Minutes after the Flight 1549 crash….

by Walter Olson on January 15, 2009

A Twitter user found this “AttorneyOne” promotion site for “Hudson Plane Crash”, which Patrick @ Popehat (aka SSFC) mentions funnily. On closer examination, however, one finds that this site was not thrown up in response to USAir #1549’s dramatic landing in the Hudson River. Its URL contains the words “Summit” and “Ohio”, meaning that it was aimed at plane crashes connected with this community in northeastern Ohio. Indeed, it was a website prearranged just to be sitting there should a plane crash take place connected with the town of Hudson, Ohio. A bit of URL-tinkering confirms that one can generate a similar AttorneyOne page hawking attorneys’ services for a hypothetical plane crash in Chillicothe, Ohio. So don’t compare this sort of thing to online ambulance chasing. It’s more like camping out online and waiting for the accident to come to you.

Hope that clears things up.

P.S. Considerably more on the topic from Eric Turkewitz here and here (congratulations, Jonathan C. Reiter) and from Robert Ambrogi. And while I originally credited this Twitter user with stumbling across the find, it appears it was first found by Greg Lambert of Three Geeks and a Law Blog and passed on from there.

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January 29 roundup
01.30.09 at 8:01 am
March 3 roundup
03.02.09 at 11:28 pm

{ 5 comments }

1 M. Sean Fosmire 01.15.09 at 8:48 pm

Indeed, if you review and follow the numerous links to drugs and medical products, you will see that this site is intended to lure those who are searching for those names, and it prominently offers to allow you to enter your name and other information, which it will then send to “up to ten” law firms that are willing to respond. No doubt the inquiries will go only to those firms who have paid for the service.

2 philG 01.15.09 at 9:02 pm

That is quite interesting since they say that they are not a law firm, but will pass on the names they collect to lawyers (presumably for a commision). But bar association rules say that a lawyer can only pay a commision (referral fee) to another lawyer, not to a non-lawyer. And a lawyer can be punished by the bar association for paying such a commision to a non-lawyer, including up to being dis-barred.

3 Brian S. 01.15.09 at 9:21 pm
4 John Burgess 01.16.09 at 12:26 am

PhilG: Might it be that while not a law firm, the company (or individual) soliciting the info is comprised of lawyers? This would meet both ends of the law. They are not a firm that will take your case, but they are lawyers who will refer it.

5 PhilG 01.16.09 at 3:17 am

John Burgess: It is true that the majority of lawyers who advertise heavily just resell the people who answer their ads to other lawyers and do not actually take on any cases themselves (typically keeping about one third of the contingency fee as their referral fee), as this company is doing. As one lawyer advertiser so elequently put it, “there are chicken catchers and chicken pluckers”.

But they say that they are lawyers in their ads (giving potential clients the mis-impression that they will actually be handling the cases themselves). But this company explicitly states that it is not a law firm. I agree that it does not state that it is not owned by a lawyer. But it certainly gives that impression when it says it is not a law firm.

But unless it is actually owned by a lawyer, any lawyer taking cases from it and paying it a commision for that business will be in big trouble with his or her bar association since the bar associations forbid paying any commisions (referral fees) to non-lawyers.

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