The State Bar of California Issues Fraud Alert, Warns the Public to Watch for and Report Potential Legal Fraud in Response to Recent Fires, 101817 CABJ, CBJ - October 2017 #01

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The State Bar of California Issues Fraud Alert, Warns the Public to Watch for and Report Potential Legal Fraud in Response to Recent Fires

No. 2017 #01

California Bar Journal

October 18, 2017

ORDER

The State Bar of California is warning the public to watch out for and report potential fraud in response to the recent fires across the state. As a result of California’s ongoing fires, many people may wish to seek legal advice for various reasons, including insurance disputes, landlord tenant disputes, consumer fraud and more. California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on behalf of a lawyer from: • Soliciting clients at an accident scene, at a hospital, or on the way to a hospital

• Soliciting clients who, due to their physical, emotional or mental state, may not be able to have reasonable judgment about the hiring of an attorney

• Seeking clients by mail unless the letter and envelope are clearly labeled as an advertisement

• Promising a particular outcome from the legal representation

In the wake of the fires, there is also the risk of victims being approached in person, by mail, email or other means, by people posing as attorneys. Consumers must carefully check that people offering legal services are legitimate and licensed to provide such services.

Before hiring an attorney, Californians should check the State Bar website for the status of an attorney's license to practice law and whether they have any record of discipline.

State Bar's additional resources for consumers: • Legal resources for people impacted by the California fires

• What to know when you hire an attorney

• File a complaint for the unauthorized practice of law

• File an...

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