The American Bar Association has released a nine-page opinion addressing Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 7.3(b), 8.4(a) and 5.3. The rules were previously amended in 2018 to define client solicitation and prohibition on live, person-to-person solicitation of legal services.
The opinion released clarifies what constitutes a “solicitation,” defining it as person-to-person contact initiated by a lawyer or persons employed by, retained by or associated with a lawyer (under certain circumstances) to offer legal services to an individual knowingly in need of legal services. These actions are directly prohibited under ABA rules.
The opinion allows for satisfied clients or third parties not employed by the lawyer to share opinions and recommendations about a specific lawyer, with satisfied client recommendations to the public or to direct friends or family members permissible.
A full version of Formal Opinion 501 can be found here.