, contact the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility and report this lawyer.
Do you want to know more about what factors you should consider in determining what lawyer to hire in your Tennessee personal injury case or a Tennessee wrongful death case? Read our free legal guide, "Understanding How to Hire a Lawyer in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case." It gives you a comprehensive list of factors you should consider in determining which lawyer is right for your case.