Informal Opinion Number: 2018-13

Adoption Date: 2018

Rules: 4-7.3; 4-8.4
Information About Legal Services
Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession
Direct Contact With Prospective Clients
Subject: Advertising and Solicition; Misconduct - Generally
Summary: lawyer providing educational seminars; solicitation; misconduct through acts of another

Question: Attorney plans to present educational seminars about estate planning. At the end of the seminar, a non-lawyer presenter will give information about costs of estate planning and offer audience members a discount certificate for Attorney’s estate planning services. Alternatively, Attorney is considering sending attendees a follow-up letter describing Attorney’s services and enclosing a discount certificate. May Attorney participate in the program?
Answer: Attorney may give educational seminars. It is permissible for information about Attorney’s legal services to be available at the seminar for inquirers, but Attorney may not initiate the in-person solicitation of legal business. The promotion of Attorney’s services or offering of a discount certificate at the seminar would constitute in-person solicitation prohibited by Rule 4-7.3. Attorney may not violate Rule 4-7.3 through the actions of another, including a non-lawyer co-presenter at the seminar. See Rule 4-8.4(a). Attorney may mail attendees a solicitation letter after the seminar if the written solicitation complies in all respects with Rule 4-7.3, Direct Contact with Prospective Clients.

Informal Opinions are ethics advisory opinions issued by the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to members of the Bar about Rule 4 (Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule 5 (Complaints and Proceedings Thereon), and Rule 6 (Fees to Practice Law) pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30(c). Written summaries of select Informal Opinions are published for informational purposes as determined by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 5.30(c). Informal opinion summaries are advisory in nature and are not binding. These opinions are published as an educational service and do not constitute legal advice.

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