Some Lawyer Called Me About My Car Wreck

I was in a car wreck last week.  I was hurt pretty bad.  I got home from the hospital last night and a lawyer called me and said that he wanted to represent me in my case.  I have no idea who this guy is or how he got my name and telephone number.  Nobody in my family has ever heard of him.  Can he call me like this?  Should I hire him?  He said he could get me a lot of money.

This lawyer is a scumbag – not only should you not hire him but you should report him to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.  Rule 7.3(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct says this about soliciting a potential client by telephone:  "(a) If a significant motive for the solicitation is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain, a lawyer shall not solicit professional employment by in-person, live telephone, or real-time electronic contact from a prospective client who has not initiated the contact with the lawyer and with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship."  The Comment to the rule explains why is exists:

[1] There is a potential for abuse inherent in direct in-person or live telephone contact by a lawyer with a prospective client known to need legal services. These forms of contact between a lawyer and a specifically targeted recipient subject the layperson to the private importuning of the trained advocate in a direct interpersonal encounter. The prospective client, who may already feel overwhelmed by the circumstances giving rise to the need for legal services, may find it difficult fully to evaluate all available alternatives with reasoned judgment and appropriate self-interest in the face of the lawyer’s presence and insistence upon being retained immediately. The situation is fraught with the possibility of undue influence, intimidation, and overreaching.

A lawyer who engages in this conduct is subject to various types of discipline and, in fact, risks loss of his or her license to practice law.

So, why should you care?  I mean, you just need a lawyer, and if the lawyer has undertaken the initiative to seek you out, didn’t that just make your job easier?

Here is why you should care.  Every law student is taught that this lawyer cannot do what he did. The prohibition is reinforced in legal seminars for practicing lawyers.  So, you have to ask yourself these questions:  If a lawyer is willing to violate the rules of the profession to get my case, why should I believe that he will follow other rules that are designed to protect my interests?  Why should I believe that he will honestly communicate with me?   Why should I assume that a cheater will only cheat once?   Why should I take the risk that he might cheat me?  Why should I take the risk that he might try to cheat my opponent, get caught and hurt my case?

So, don’t hire a lawyer who calls you out of nowhere trying to solicit your case.  Instead, read our legal guide "Understanding How to Hire a Lawyer in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases" to learn about the factors you should consider in determining what lawyer to hire for your case.


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