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Virginia Criminal and Traffic Leads and Direct Mail

The leads: We collect all Virginia general district court criminal and traffic data. 

Types of service: We have two types of service: the Traditional Service and the Full Service. With the Traditional Service, we collect leads on newly filed Virginia criminal and traffic cases. We filter these leads according to your specifications in terms of the counties you are interested in, the types of charges (cases) you are interested in, and your general marketing strategy. We can then send you a spreadsheet containing these leads. You only pay for the leads we send you and we only send you the leads that you want. In addition, we also offer a free mail merge service. If you email us your letters, we will keep them on file, and then each day, Monday through Friday, we will mail merge the leads into your letters and then email you the already mail merged letters ready for printing. We can also perform free mail merge into labels. Just email us the brand name and number of labels that you use and then we can set up a label template. Each day, Monday through Friday, we will mail merge the leads into the labels, and email you the mail-merged labels, which will be ready for you to print at your office.

For the Full Service, we handle the entire process for you, from collecting the newly filed Virginia criminal and traffic cases (the leads), filtering them to your specifications in terms of counties (general district courts), types of charges that you are interested in, and any other strategy that you have. We then print your envelopes and letters in full color and mail off your mail pieces (advertisements). We mail each day, Monday through Friday. We are professional mailers and maintain multiple permits with USPS.

Price: For the Traditional Service, there is a one month (30 calendar day) free trial, followed by $0.45 per record. For the Full Service, the first 4 weeks of service are discounted by $0.45 for a total price of $1.15 per mail piece. After the free trial, the price is $1.60 per mail piece. The Full Service price is all-inclusive, and includes the cost of the leads, labor, postage, and materials. The free trial or discounted trial does not obligate you to continue with regular service. There are also no long term commitments. You can cancel at any time, just by emailing us. With either the Traditional Service or Full Service, you can cap the amount you want to spend so that you can stay within your marketing budget.

How fresh are the leads? We collect the leads each day, every day, so the leads are as fresh as the leads can be. We email the leads to you each day, Monday through Friday. Monday's data contains the leads from the weekend.

How do you fix bad addresses and returned mail? We use address correction software. This is software maintained by a vendor that has a license with USPS. The addresses in the leads we collect are fed through the address correction software (and thus the USPS databases of addresses). The result is that many bad addresses are eliminated entirely. Some bad addresses have fixable errors and the software automatically fixes those errors. This can be a real advantage since you now have some leads with accurate addresses that other attorneys may not have access to. Address correction software is not perfect, and you will still get some returned mail. However, the quality of the address correction software that we use will substantially reduce returned mail and help get more of your mailers to the right potential clients at the correct address.

Can I get only the types of cases I want and only in the counties that I want? Yes. We can filter the data to your specifications according to county and type of cases.

Can you help me execute complex marketing strategies? Yes, we can help you with just about any strategy, including, but not limited to:

  • Identifying out-of-state defendants so that you can target those most likely to hire an attorney instead of going to court themselves.
  • Identifying Hispanic records so that you can send an advertisement in Spanish.
  • Mailing for complex combinations of charges: like only mailing for driving on a suspended license if the defendant is also charged with either a DUI or a reckless driving charge.

Is it easy to make changes? Yes, just email us and we can make the changes for you.

Any other special characteristics of your service: Yes, we can provide free mail merge to make things easier on your end. Basically, you email us your letters and we keep them on file. Each day, we mail merge the data into the letters, and then email you the already mail-merged letters along with the data. You can just open up the document containing the mail-merged letters and just hit “print.” Then you can do the rest of the mailing process. It is that easy. There is no extra charge for mail merge. We can also handle mail merge into labels for you. Again, there is no extra cost for this.

Can you do the mailings for me? Yes. This is called our Full Service. The price is $1.60 per mail piece ($1.15 per mail piece for the first 4 weeks of service). This is an all-inclusive price and includes the cost of the leads, postage, labor, and materials. We also print in full color on both the envelopes and letters at no extra cost. Even the invoicing is simple with the Full Service: we simply invoice you once every two weeks by adding the number of mail pieces mailed off for you during that two week period. There are no extra charges or fees. You can also cap the amount that you want to spend so you stay within your marketing budget.

Do you have any samples of the Virginia leads or sample Virginia advertising letters and mail pieces for me to look at? Yes, please email us at info@directlegalmail.com or use the contact box to the right, and we will send you a sample of the data and/or sample letters.

Ethics rules relating to direct mail advertising in Virginia

Rule 7.3 - Solicitation of Clients

(a) A solicitation is a communication initiated by or on behalf of a lawyer that is directed to a specific person known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter and that offers to provide, or can reasonably be understood as offering to provide, legal services for that matter.

(b) A lawyer shall not solicit employment from a potential client if:

          (1) the potential client has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer; or

          (2) the solicitation involves harassment, undue influence, coercion, duress, compulsion, intimidation, threats or unwarranted promises of benefits.

(c) Every written, recorded or electronic solicitation from a lawyer shall conspicuously include the words “ADVERTISING MATERIAL” on the outside envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic solicitation, unless the recipient of the solicitation:

          (1) is a lawyer; or

          (2) has a familial, personal, or prior professional relationship with the lawyer; or

          (3) is one who has had prior contact with the lawyer.

          (4) is contacted pursuant to court-ordered notification.

(d) A lawyer shall not compensate, give, or promise anything of value to a person who is not an employee or lawyer in the same law firm for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may:

          (1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule  and Rule 7.1, including online group advertising;

          (2) pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit qualified lawyer referral service;

          (3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17; and

          (4) give nominal gifts of gratitude that are neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation for recommending a lawyer’s services.

Comment

Direct Contact between Lawyers and Laypersons

[1] A lawyer’s communication typically does not constitute a solicitation if it is directed to the general public, such as through a billboard, an Internet banner advertisement, a website or a television commercial, or if it is in response to a request for information or is automatically generated in response to Internet searches.

[2] There is far less likelihood that a lawyer would engage in abusive practices against an individual who is a former client, or with whom the lawyer has a close personal or family relationship; nor is there a serious potential for abuse when the person contacted is a lawyer or when the person has already initiated contact with the lawyer. Consequently, the requirements of Rule 7.3(c) are not applicable in those situations.

[2a] The requirement in Rule 7.3(c) that certain communications include “ADVERTISING MATERIAL” does not apply to communications sent in response to requests of potential clients or their spokespersons or sponsors; however, prior contact from the lawyer in the form of advertising material does not circumvent the need to include the words “ADVERTISING MATERIAL” in future contacts. General announcements by lawyers, including changes in personnel or office location, do not constitute communications soliciting professional employment from a potential client known to be in need of legal services within the meaning of this Rule.

[3] Even permitted forms of solicitation can be abused; thus, any solicitation that contains information that is false or misleading within the meaning of Rule 7.1, which involves coercion, duress or harassment within the meaning of Rule 7.3(a), or which involves contact with a potential client who has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer within the meaning of Rule 7.3(a), is prohibited. Moreover, if after sending a letter or other communication to a potential client the lawyer receives no response, continued repeated efforts to communicate with the potential client may constitute harassment and therefore violate the provisions of Rule 7.3(a).  Regardless of the form of the communication, its propriety will be judged by the totality of the circumstances under which it is made, including the potential client’s sophistication and physical, emotional, and mental state, the nature and characterization of the legal matter, the parties’ previous relationship, the lawyer’s conduct, and the words spoken.

Paying Others to Recommend a Lawyer

[4] Lawyers are not permitted to pay others for recommending the lawyer’s services or for channeling professional work in a manner that violates Rule 7.1 and this Rule. A communication contains a recommendation if it endorses or vouches for a lawyer’s credentials, abilities, competence, character, or other professional qualities.  However, Paragraph (d)(1) allows a lawyer to pay for advertising and communications permitted by this Rule, including the costs of print directory listings, on-line directory listings, newspaper ads, television and radio airtime, domain-name registrations, sponsorship fees, banner ads, and group advertising. A lawyer may compensate employees, agents, and vendors who are engaged to provide marketing or client-development services, such as publicists, public-relations personnel, business-development staff, and website designers, as long as the employees, agents, and vendors do not direct or control the lawyer’s professional judgment in violation of Rule 5.4(c).  See Rule 5.3 for the duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of nonlawyers who prepare marketing materials for them. Moreover, a lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rule 5.4, and the lead generator’s communications are consistent with Rule 7.1. To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment from the lawyer, or has analyzed a person’s legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral.

[5] Selection of a lawyer by a layperson should be made on an informed basis. Advice and recommendation of third parties—relatives, friends, acquaintances, business associates, or other lawyers—and publicity and personal communications from lawyers may help to make this possible.  A lawyer should not compensate another person for recommending him or her, for influencing a potential client to employ him or her, or to encourage future recommendations.

[6] A lawyer may pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit lawyer referral service. A legal service plan is a prepaid or group legal service plan or a similar delivery system that assists potential clients to secure legal representation. Not-for-profit lawyer referral services are consumer-oriented organizations that provide unbiased referrals to lawyers with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the representation and afford other client protections, such as complaint procedures or malpractice insurance requirements. Consequently, this Rule permits a lawyer to pay only the usual charges of a not-for-profit lawyer referral service.

The amendments effective July 1, 2013, rewrote the Rule and commentary.

The amendments effective July 1, 2017, include minor changes on solicitation of clients, to more clearly define the term “solicitation” and to expand the comments to more clearly explain how the Rules apply to paying for marketing services, including paying for lead generation.