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Rule7.3. Solicitation ofclients.

(a)  A licensed paralegal practitionershall not by in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicitprofessional employment from a prospective client when a
significant motive for the licensed paralegal practitioner?s doing so is thelicensed paralegal practitioner?s pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:

(a)(1)is a lawyer or other licensed paralegal practitioner;

(a)(2)has a family, close personal, or prior professionalrelationship with the licensed paralegal practitioner, or

(a)(3)is unable to make personal contact with a lawyer or licensed paralegal
practitioner and the licensed paralegal practitioner?s contact with theprospective client
has been initiated by a third party on behalf of the prospective client.

(b)  A licensed paralegal practitionershall not solicit professional employment by
written, recorded or electronic communication or by in-person, live telephoneor real-time electronic contact even when not otherwise prohibited by paragraph(a), if:

(b)(1)the target of the solicitation has made known to thelicensed paralegal practitioner a desire not to be solicited by the licensedparalegal practitioner; or

(b)(2)the solicitation involves coercion, duress orharassment.

(c)  Every written, recorded or electroniccommunication from a licensed paralegal practitioner soliciting professionalemployment from anyone known to be in need of legal services in a particularmatter shall include the words ?Advertising Material? on the outside envelope,if any, and at the beginning of any recorded or electronic communication,unless
the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2). For
the purposes of this subsection, ?written communication? does not includeadvertisement through public media, including but not limited to a telephonedirectory, legal directory, newspaper or other periodical, outdoor advertising,radio, television or webpage.

(d)  Notwithstanding the prohibitions inparagraph (a), a licensed paralegal practitioner
may participate with a prepaid or group legal service plan operated by anorganization not owned or directed by the licensed paralegal practitioner thatuses in-person or other real-
time communication to solicit memberships or subscriptions for the plan frompersons
who are not known to need legal services in a particular matter covered by the plan.

 

Comment

[1]  Asolicitation is a targeted communication initiated by the licensed paralegalpractitioner that is directed to a specific person and that offers to provide,or can
reasonably be understood as offering to provide, legal services. In contrast, alicensed paralegal practitioner?s communication typically does not constitute asolicitation if it is directed to the general public, such as through abillboard, an Internet banner
advertisement, a website or a television commercial, or if it is in response toa request for information or is automatically generated in response to Internetsearches.

[2]  There is a potential for abuse when asolicitation involves direct in-person, live telephone or real-time electroniccontact by a licensed paralegal practitioner with someone known to need legalservices. These forms of contact subject a person to the private importuning ofthe trained advocate in a direct interpersonal encounter. The person, who
may already feel overwhelmed by the circumstances giving rise to the need forlegal
services, may find it difficult fully to evaluate all available alternativeswith reasoned
judgment and appropriate self-interest in the face of the licensed paralegalpractitioner's presence and insistence upon being retained immediately. Thesituation is fraught with the possibility of undue influence, intimidation, and over-reaching.

[3]  This potential for abuse inherent indirect in-person, live telephone or real-time
electronic solicitation justifies its prohibition, particularly since licensedparalegal
practitioners have alternative means of conveying necessary information tothose who may
be in need of legal services. In particular, communications can be mailed ortransmitted by email or other electronic means that do not involve real-timecontact and do not violate
other laws governing solicitations. These forms of communications andsolicitations make
it possible for the public to be informed about the need for legal services,and about the qualifications of available licensed paralegal practitioners andlaw firms, without
subjecting the public to direct in-person, live telephone or real-timeelectronic persuasion
that may overwhelm a person?s judgment.

[4]  The use of general advertising andwritten, recorded or electronic communications
to transmit information from licensed paralegal practitioner to the public,rather than
direct in-person or other real-time communications, will help to ensure thatthe
information flows cleanly as well as freely. The contents of advertisements andcommunications permitted under Rule 7.2 of the Licensed Paralegal PractitionerRules of Professional Conduct can be permanently recorded so that they cannotbe disputed and
may be shared with others who know the licensed paralegal practitioner. Thispotential for informal review is itself likely to help guard against statementsand claims that might
constitute false and misleading communications in violation of Rule 7.1 of theLicensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct. The contents ofdirect in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact can bedisputed and may not be subject to third-
party scrutiny. Consequently, they are much more likely to approach (andoccasionally
cross) the dividing line between accurate representations and those that arefalse and misleading.

[5]  Thereis far less likelihood that a licensed paralegal practitioner would engage in
abusive practices against a former client, or a person with whom the licensedparalegal practitioner has a close personal or family relationship, or wherethe licensed paralegal practitionerhas been asked by a third party to contact a prospective client who is unableto contact a licensed paralegal practitioner, for example when the prospectiveclient is unable
to place a call, or is mentally incapacitated and unable to appreciate the needfor legal
counsel. Nor is there a serious potential for abuse in situations where thelicensed paralegal practitioner is motivated by considerations other than thelicensed paralegal practitioner's pecuniary gain, or when the person contactedis also a lawyer or a licensed paralegal practitioner. This rule is notintended to prohibit a licensed paralegal practitioner from
applying for employment with. Consequently, the general prohibition in Rule7.3(a) and the requirements of Rule 7.3(c) of the Licensed ParalegalProfessional Rules of Professional Conduct are not applicable in thosesituations. Also, paragraph (a) is not intended to
prohibit a licensed paralegal practitioner from participating inconstitutionally protected
activities of public or charitable legal-service organizations or bona fide political, social,
civic, fraternal, employee or trade organizations whose purposes includeproviding or recommending legal services to their members or beneficiaries.

[5a]Rule 7.3(a) authorizes in-person or other real-time contact by a licensedparalegal practitioner with a prospective client when that prospective clientis unable to make
personal contact with a licensed paralegal practitioner, but a third partyinitiates contact
with a licensed paralegal practitioner on behalf of the prospective client andthe licensed paralegal practitioner then contacts the prospective client.

[6]  But even permitted forms ofsolicitation can be abused. Thus, any solicitation which contains informationthat is false or misleading within the meaning of Rule 7.1 of the
Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct, that involvescoercion,
duress or harassment within the meaning of Rule 7.3(b)(2) of the LicensedParalegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct, or that involves contactwith someone who has made known to the licensed paralegal practitioner a desirenot to be solicited by the
licensed paralegal practitioner within the meaning of Rule 7.3(b)(1) isprohibited.
Moreover, if after sending a letter or other communication as permitted by Rule7.2 of the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct thelicensed paralegal practitioner receives no response, any further effort tocommunicate with the recipient of
the communication may violate the provisions of Rule 7.3(b).

[7]  ThisRule is not intended to prohibit a licensed paralegal practitioner from
contacting representatives of organizations or groups that may be interested in
establishing a group or prepaid legal plan for their members, insureds,beneficiaries or
other third parties for the purpose of informing such entities of theavailability of and the
details concerning the plan or arrangement which the licensed paralegalpractitioner or
licensed paralegal practitioner?s firm is willing to offer. This form ofcommunication is not directed to people who are seeking legal services forthemselves. Rather, it is usually addressedto an individual acting in a fiduciary capacity seeking a supplier of legalservices
for others who may, if they choose, become prospective clients of the licensedparalegal practitioner. Under these circumstances, the activity which thelicensed paralegal
practitioner undertakes in communicating with such representatives and the typeof
information transmitted to the individual are functionally similar to and servethe same
purpose as advertising permitted under Rule 7.2 of the Licensed ParalegalPractitioner
Rules of Professional Conduct.

[8]  The requirement in Rule 7.3(c) thatcertain communications be marked "Advertising Material" does notapply to communications sent in response to requests of potential
clients or their spokespersons or sponsors. General announcements by licensedparalegal practitioners, including changes in personnel or office location, donot constitute communications soliciting professional employment from a clientknown to be in need of
legal services within the meaning of this Rule.

[9]  Paragraph (d) of this Rule permits alicensed paralegal practitioner to participate
with an organization that uses personal contact to solicit members for itsgroup or prepaid
legal service plan, provided that the personal contact is not undertaken by anylicensed paralegal practitioner who would be a provider of legal servicesthrough the plan. The organization must not be owned by or directed (whether asmanager or otherwise) by any lawyer or law firm that participates in the plan.For example, paragraph (d) would not
permit a licensed paralegal practitioner to create an organization controlleddirectly or
indirectly by the licensed paralegal practitioner and use the organization forthe in-person
or telephone, live person-to-person contacts or other real-time electronicsolicitation of
legal employment of the licensed paralegal practitioner through memberships inthe plan
or otherwise. The communication permitted by these organizations also must notbe
directed to a person known to need legal services in a particular matter, butis to be
designed to inform potential plan members generally of another means ofaffordable legal services. licensed paralegalpractitioners who participate in a legal service plan must reasonably assurethat the plan sponsors are in compliance with Rules 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3(b). SeeRule 8.4(a) of the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

 

? Effective January 16, 2019