Personal Injury Ethics: Clarifying the Rules for Referrals, Fee Sharing, and Co-Counsel Agreements
Applicable Authority, Written Agreements, Client Consent, Referral Only Practices, Best Practices and Strategies
This CLE program qualifies for 90 minutes of Ethics Credit.
Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A
This CLE webinar will discuss the ethical rules and requirements of both the referring lawyer and the lawyer to whom a matter is referred in return for a referral fee. The program will also address co-counsel agreements and the rules and prohibitions of sharing legal fees between attorneys and whether fees may ever be paid to non-lawyers, including the effect of some states now permitting non-lawyers to own law firms.
- Applicable authority and standards
- ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(e), 7.2(b)(4), 5.4(a)
- Formal opinions
- Client consent
- Defining "joint responsibility"
- Rules about non-lawyers
- Referral fees, fee sharing, and co-counsel agreements
- Making a fee-sharing agreement enforceable
- Recurring issues
- Non-lawyer referrals
- Interstate/nationwide referrals
- Exclusive referrals
- Referrals before fee-sharing agreement
- Referral by attorneys who cannot legally work on the case
- Conflicts of interest
- Suspended attorneys
- Attorney who retires or becomes incapacitated
- Foreign lawyers
- Creating a referral only practice
The panel will review these and other issues during the presentation:
- What is the difference between fee-sharing and co-counsel agreements?
- Are reciprocal referral agreements permissible and if so, how are they structured?
- What is "joint responsibility"?
- Does an agreement to pay a referral fee have to come before the actual referral?
- Can lawyers ever pay referral fees to non-lawyers? To judges?
Johnston Tobey Baruch
Mr Johnston is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and handles cases... | Read More
Mr Johnston is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and handles cases involving professional malpractice and breaches of fiduciary duty as well as other business disputes. He is regularly featured as one of the city’s best litigators by D Magazine and is a fixture on the list of the Texas Super Lawyers from 2003-2022 by Thomson Reuters. He was chosen by his peers and independent researchers as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Texas (by Thomson Reuters 2010-2011, 2013). Texas Lawyer named him the premier plaintiff’s legal malpractice lawyer in the State in its Go-To-Guide. The Tort and Insurance Practice Section of the Dallas Bar Association awarded him the 2012 Texas Trial Legends Award, and the Dallas Bar Association named him Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2016. He also has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Professional Malpractice Law, Legal Malpractice Law, Commercial Litigation, and Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation (BL Rankings 2011-2020). Mr Johnston has been recognized as Lawyer of the Year in Dallas/Fort Worth in 2017-2023 by Best Lawyers in America. From 2020–2022, he was named to the Lawdragon 500, which annually recognizes the 500 Leading Lawyers in America.Close
Edward O. Lear
Century Law Group
Mr. Lear is a 1983 graduate, cum laude, of Dartmouth College and a 1987 graduate of U.C.L.A. School of Law,... | Read More
Mr. Lear is a 1983 graduate, cum laude, of Dartmouth College and a 1987 graduate of U.C.L.A. School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and the Moot Court Honors Program. He joined Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges immediately after law school and worked for four years as a “big firm” litigation associate before becoming a Los Angeles-based State Bar prosecutor. For three years, Mr. Lear prosecuted California attorneys, never losing a trial, before co-founding Gerry & Lear in 1994. In 2002, Mr. Lear founded Century Law Group. Mr. Lear has tried over 150 cases. He is a recognized speaker at legal and real estate seminars, has published numerous articles, and has been qualified as an expert witness in state and federal courts. Mr. Lear served as Commissioner for the City of Manhattan Beach from 2000 through 2008. Since 2008 Mr. Lear has served as elected Chairman of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District Bond Oversight Committee, supervising the expenditure and allocation of over $60 million of bond proceeds.Close
Michael Jay Leizerman
The Law Firm for Truck Safety
Mr. Leizerman’s entire caseload consists of catastrophic truck crash claims, including a recent settlement of $34... | Read More
Mr. Leizerman’s entire caseload consists of catastrophic truck crash claims, including a recent settlement of $34 million and recent verdicts of $16 million, $13.2 million and $11 million. He was the first Chairman of the American Association for Justice's (AAJ) Trucking Litigation Group. He is the co-founder of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys and author of the three volume treatise Litigating Truck Accident Cases.Close