'Airport Lawyers' and the Ethics of In-Person Solicitation
As Northrup puts it, he is "burdened to view the world through the lens of legal ethics," and his first thought was, "Isn't this improper in-person solicitation?"
Northrup explains that Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3, which governs in-person solicitation of clients, provides in subsection (a) that "a lawyer shall not by in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain…."
It's the last phrase, he writes, that contains the good news for the airport lawyers. "[A]s attentive readers will have noted, Rule 7.3 permits in-person solicitation that is not significantly motivated by a lawyer's pecuniary gain." And whether "a lawyer volunteer for a not-for-profit organization that ultimately might be awarded a fee can engage in in-person solicitation was decided in the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case In re Primus" – and it was resolved in the lawyer's favor. Read the rest of Northrup's analysis in the April Illinois Bar Journal.