Unfortunately, ambulance chasing, running cases, barratry and solicitation are used by some law firms to obtain personal injury cases. Please understand that such practices are not only unethical but in many instances are a crime. The Texas Penal Code provides in part:
(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit the person:
(1) knowingly institutes a suit or claim that the person has not been authorized to pursue;
(2) solicits employment, either in person or by telephone, for himself or for another;
(3) pays, gives, or advances or offers to pay, give, or advance to a prospective client money or anything of value to obtain employment as a professional from the prospective client;
(4) pays or gives or offers to pay or give a person money or anything of value to solicit employment;
(5) pays or gives or offers to pay or give a family member of a prospective client money or anything of value to solicit employment; or
(6) accepts or agrees to accept money or anything of value to solicit employment…
(i) Final conviction of felony barratry is a serious crime for all purposes and acts…
This type of conduct has helped give the legal profession a black eye. You should be interested in hiring a lawyer with whom you are comfortable and who is qualified to handle you particular legal matter. Ask yourself whether you are comfortable being represented by a lawyer that is willing to engage in unethical and illegal conduct before hiring a lawyer that has solicited you. When someone is pushing a lawyer upon you, ask them what they are getting out of it. Are they being paid to bring your case to the lawyer?
If you have fallen victim to this conduct, Sec. 82.065 of the Texas Government Code may allow you to void the contract:
Sec. 82.065. CONTINGENT FEE CONTRACT FOR LEGAL SERVICES.
(a) A contingent fee contract for legal services must be in writing and signed by the attorney and client.
(b) A contingent fee contract for legal services is voidable by the client if it is procured as a result of conduct violating the laws of this state or the Disciplinary Rules of the State Bar of Texas regarding barratry by attorneys or other persons.
Effective September 1, 2011, the Texas Legislature enacted a new statute found at Texas Government Code Sec. 82.0651 that may provide a $10,000 civil fine for those solicited.
If you have been the victim of Solicitation or Barratry, we may be able to help or you may want to contact the State Bar of Texas.