Murray, UT

A Utah legal practice apologizes for upsetting a mourning family with a marketing gift

Blogging Time

The family of a Murray man who died in a motorcycle accident is outraged about objects they claim were left on their doorstep the day following his death by a local personal injury law business.

The law firm stated that they were attempting to assist, but the family stated that they felt victimized.

Nathan Lance, at the age of 21, had a lot to look forward to in life. Nathan Lance Copeland's sister, Jessica Lance Copeland, stated that he aspired to be a pilot. He was passionate in flying planes, repairing automobiles, and riding his motorbike.

On November 10, Copeland stated that her brother was on his way to obtain his motorcycle license in preparation to continue his education in Texas to become a commercial pilot when a driver in Murray failed to spot Lance on his motorbike.

Nathan, Copeland stated, died at the scene. She went out of Florida immediately, as the family dealt with the devastating shock.

"We had just begun to consider acquiring a gravesite for him and just barely begun funeral preparations when we received this batch of cookies," she recalled.

On November 11, Copeland recalled receiving a present on her parents' doorstep that included cookies, a DoorDash gift card, and a message explaining who sent it.

"At this time of bereavement and sorrow, we at Steele Adams Hosman would want to express our heartfelt sympathies to you," Copeland read aloud from the handwritten message. "As you struggle through the anguish and sadness, please know that we are here to address any legal concerns you may have."

She described how horrible it felt to read the message.

"I believe the lengths to which they went to ensure they could recruit us and contact us if we had any issues or concerns was absolutely terrible," she added.

Particularly, Copeland stated, when it came to the delivery's time.

"It had been less than 24 hours since my brother's accident," she explained. "It was simply like a stab in the wound, to have the sense that this corporation or someone is profiting off the death of a loved one so soon."

While the family was taken aback by the unexpected gift, the legal company that provided it clarified it was not their objective.

"We felt it would be fantastic to be able to place those resources in the hands of the individuals we serve," he explained.

Hosman explained that they have only given a few presents, such as the one to the Lance family, but have had excellent comments from others.

"We want to assist," he explained. "Even if we are incapable of representing them. Even if we are unable to assist them with their legal matter, we would like to do something kind for those individuals."

However, the Lance family questioned if the abrupt outreach so soon after Nathan's death was ethical.

"It's dubious," said Steven Johnson, a member of the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professional Conduct Rules.

A digital marketing company described how, a little over a year ago, a state ethics regulation modification expanded the advertising that attorneys may conduct. According to Johnson, that type of advertisement would have been considered improper under the previous standards.

However, under the new guidelines, attorneys can advertise more freely as long as the advertisement is not deceptive or untrue and the lawyer does not communicate with a potential client in a coercive, threatening, or harassing manner, Johnson added.

"This process of figuring out a method to promote without using billboards is great in my opinion," Johnson remarked. He said, "However, doing so the day following is verging on harassment, especially when the family is still mourning. Perhaps if they had waited a week or two, the situation might have been different."

Hosman feels they acted ethically.

Given the Lance family's reaction to the gift, Hosman said the business feels terrible. He stated that they are now considering delaying any further communications and maybe mailing the cookies and gift card anonymously.

"Our entire duty is to assist folks in their recovery process, to assist them in regaining some kind of normalcy," Hosman explained. "And this time, we failed. And we apologize profusely. That will not happen again."

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I live and work in Utah, so my news will focus on this state. I am also very into finance, entrepreneurship, crypto, and small business. I'm an owner of several businesses, from a solar farm to a sports card shop. I write about my experiences running them.

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