For lawyers,general canvassing is prohibited“, explained master Guillaume Martine, member of the council of the order of lawyers of Paris, Monday, September 12 on franceinfo. The institution opened a disciplinary investigation on September 5 against master Richard Legrand, as revealed by franceinfo. This lawyer is suspected of having created false victim profiles on Facebook to attract as many clients as possible to his firm in the Buitoni case.
franceinfo: Is canvassing prohibited for lawyers?
William Martin: General canvassing, shall we say, is prohibited. What has been authorized since relatively recently is personalized solicitation, ie the fact that a lawyer addresses a particular natural or legal person to offer his services. The personalized solicitation that is permitted, from the bar association’s perspective, is in writing. Before it can be addressed to the client, this solicitation must indeed be checked by the order, to verify that its content is sincere and coherent. It cannot be done by SMS or by phone.
The Paris Bar Association opened this investigation after receiving a report. What will the procedure look like?
We will verify that this information is corroborated, but also collect the observations of Me Legrand. Have an exchange with him on the good faith or not that he was able to show, to see if, in fact, he was able to commit such acts. Then, it will be up to the president of Paris to decide, if the facts should be characterized, to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
What is he at risk?
There is a scale of disciplinary sanctions that exists, from a warning to disbarment. To my knowledge, I do not believe that a radiation was pronounced for acts of canvassing like these. It will eventually be up to the disciplinary panel, if it were to be seized following the ethics investigation, to pronounce the sentence according to the facts as they are revealed, then also according to the explanations and position of this lawyer whose I note that he has been practicing for a relatively short time.