The Rules of Professional Conduct govern the conduct of every attorney practicing in Ohio, including immigration attorneys. The Rules prohibit most types of in-person solicitation. (See Prof Cond. R. 7.3). The rationale for the rule is to protect prospective clients from the potential abuse of overreaching and undue influence.
Yet, some immigration attorneys follow the questionable practice of setting up tables, handing out business cards, books, or other items identifying the attorney or the law firm to immigrants during various ethnic fairs and festivals.
Under the Rules, it is improper for a lawyer to personally distribute law firm brochures at a street corner, at a booth during a fair, at a church festival, or at other similar events. (Advisory Opinion 99-5). Furthermore, it is improper for a lawyer to direct a non-lawyer to personally distribute similar materials on his or her behalf in an attempt to circumvent the disciplinary rule.
Similar strict rules apply in case the attorney presents a seminar on a legal topic to prospective clients, and wants to distribute written material about the seminar and the law firm among the attendees. (Advisory Opinion 2015-2). The Rules prohibit the attorney personally handing out of such materials. However, firm brochures and information may be left at the exit of the seminar where attendees can take it or not. The attorney who is presenting the seminar may email or mail information about the law firm, if the attendee provided his or her address previously.
Please continue to follow our website or schedule a consultation if you believe you are a victim of in-person solicitation.