A new and sometimes regrettable trend on the rise within Indiana is the growing number of lawyer solicitation letters mailed to those arrested for criminal offenses. Formerly isolated to counties outside of Johnson, those arrested within the Johnson County limits are no longer immune to such potential abuse.
In past years and continuing today the mailing of such correspondence seeking to profit from another’s misfortune has been deemed “unethical” by respective state legal bar associations and consequently prohibited. However, recently, despite universal distaste for such a practice among most lawyer groups nationwide, the practice has reluctantly been permitted within the field of criminal law under the guise of 1st amendment free speech considerations.
The distinction made to allow such potentially abusive mailings to vulnerable people arrested is made due to the limited time frame those accused of criminal offenses have to assert legal rights and defenses. Based upon these legal deadlines it has been asserted that although the potential abuse exists among criminal lawyers seeking to take advantage of recently arrested individuals through lawyer mailings for employment, a rational basis exists in support of the practice under the first amendment so as to prevent legal challenge.
Following an arrest most people come home bewildered at the turn of events in their lives that can potentially alter the course of their future. For those not experienced or well versed in how to best select an attorney for their legal defense, the first mailing found within their mailbox may result in the first and only call made to an attorney. In such circumstances it is not at all uncommon to later discover an attorney more concerned with ensnaring employment from such unsuspecting individuals than working to best defend criminal cases.
From the big glossy mailed brochure to the lawyer letter seemingly created by a used car dealer, one need not base a decision on a defense lawyer from the appearance or quick delivery of such a letter for employment. Rather, take a moment to consider the potential legal representative who has taken the significant time and investment not in furthering the cause of those arrested, but rather in detecting who has been arrested and how to best get such an individual to retain them for employment.
The practice of legal defense is not and should never be operated as a business with profit motive the priority above all other considerations. Unfortunately, I have often been looked upon to rectify the case defenses of good and unsuspecting people who made the costly decision to base their decision on legal representation from the first or most appealing mailed correspondence that arrived at their place of residence.
Many quality lawyers have now taken the position that they must engage in this practice in order to provide what meaningful dialogue that they can offer. In so doing, it is the hope among many lawyers that they can do what is possible to combat the possibility of allowing a poor attorney to be retained without a meaningful alternative presented to a person in need.
Although more top flight lawyers have now reluctantly joined the direct mail world, I would suggest that one be extremely cautious and thorough when reviewing the credentials of all potential attorneys offering their services by way of mail.
Again, I can assert that many experienced and qualified defense lawyers are now engaged in the process of direct mail in order to provide competent and effective legal representation. However, far too many people arrested often wake up to the reality that the lawyer they have chosen is not one most concerned with your legal defense but is one who has made sending employment letters the first and foremost priority of their legal practice.
When it comes to the retention of the most effective legal counsel, never entrust your legal defense to the lawyer with a reputation for the most efficiently delivered attorney employment letters. Rather, please take the necessary time within which to adequately research and converse with the most qualified lawyers who have built a reputation for effectiveness within a court of law.