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.