For Referring Attorneys

Ms. Lachman’s clients uniformly come to her through referrals by former clients, former opposing counsel, and other attorneys who have firsthand experience with her work ethic and capabilities. Ms. Lachman’s representation is always in high demand in real estate law and litigation.

MRPC 1.5(e) addresses the frequent situation in which a lawyer confers with a potential client and finds that the lawyer lacks the expertise or time to handle the legal need of the client. The client is then referred to another lawyer. Under MRPC 1.5(e), the referring lawyer may receive a "referral fee", as long as the client is advised of and does not object to this referral and the total fee is reasonable. Some unusual variations to this "normal" scenario, however, have generated ethics opinion guidance from the Standing Committee on Professional Ethics.

In Ethics Opinion RI-124, the Committee opined that a lawyer may pay a referring lawyer a referral fee consisting of a percentage of legal fees billed to the client as long as the client is advised of and consents to this agreement, the client's bill is not increased because of the referral fee, and the total fee is reasonable. Therefore, a referral of a personal injury matter for a percentage of the ultimate contingent fee is ethical.

We welcome the chance to work with you and your clients. If you have a case you want to discuss, you can reach us at 616.274.3002 or by webform below.

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