Direct mail restrictions

December 1, 2008
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Have you ever been in an accident and then received mail from an attorney only days later? If you have, did you find the mailing helpful or annoying? That’s what the Indiana State Bar Association wants to find out from residents regarding direct mail from attorneys following accidents. The survey of residents will ask if lawyers should have to wait 30 days until directly contacting people by mail.

Bloomington attorney Ken Nunn doesn’t like this idea. In documents he recently sent to IL reporter Michael Hoskins, who wrote a story about the survey, Nunn notes he’s probably sent as much or more direct mail than any other attorney in Indiana. One of the documents Nunn sent us is a copy of an e-mail he sent to a listserv. The gist of it is that Nunn doesn’t support the idea of a cooling-off period and instituting the 30-day ban is a restriction on attorneys’ freedom of speech.

Nunn argues there’s nothing wrong with sending free information to people right after they’ve been involved in an accident because although it’s advertising, it provides information to the public. He says the information he sends to potential clients can help prevent people from getting the short end of the stick from an insurance company, information that people might not know unless they received his mailings.

I’ve been in a few auto accidents and haven’t received anything from attorneys in the mail, probably because they were minor accidents. My reaction to receiving a direct mailing would be to just throw it away.

Nunn does bring up some good points in his argument, but in today’s litigious society, I’d be willing to bet most people who are injured in an accident that isn’t their fault already think about contacting an attorney even if they don’t get direct mail from one. The benefit of direct mail is those people will have an attorney name and number right in front of them, making it more likely for some injured people to contact that attorney instead of searching for another to represent them. If someone wants to sue, they will regardless of when they receive a direct mailer or even if they don’t receive one at all.

Do you think a cooling-off period is a good idea or unnecessary? If you’ve received direct mail from an attorney after an accident, how soon did you get it?
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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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