Last spring, as you undoubtedly know by now, a single Connecticut attorney filed complaints against Total Attorneys High Performance Marketing sponsors in 47 states. The complaints alleged that these attorneys had violated their respective Rules of Professional Conduct simply by participating in the Total Attorneys advertising program. The majority of states receiving the complaints took no action.
North Carolina was one of 23 states to open an investigation in response to the complaint, and this week was the 13th state to close its investigation with no finding of wrongdoing. In a brief letter, the Chair of the Grievance Committee of the North Carolina State Bar advised that the grievance had been dismissed, noting that there was not probable cause to believe that the attorneys had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Recap of State’s Findings
In almost one year since the initial complaints were filed, no state has made any finding of wrongdoing in connection with them. Illinois, Hawai’i, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Vermont, Washington, Texas and North Carolina have all closed their investigations or dismissed the complaints.
Connecticut dismissed the charges after the close of the prosecution’s case in an evidentiary hearing, without requiring the attorneys’ counsel to present a defense. Bar counsel and the previous defendants are jointly requesting an advisory opinion in the state of Arizona.
Although the majority of states which initiated inquiries have now closed their files with no finding of misconduct, the complainant continues his attack on the Total Attorneys internet marketing model. He has filed a request for reconsideration in Idaho and petitioned to re-open a bankruptcy case in Connecticut in order to attack the advertising model in yet another forum.
Want the Full Analysis?
While the majority of states never opened investigations and many have closed with simple letters stating that there was not probable cause to proceed, both Connecticut and Washington provided specific analysis of the issues.
For the full analysis, see the Connecticut memorandum decision and the Washington closure letter. These analyses confirm that it is possible for small-firm and solo attorneys to take advantage of new marketing technologies without violating their ethical codes and bode well for the future of attorney marketing.