LEO: Attorney - Recommendation of  LE Op. 1068


Attorney - Recommendation of Employment.


April 11, 1988


You advise that Attorney A sued Mortgage Banker B as a private consumer.

The suit involved a refinancing dispute between A, as a private individual,

and B. A represented himself Prior to trial, B offered to settle with A by

paying all of A's out-of-pocket expenses if A would permit dismissal of

the other claimed damages. B also offered that in addition to monetary

payment, B would refer to A ten potential clients when, as often happens,

potential clients ask B for the name of an attorney who would represent

them during mortgage transactions. A would set his own fee and would make

no payments to B. Further, B regularly recommends lawyers upon request by

potential clients.


You wish to know whether or not it is ethical for A to accept any clients

referred by B. You also wish to know what disclosure, if any, must be made

by A to potential clients concerning the relationship between A and B.


Disciplinary Rule 2-103(D) states that "a lawyer shall not compensate or

give anything of value to a person or organization to recommend or secure

his employment by a client or as a reward for having made a recommendation

resulting in his employment by a client, except that he may pay for public

communications permitted by DR:2-101 and the usual and reasonable fees

or dues charged by a lawyer referral service and any qualified legal

services plan or contract of legal services insurance as authorized by law,

provided that such communication of the service or plan are in accordance

with the standards of DR:2-101 or DR:2-103, as appropriate." In the

situation described in your letter, it appears that A would be giving

something of value (dismissal of the other claimed damages) in exchange

for B's recommendation of A to potential clients.


The Committee opines that it would be improper for A to accept the

clients referred by B.


Committee Opinion April 11, 1988