Ethics Opinion 134

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #134 – 04/09/1970 (13-70)
Topic: Fee splitting; Sharing fees; Forwarding fees.Digest: Proper to share a fee with another lawyer provided (1) client knows and consents; (2) division is in proportion to work performed and responsibility assumed; and (3) total fee is reasonable.
Code:  EC 2-22, DR 2-107 (A)

QUESTION

An Ohio lawyer has a client who is a New York resident. After making a preliminary investigation with respect to a matter, the Ohio lawyer referred his client to a New York lawyer. Is it proper for the New York lawyer to divide his fee with the Ohio attorney?

OPINION

If the client consented to the referral of the matter to the New York lawyer with knowledge that a division of the fee would be made, it is proper for the Ohio lawyer to share in the fee in proportion to the services performed and the responsibility assumed by him. The total fee of the lawyers in Ohio and New York should not exceed reasonable compensation for all legal services they rendered the client. (EC 2-22; DR 2-107 (A).)

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