Ind. R. Prof'l. Cond. 7.3

As amended through April 3, 2024
Rule 7.3 - Contact with prospective Clients
(a) A lawyer (including the lawyer's employee or agent) shall not by in-person, live telephone, or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a prospective client when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:
(1) is a lawyer; or
(2) has a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer.
(b) A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment from a prospective client by in-person or by written, or recorded, audio, video, or electronic communication, including the Internet, if:
(1) the prospective client has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer;
(2) the solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment;
(3) the solicitation concerns an action for personal injury or wrongful death or otherwise relates to an accident or disaster involving the person to whom the solicitation is addressed or a relative of that person, unless the accident or disaster occurred more than 30 days prior to the initiation of the solicitation;
(4) the solicitation concerns a specific matter and the lawyer knows, or rea-sonably should know, that the person to whom the solicitation is directed is represented by a lawyer in the matter; or
(5) the lawyer knows, or reasonably should know, that the physical, emotion-al, or mental state of the person makes it unlikely that the person would exercise reasona-ble judgment in employing a lawyer.
(c) Every written, recorded, or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from a prospective client potentially in need of legal services in a particular matter, shall include the words "Advertising Material" conspicuously placed both on the face of any outside envelope and at the beginning of any written communication, and both at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication, unless the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2). A copy of each such communication shall be filed with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission at or prior to its dissemination to the prospective client. A filing fee in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) payable to the "Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission Fund" shall accompany each such filing. In the event a written, recorded or electronic communication is distributed to multiple prospective clients, a single copy of the mailing less information specific to the intended recipients, such as name, address (including email address) and date of mailing, may be filed with the Commission. Each time any such communication is changed or altered, a copy of the new or modified communication shall be filed with the Disciplinary Commission at or prior to the time of its mailing or distribution. The lawyer shall retain a list containing the names and addresses, including email addresses, of all persons or entities to whom each communication has been mailed or distributed for a period of not less than one (1) year following the last date of mailing or distribution. Communications filed pursuant to this subdivision shall be open to public inspection.
(d) A lawyer shall not accept referrals from, make referrals to, or solicit clients on behalf of any lawyer referral service unless such service falls within clauses (1)-(4) below. A lawyer or any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the lawyer's law firm may be recommended, employed, or paid by, or cooperate with, one of the following offices or organizations that promote the use of the lawyer's services or those of the lawyer's firm, if there is no interference with the exercise of independent professional judgment on behalf of a client of the lawyer or the lawyer's firm:
(1) A legal office or public defender office:
(A) operated or sponsored on a not-for-profit basis by a law school ac-credited by the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Ad-missions to the Bar;
(B) operated or sponsored on a not-for-profit basis by a bona fide non-profit community organization;
(C) operated or sponsored on a not-for-profit basis by a governmental agency;
(D) operated sponsored, or approved in writing by the Indiana State Bar Association, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, the Defense Trial Coun-sel of Indiana, any bona fide county or city bar association within the State of In-diana, or any other bar association whose lawyer referral service has been sanc-tioned for operation in Indiana by the Indiana Disciplinary Commission; and
(E) operated by a Circuit or Superior Court within the State of Indiana.
(2) A military legal assistance office;
(3) A lawyer referral service operated, sponsored, or approved by any organi-zation listed in clause (1)(D); or
(4) Any other non-profit organization that recommends, furnishes, or pays for legal services to its members or beneficiaries, but only if the following conditions are met:
(A) the primary purposes of such organization do not include the rendi-tion of legal services;
(B) the recommending, furnishing, or paying for legal services to its members is incidental and reasonably related to the primary purpose purposes of such organization;
(C) such organization does not derive a financial benefit from the ren-dition of legal services by the lawyer; and
(D) the member or beneficiary for whom the legal services are ren-dered, and not such organization, is recognized as the client of the lawyer in the matter.
(e) A lawyer shall not compensate or give anything of value to a person or organization to recommend or secure the lawyer's employment by a client, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the lawyer's employment by a client, except that the lawyer may pay for public communication permitted by Rule 7.2 and the usual and reasonable fees or dues charged by a lawyer referral service falling within the provisions of paragraph (d) above.
(f) A lawyer shall not accept employment when the lawyer knows, or reasonably should know, it is obvious that the person who seeks the lawyer's services does so as a result of lawyer conduct prohibited under this Rule 7.3.

Ind. R. Prof'l. Cond. 7.3

Amended effective 1/19/1989; amended Nov. 30, 1989, effective 1/1/1990; amended Dec. 4, 1998, effective 1/1/1999; amended Sep. 30, 2004, effective 1/1/2005; amended Oct. 14, 2010, effective 1/1/2011.
Commentary

[1] There is a potential for abuse inherent in direct in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact by a lawyer with a prospective client known to need legal services. These forms of contact between a lawyer and a prospective client 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 re-tained immediately. The situation is fraught with the possibility of undue influence, intimidation, and over-reaching.

[2] This potential for abuse inherent in direct in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic solicitation of prospective clients justifies its prohibition, particularly since lawyer ad-vertising and written and recorded communication permitted under Rule 7.2 offer alternative means of conveying necessary information to those who may be in need of legal services.

[3] The use of general advertising and written, recorded, or electronic communica-tions to transmit information from lawyer to prospective client, rather than direct in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact, will help to assure that the information flows cleanly as well as freely. The contents of advertisements and communications permitted under Rule 7.2 can be permanently recorded so that they cannot be disputed and may be shared with others who know the lawyer. This potential for informal review is itself likely to help guard against state-ments and claims that might constitute false and misleading communications, in violation of Rule 7.1. The contents of direct in-person, live telephone, or real-time electronic conversations between a lawyer and a prospective client can be disputed and may not be subject to third-party scrutiny. Consequently, they are much more likely to approach (and occasionally cross) the di-viding line between accurate representations and those that are false and misleading.

[4] There is far less likelihood that a lawyer would engage in abusive practices against an individual who is a former client, or with whom the lawyer has close personal or fami-ly relationship, or in situations in which the lawyer is motivated by considerations other than the lawyer's pecuniary gain. Nor is there a serious potential for abuse when the person contacted is a lawyer. Consequently, the general prohibition in Rule 7.3(a) and the requirements of Rule 7.3(c) are not applicable in those situations. Also, paragraph (a) is not intended to prohibit a lawyer from participating in constitutionally protected activities of public or charitable legal-service or-ganizations or bona fide political, social, civic, fraternal, employee, or trade organizations whose purposes include providing or recommending legal services to its members or beneficiaries.

[5] But even permitted forms of solicitation can be abused. Thus, any solicitation which contains information which is false or misleading within the meaning of Rule 7.1, which involves coercion, duress, or harassment within the meaning of Rule 7.3(b)(2), or which involves contact with a prospective client who has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer within the meaning of Rule 7.3(b)(1) is prohibited. Moreover, if after sending a letter or other communication to a client as permitted by Rule 7.2, the lawyer receives no re-sponse, any further effort to communicate with the prospective client may violate the provisions of Rule 7.3(b).

[6] This rule allows targeted solicitation of potential plaintiffs or claimants in person-al injury and wrongful death causes of action or other causes of action that relate to an accident, disaster, death, or injury, but only if such solicitation is initiated no less than 30 days after the incident. This restriction is reasonably required by the sensitized state of the potential clients, who may be either injured or grieving over the loss of a family member, and the abuses that ex-perience has shown exist in this type of solicitation.