2005 California Business and Professions Code Sections 6150-6156 Article 9. Unlawful Solicitation

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE
SECTION 6150-6156

6150.  This article is a part of Chapter 4 of this division of the
Business and Professions Code, but the phrase "this chapter" as used
in Chapter 4 does not apply to the provisions of this article unless
expressly made applicable.
6151.  As used in this article:
   (a) A runner or capper is any person, firm, association or
corporation acting for consideration in any manner or in any capacity
as an agent for an attorney at law or law firm, whether the attorney
or any member of the law firm is admitted in California or any other
jurisdiction, in the solicitation or procurement of business for the
attorney at law or law firm as provided in this article.
   (b) An agent is one who represents another in dealings with one or
more third persons.
6152.  (a) It is unlawful for:
   (1) Any person, in an individual capacity or in a capacity as a
public or private employee, or for any firm, corporation, partnership
or association to act as a runner or capper for any attorneys or to
solicit any business for any attorneys in and about the state
prisons, county jails, city jails, city prisons, or other places of
detention of persons, city receiving hospitals, city and county
receiving hospitals, county hospitals, superior courts, or in any
public institution or in any public place or upon any public street
or highway or in and about private hospitals, sanitariums or in and
about any private institution or upon private property of any
character whatsoever.
   (2) Any person to solicit another person to commit or join in the
commission of a violation of subdivision (a).
   (b) A general release from a liability claim obtained from any
person during the period of the first physical confinement, whether
as an inpatient or outpatient, in a clinic or health facility, as
defined in Sections 1203 and 1250 of the Health and Safety Code, as a
result of the injury alleged to have given rise to the claim and
primarily for treatment of the injury, is presumed fraudulent if the
release is executed within 15 days after the commencement of
confinement or prior to release from confinement, whichever occurs
first.
   (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the
recommendation of professional employment where that recommendation
is not prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State
Bar of California.
   (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that a
public defender or assigned counsel may not make known his or her
services as a criminal defense attorney to persons unable to afford
legal counsel whether those persons are in custody or otherwise.
6153.  Any person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation
violating subdivision (a) of Section 6152 is punishable, upon a first
conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one
year or by a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000),
or by both that imprisonment and fine.  Upon a second or subsequent
conviction, a person, firm, partnership, association, or corporation
is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one
year, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four
years, or by a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000),
or by both that imprisonment and fine.
   Any person employed either as an officer, director, trustee,
clerk, servant or agent of this state or of any county or other
municipal corporation or subdivision thereof, who is found guilty of
violating any of the provisions of this article, shall forfeit the
right to his office and employment in addition to any other penalty
provided in this article.
6154.  (a) Any contract for professional services secured by any
attorney at law or law firm in this state through the services of a
runner or capper is void.  In any action against any attorney or law
firm under the Unfair Practices Act, Chapter 4 (commencing with
Section 17000) of Division 7, or Chapter 5 (commencing with Section
17200) of Division 7, any judgment shall include an order divesting
the attorney or law firm of any fees and other compensation received
pursuant to any such void contract.  Those fees and compensation
shall be recoverable as additional civil penalties under Chapter 4
(commencing with Section 17000) or Chapter 5 (commencing with Section
17200) of Division 7.
   (b) Notwithstanding Section 17206 or any other provision of law,
any fees recovered pursuant to subdivision (a) in an action involving
professional services related to the provision of workers'
compensation shall be allocated as follows:  if the action is brought
by the Attorney General, one-half of the penalty collected shall be
paid to the State General Fund, and one-half of the penalty collected
shall be paid to the Workers' Compensation Fraud Account in the
Insurance Fund; if the action is brought by a district attorney,
one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of
the county in which the judgment was entered, and one-half of the
penalty collected shall be paid to the Workers' Compensation Fraud
Account in the Insurance Fund; if the action is brought by a city
attorney or city prosecutor, one-half of the penalty collected shall
be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was
entered, and one-half of the penalty collected shall be paid to the
Workers' Compensation Fraud Account in the Insurance Fund.  Moneys
deposited into the Workers' Compensation Fraud Account pursuant to
this subdivision shall be used in the investigation and prosecution
of workers' compensation fraud, as appropriated by the Legislature.
6155.  (a) An individual, partnership, corporation, association, or
any other entity shall not operate for the direct or indirect
purpose, in whole or in part, of referring potential clients to
attorneys, and no attorney shall accept a referral of such potential
clients, unless all of the following requirements are met:
   (1) The service is registered with the State Bar of  California
and (a) on July 1, 1988, is operated in conformity with minimum
standards for a lawyer referral service established by the State Bar,
or (b) upon approval by the Supreme Court of minimum standards for a
lawyer referral service, is operated in conformity with those
standards.
   (2) The combined charges to the potential client by the referral
service and the attorney to whom the potential client is referred do
not exceed the total cost that the client would normally pay if no
referral service were involved.
   (b) A referral service shall not be owned or operated, in whole or
in part, directly or indirectly, by those lawyers to whom,
individually or collectively, more than 20 percent of referrals are
made.  For purposes of this subdivision, a referral service that is
owned or operated by a bar association, as defined in the minimum
standards, shall be deemed to be owned or operated by its governing
committee so long as the governing committee is constituted and
functions in the manner prescribed by the minimum standards.
   (c) None of the following is a lawyer referral service:
   (1) A plan of legal insurance as defined in Section 119.6 of the
Insurance Code.
   (2) A group or prepaid legal plan, whether operated by a union,
trust, mutual benefit or aid association, public or private
corporation, or other entity or person, which meets both of the
following conditions:
   (A) It recommends, furnishes, or pays for legal services to its
members or beneficiaries.
   (B) It provides telephone advice or personal consultation.
   (3) A program having as its purpose the referral of clients to
attorneys for representation on a pro bono basis.
   (d) The following are in the public interest and do not constitute
an unlawful restraint of trade or commerce:
   (1) An agreement between a referral service and a participating
attorney to eliminate or restrict the attorney's fee for an initial
office consultation for each potential client or to provide free or
reduced fee services.
   (2) Requirements by a referral service that attorneys meet
reasonable participation requirements, including experience,
education, and training requirements.
   (3) Provisions of the minimum standards as approved by the Supreme
Court.
   (4) Requirements that the application and renewal fees for
certification as a lawyer referral service be determined, in whole or
in part, by a consideration of any combination of the following
factors:  a referral service's gross annual revenues, number of
panels, number of panel members, amount of fees charged to panel
members, or for-profit or nonprofit status; provided that the
application and renewal fees do not exceed ten thousand dollars
($10,000) or 1 percent of the gross annual revenues, whichever is
less.
   (5) Requirements that, to increase access to the justice system
for all Californians, lawyer referral services establish separate
ongoing activities or arrangements that serve persons of limited
means.
   (e) A violation or threatened violation of this section may be
enjoined by any person.
   (f) With the approval of the Supreme Court, the State Bar shall
formulate and enforce rules and regulations for carrying out this
section, including rules and regulations which do the following:
   (1) Establish minimum standards for lawyer referral services.  The
minimum standards shall include provisions ensuring that panel
membership shall be open to all attorneys practicing in the
geographical area served who are qualified by virtue of suitable
experience, and limiting attorney registration and membership fees to
reasonable sums which do not discourage widespread attorney
membership.
   (2) Require that an entity seeking to qualify as a lawyer referral
service register with the State Bar and obtain from the State Bar a
certificate of compliance with the minimum standards for lawyer
referral services.
   (3) Require that the certificate may be obtained, maintained,
suspended, or revoked pursuant to procedures set forth in the rules
and regulations.
   (4) Require the lawyer referral service to pay an application and
renewal fee for the certificate in such reasonable amounts as may be
determined by the State Bar.  The State Bar shall adopt rules
authorizing the waiver or reduction of the fees upon a demonstration
of financial necessity.  The State Bar may require that the
application and renewal fees for certification as a lawyer referral
service be determined, in whole or in part, by a consideration of any
combination of the following factors:  a referral service's gross
annual revenues, number of panels, number of panel members, amount of
fees charged to panel members, or for-profit or nonprofit status;
provided that the application and renewal fees do not exceed ten
thousand dollars ($10,000) or 1 percent of the gross annual revenues,
whichever is less.
   (5) Require that, to increase access to the justice system for all
Californians, lawyer referral services establish separate ongoinq
activities or arrangements that serve persons of limited means.
   (6) Require each lawyer who is a member of a certified lawyer
referral service to comply with all applicable professional
standards, rules, and regulations, and to possess a policy of errors
and omissions insurance in an amount not less than one hundred
thousand dollars ($100,000) for each occurrence and three hundred
thousand dollars ($300,000) aggregate, per year.  By rule, the State
Bar may provide for alternative proof of financial responsibility to
meet this requirement.
   (g) Provide that cause for denial of certification or
recertification or revocation of certification of a lawyer referral
service shall include, but not be limited to:
   (1) Noncompliance with the statutes or minimum standards governing
lawyer referral services as adopted and from time to time amended.
   (2) Sharing common or cross ownership, interests, or operations
with any entity which engages in referrals to licensed or unlicensed
health care providers.
   (3) Direct or indirect consideration regarding referrals between
an owner, operator, or member of a lawyer referral service and any
licensed or unlicensed health care provider.
   (4) Advertising on behalf of attorneys in violation of the Rules
of Professional Conduct or the Business and Professions Code.
   (h) This section shall not be construed to prohibit attorneys from
jointly advertising their services.
   (1) Permissible joint advertising, among other things, identifies
by name the advertising attorneys or law firms whom the consumer of
legal services may select and initiate contact with.
   (2) Certifiable referral activity involves, among other things,
some person or entity other than the consumer and advertising
attorney or law firms which, in person, electronically, or otherwise,
refers the consumer to an attorney or law firm not identified in the
advertising.
   (i) A lawyer referral service certified under this section and
operating in full compliance with this section, and in full
compliance with the minimum standards and the rules and regulations
of the State Bar governing lawyer referral services, shall not be
deemed to be in violation of Section 3215 of the Labor Code or
Section 750 of the Insurance Code.
   (j) The payment by an attorney or law firm member of a certified
referral service of the normal fees of that service shall not be
deemed to be in violation of Section 3215 of the Labor Code or
Section 750 of the Insurance Code, provided that the attorney or law
firm member is in full compliance with the minimum standards and the
rules and regulations of the State Bar governing lawyer referral
services.
   (k) Certifications of lawyer referral services issued by the State
Bar shall not be transferable.
6156.  (a) Any individual, partnership, association, corporation, or
other entity, including, but not limited to, any person or entity
having an ownership interest in a lawyer referral service, which
engages, has engaged, or proposes to engage in violations of Section
6155, shall be liable for a civil penalty as defined in Sections
17206, 17206.1, and 17536, respectively, which shall be assessed and
recovered in a civil action brought:
   (1) In the manner specified in subdivision (a) of Section 17206 or
Section 17536.
   (2) By the State Bar of California.
   (b) If the action is brought pursuant to subdivision (a), the
court shall determine the reasonable expenses, if any, incurred by
the State Bar in its investigation and prosecution of the action.  In
these cases, before any penalty collected is paid out pursuant to
subdivision (b) of Section 17206 or 17536, the amount of the
reasonable expenses incurred by the State Bar shall be paid to the
State Bar and shall be deposited and used as provided in subdivision
(c).
   (c) If the action is brought pursuant to paragraph (2) of
subdivision (a), the civil penalty shall be paid to the State Bar and
shall be deposited into a special fund to be used first for the
investigation and prosection of other such cases by the State Bar,
with any excess to be used for the investigation and prosecution of
attorney discipline cases.



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