Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Proof Not All Lawyers The Same-- article excerpt

Below is another article outlining our attempts to place limits on lawyer solicitation letters..........

April 18, 2005
Excerpt from the Akron Beacon Journal

A group of trial lawyers from Stark County -- led by Canton attorney Brian Wilson -- is pushing the Ohio Supreme Court to bar lawyers from soliciting accident victims by mail until 30 days after a crash. It would take a simple majority vote of the court's seven justices to adopt the change.

Chief Justice Thomas Moyer has said he favors a 30-day limit.

Brian Wilson, President of the Stark County Trial Lawyers, answered questions about the proposal:

Q: Why seek a 30-day ban?

A: The steady creep of these letters. Ten years ago, if you were in an accident, you were likely to get a couple of these letters. Now, you might get 10 letters and two videos and some chiropractic solicitations stuffed in your mailbox. And the 98 percent of us trial lawyers who don't send these letters hear it (from jurors) when we pick a jury. The consensus is almost unanimous: People hate (the letters). Those of us who don't send them are sick and tired of being lumped in with those who do send them.

Q: What's the reaction from fellow lawyers?

A: Almost all of our colleagues have said, "Go get 'em!" A few have complained that if the 30-day ban sticks, insurance companies will take early advantage of people in accidents. But these (solicitation) letters are not public service announcements; they're business pitches. . . . Most people instinctively know when they're not being treated fairly by an insurance company. Like Bob Dylan once said, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Q: Is there any middle ground?

A: Unfortunately, a 30-day ban is the only middle ground. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys have a right of free speech under the First Amendment to send these letters. So we can't ask that they be banned altogether.

Q: Do other states have such prohibitions?

A: Florida passed a 30-day ban on these letters, and it was held to be constitutional (by the U.S. Supreme Court), so that's the model we are working from.

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