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Ethics Opinion

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CI-893

March 12, 1983

SYLLABUS

    Where an attorney or law firm merely performs a referral function, rendering no other services to the client and assuming no responsibility in the matter, a division of fees is improper.

    References: MCPR DR 2-107(A).

TEXT

Inquirer's law firm referred a potential client to another law firm for representation. The receiving firm charged the client 1/3 of the total recovery and offered the referring firm 1/3 of the fee. May the referring firm accept the payment?

MCPR DR 2-107(A) states:

    "(A) A lawyer shall not divide a fee for legal services with another lawyer who is not a partner in or associate of his law firm or law office, unless:

      "(1) The client consents to employment of the other lawyer after a full disclosure that a division of fees will be made.
      "(2) The division is made in proportion to the services performed and responsibility assumed by each.
      "(3) The total fee of the lawyers does not clearly exceed reasonable compensation for all legal services they render the client."

The fee split proposed does not establish a division of fees in proportion to services performed and responsibility assumed as required by MCPR DR 2-107(A). In referring firm's services consist solely of referral, and therefore the referring firm would not be entitled to any portion of the fee.

Where an attorney or law firm merely performs a referral function, rendering no other services to the client and assuming no responsibility in the matter, a division of fees is improper.

 
     

 

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