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This afternoon, I received perhaps the most disgusting solicitation I’ve come across. It was from (coded NoFollow).

Here’s what I received:

Disgusting Advertisement

This solicitation is disgusting on many different levels. Not only does it encourage nefarious attorneys to engage in what amounts to solicitation, but it reduces "clients" to nothing more than marks to be commodified and sold to the highest bidder. These are real people suffering through the worst tragedies in their lives who turns into chattel ready for delivery.

Of course, I’m not the only lawyer sends this trash to. Eric Turkewitz wrote about this a year ago: Digs Down Deep For Personal Injury Lawyers. You should read Eric’s post in its entirety, but here’s a quick clip:

It made me shudder. And made me think of the washed up lawyer played by Paul Newman in The Verdict, going to funeral homes to pass around his card [see Eric’s original post for YouTube video], pretending to have known the deceased as he chased cases. But instead of standing in their parlors handing out cards, this company wants lawyers to hang advertising on their site where the bereaved might go in time of need.

So, not really believing this email was real, as I thought it too sickening to be true, I shot back a reply to its sender, Tom Keesee: Is this for real?

And Keesee called back quickly, perhaps excited about having a having a potential fish on the line. Yes, he said, it was for real.

But before he could launch too deeply into his sales spiel, I asked him about the ethics of it all. Lawyers don’t pay him for leads, he said, so there was no problem. Also, since they aren’t attorneys, they don’t have to comply with attorney ethics rules regarding solicitation.

I pointed out, of course, that the lawyers that wanted to do business with still had to comply with ethics rules. And wasn’t this solicitation? He told me, a couple of times, that his “legal department” had looked into it and it was fine.

But rather than dwell on whether lawyers advertising on a funeral home website is a permissible form of solicitation or not, I’m going to move right to the “smell test” as in, does this smell right to you?

As Turkewitz concluded: No, it does not pass the smell test. In fact, it plain stinks.

Shame on for selling out its customers this way. I doubt there are really "over 600 law firms" advertising with But if there are, they should all be ashamed.

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(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

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