How Should Fees Shared Between Lawyers at Different Firms be Disbursed?

When you’ve been seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence, you’ll likely need a skilled personal injury attorney to get the full amount of compensation you deserve. The increase of legal advertising over recent years has been caused in large part by a growing number of lawyers who advertise their services in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death law. Many of these lawyers accept these cases on a contingent fee basis and then refer them to other lawyers who are usually trial specialists if litigation becomes necessary. In the past, referral agreements among lawyers generally provided that the parties would split the fee that was earned and the percentage that each would receive was largely left up to the particular agreement worked out in advance of the referral. Often times exclusive referral agreements were entered into whereby the referring lawyer agreed to refer all or a large portion of his cases to a particular firm or lawyer in exchange for a larger percentage of the fee.

What Are Referral Agreements?

Referral Agreements among lawyers serve a useful purpose in that they facilitate the association of more than one lawyer to work on a particular legal matter in which neither alone can adequately serve the client as well. However, two primary problems developed with unrestricted referral agreements. Many times, the client would not be consulted about the referral and the referring lawyer would often collect a large percentage of the fee and do virtually none of the legal work to earn it. These problems prompted the Florida Supreme Court to adopt rules which restrict referral agreements among lawyers to ensure that the client knows and approves of any lawyer that performs the legal services for him and to ensure that any fee received by the lawyers involved in the case is in proportion to the amount of work each performs and the legal responsibility each undertakes. R. Reg. Fla. Bar 4-1.5(g) governs all referral agreements or agreements to divide legal fees among lawyers who are not in the same firm, regardless of whether the attorney-client agreement is fixed or contingent. This rule requires the total fee to be reasonable and that the division of the fee is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer. In the alternative, if the division of fees is not to be in proportion to the actual work performed by each lawyer, a written agreement must be entered into with the client and all lawyers who are to render legal services in the particular matter whereby: 1) each lawyer assumes joint legal responsibility for the representation and agrees to be available for consultation with the client; and 2) the basis upon which the division of fees will be made among the lawyers is fully disclosed. R. Reg. Fla. Bar 4-1.5(f)(4)(D) establishes standards for the percentage of the fee the referring attorney and the receiving attorney may receive pursuant to a contingent fee contract. These standards are discussed in more detail in the following subsections. If the lawyers are to assume joint responsibility for the representation of the client pursuant to rule 4-1.5(g)(2), it is highly recommended that the referral agreement track the language of the rule and expressly provide that each attorney assumes joint responsibility for the case and that each agrees to make himself available to consult with the client. Otherwise the courts may have to infer these requirements from the language of the particular agreement. In order to prevent any misunderstandings, our clients are always at the onset of representation by their lawyer of any referral agreements or division of fee arrangements that may apply. This is important as lawyers should always inform their clients if they intend to work with other lawyers on their case. All of the lawyers who will participate in rendering legal services should sign a written contract with the client disclosing in as much detail as possible the basis upon which the division of the fee will be made.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today!

When you’re involved in a car accident or any type of accident caused by another person’s negligence, talk to a car accident attorney about your options going forward. There is no replacement for quality legal advice after being involved in a car accident. The car accident attorneys at Suarez and Montero would love to have an opportunity to explain the law in Florida to assist you in presenting a strong claim against the at fault party. Every firm is distinctive and auto accident victims have needs that are also distinct. needs are different. The Florida auto accident attorneys at Suarez & Montero encourage you to reach out so that we can explain more about the different ways that our law firm and attorneys can provide legal help and guidance after an auto accident. Make an appointment with us at one of our many locations. Remember, we work on a contingency basis so you will owe us nothing If we are unable to obtain successful results for your case. The attorneys at Suarez & Montero can meet with you to discuss further. always available to talk with you and answer your questions. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

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The Law Offices of Suarez & Montero Car Accident Attorneys represents accident victims injured in various types of accidents including:

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