Sanctioning the Ambulance Chaser

Loyola Law Review, Vol. 41, 2008

Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 116

48 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2008 Last revised: 6 Nov 2008

Date Written: August 4, 2008


Most scholars of professional responsibility who have written about the ban on solicitation of new clients want to see the prohibition liberalized. This Article offers empirical support for the near-consensus by exploring the two contrary meanings of "sanction." Sanction in the sense of punishment exists in state codes of professional responsibility: Almost every United States jurisdiction deems solicitation a disciplinary offense. The record, however, reveals sanctioning in the sense of condoning. My effort to count every instance of attorney discipline for solicitation reported to the public during 2002-2007 located very few in relation to the 1.3 million licenses held to practice law. The number is apparently only 61, and I argue that, properly understood, this count is much lower - perhaps as low as 1. Purporting to declare a behavior punishable while at the same time permitting it to go on without punishment is a state of hypocrisy that the bar ought to abandon.

Keywords: solicitation, legal ethics, plaintiffs', professional responsbility

Suggested Citation

Bernstein, Anita, Sanctioning the Ambulance Chaser (August 4, 2008). Loyola Law Review, Vol. 41, 2008, Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 116, Available at SSRN:

Anita Bernstein (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States
718-780-7934 (Phone)

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