20131222-161719.jpg

In the race to who can be the sleaziest lawyers in the country, Ohio personal injury lawyers are now soliciting injury victims via text messages. The lawyers are getting cell phone numbers from police reports.

As reported by Mark Williams of the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio Supreme Court approved text advertising in an advisory opinion earlier this year.

The Court is requiring texting lawyers to pick up the recipient’s cell charges. I am not sure how that’s enforced. Does the lawyer call the victim and ask for the bill so they can send them 17 cents?

The court believes text solicitations reflect changing technology. It’s just “another way for lawyers to communicate with prospective clients,” per a court spokesperson.

Imagine a father visiting his daughter in the hospital the day after a serious accident and getting text messages from a lawyer with links to a website with pictures of cars rolled over in a ditch, trucks hitting cars, victims being loaded into ambulances, and x-rays.

Far fetched? Hardly. Those pics and an offer to chat live are what you receive on the website of Columbus Attorney Scott Schiff who’s been texting injury victims. “It’s obviously a means of reaching the public through the most advanced technology out there,” he told Williams.

Fortunately for Columbus injury victims, Schiff found the disclosures that come with text soliciting too restrictive. Letting a victim know they were receiving an advertisement and that they may consult a different attorney took up more space than the 160 characters most cell phones allowed.

It’s hard to believe that a court sees text soliciting as just reflecting a change in technology. A change in technology from what? Calling injury victims, which the court does not allow?

I practiced as a personal injury lawyer for 17 years. I wanted cases as much as anyone. We advertised. We sent out booklets which explained what goes into selecting a lawyer to people who called us.

But at some point isn’t there a limit to what is tasteful? Isn’t there a threshold our profession ought to maintain? We are lawyers, and our reputation isn’t getting any better.

Follow this advancement of technology argument and we’ll soon have lawyers talking out of drones flying over car accidents.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jason Taellious.