From today's New York Times:
For 10 days, Monica R. Kelly and her American law firm’s aviation lawyers have stalked the dim hallways of the Lido Hotel here to make their pitches to relatives of passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
They tell the families that a court in the United States could potentially award millions of dollars per passenger in a lawsuit against the Boeing Company, which built the missing jet, a Boeing 777-200. In a hotel suite, Ms. Kelly uses a model of a Boeing 777 to show families how the plane might have malfunctioned....
Ribbeck Law has sent six employees to Beijing and six to Kuala Lumpur where families of passengers have gathered in hotels. Rival firms have also been contacting families.
If this fact pattern were on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, most students would jump at the answer, "This conduct involves impermissible in-person solicitation under Rule 7.3."
There must be a better answer, because it seems highly unlikely to me that the law firms mentioned in the story would want to talk with the New York Times about ongoing violations of the rules of professional conduct.
I see a few other explanations: (1) There is far more nuance to what the lawyers are doing (e.g., the lawyers are not initiating in-person contact with potential clients and are instead offering legal briefing sessions at the request of families); (2) Choice of law considerations mean that Rule 7.3 does not apply here; (3) This is an April Fool's joke for legal ethicists perpetrated by the New York Times; and (4) None of the above.
The New York Times is not particularly funny, so I'm reasonably certain that (3) is not right. That leaves (1), (2), and (4). I suspect that (2) is the answer and that the Times did not report the sequence of interactions between the lawyers and families because it wasn't especially relevant to the story. Am I overlooking any other obvious explanations? Again, I'm not in any way suggesting that the law firms are doing anything wrong. I'm just curious to know the answer.