Shook & Stone is pleased to announce that Partner
Leonard Stone and Attorney
Nicole Steinhaus recently had an article featured in the
Advocate, a bi-monthly professional legal journal published by the Nevada Association
for Justice. Their article –
Runners and Cappers in Nevada – was featured in the
Advocate’s March/April 2017 issue.
Attorney Stone and Steinhaus’ article focuses on the importance of
maintaining high ethical standards in the practice of law, and how “runners”
and “cappers” – or people who solicit accident victims
for representation, sometimes in collusion with attorneys and in exchange
for money. As they state, runners and cappers are a danger to the profession
and something attorneys must police themselves in order to prevent the
possibility that the issue, and the profession at large, could be policed
by others, potentially with a less desirable outcome.
The attorneys delve further into the discussion on runners and cappers
by drawing from their years of experience, and having encountered these
individuals on various occasions. Commonly, these include tow truck drivers
and other third parties that seek a finder’s fee from attorneys
in exchange for cases. They also discuss more egregious tactics, including
third parties that fraudulently misrepresent themselves to accident victims.
As is frustrating for many attorneys, runners and cappers threaten to damage
the profession and reputation of trial lawyers, who already face stereotypes
and misconceptions of the ambulance chaser, Stone and Steinhaus note.
The practice also directs injured victims toward attorneys whose moral
flexibility allows them to compromise ethics and accept these cases. If
an attorney is willing to take shortcuts in exchange for cases, they reason,
it is likely they will take others, and potentially expose clients to
poor quality representation.
Following up on their insight and discussion on how runners and cappers
pose dangers to the legal profession, Stone and Steinhaus go on to analyze
their conduct and the situations they create through the filter of state
laws regarding professional conduct, particularly in the areas of advertising,
communicating with potential clients, and even criminal exposure for unlawful
business solicitation, insurance fraud, and deceptive trade practices.
The attorneys conclude their article by reiterating the need for legal
professionals to enforce ethics within their profession, and to abide
by the rules themselves. You can read the full article