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Model Rule 7.3

Reporter's Explanation of Changes


1. Paragraph (a): Extend prohibition to "real-time electronic contact"

The Commission, in accord with the ABA Commission on Responsibility in Client Development, is recommending that lawyer solicitation by real-time electronic communication (e.g., an Internet chatroom) be prohibited. Differentiating between e-mail and real-time electronic communication, the Commission has concluded that the interactivity and immediacy of response in real-time electronic communication presents the same dangers as those involved in live telephone contact.

2. Paragraph (a)(1): Exempt contacts with lawyers

In agreement with a recommendation of the ABA Commission on Responsibility in Client Development, the Commission has concluded that lawyers do not need the special protection afforded by this Rule. Such an exemption would permit in-person contacts with in-house lawyers of organizations but would not permit contact with nonlawyer representatives of such organizations.

3. Paragraph (a)(2): Exempt contacts with persons with "close personal relationship" to lawyer

The ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility permitted in-person contact with close personal friends. Approximately 10 states still do. Although the Commission recognizes the imprecision of the concept of a close personal relationship, it seems difficult to justify prohibiting a lawyer from calling a close friend and offering to represent the friend in a legal matter.

4. Paragraph (b): Add reference to "real-time electronic contact"

The prohibition against real-time electronic contact in paragraph (a) requires the addition of a reference to real-time electronic contact in paragraph (b).

5. Paragraph (c): Add reference to electronic contact and modify exception to conform to paragraph (a)

The reference to electronic contact is needed so a lawyer sending e-mail to a person known to need legal services will be required to identify the e-mail as an advertisement. The relocation and modification of the exception was necessary to conform paragraph (c) with the changes in paragraph (a).


[1], [2] and [3] The references to real-time electronic contact and electronic communications were added to conform the Comment to the proposed changes in the text of the Rule.

[3] The second sentence of this Comment has been modified to reflect the deletion of current paragraph (b) from Rule 7.2. The change in the second to the last sentence corrects an error in the current Comment.

[4] The first sentence has been modified to indicate that the reference in the Rule text to a "prior professional relationship" denotes a former client-lawyer relationship. A sentence has been added to explain the inapplicability of paragraphs (a) and (c) to contacts with lawyers. The last sentence has been added to recognize the constitutional limitations on regulators attempting to prohibit lawyers from cooperating with nonprofit organizations assisting members or beneficiaries to secure legal counsel necessary for redress of grievances. See United Transportation Union v. State Bar, 401 U.S. 576 (1971).

[8] These changes are stylistic. No change in substance is intended.

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