LEO: Fees: Conditions for Accepting a LE Op. 1160
Fees: Conditions for Accepting a Forwarding Fee.
November 16, 1988
You wish to know whether an attorney may accept a forwarding fee on a
case which he has forwarded because of a conflict of interest.
You correctly identify DR:2-105(D) as the appropriate and controlling
rule in this situation. Disciplinary Rule 2-105(D) provides that a
division of fees between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made
only if (1) the client consents to the employment of additional counsel; (
2) both attorneys expressly assume responsibility to the client; and (3)
the terms of the division of the fee are disclosed to the client and the
client consents thereto. You correctly conclude that in your situation
where you will not be able to "expressly assume responsibility to the
client" because a conflict prevents you from doing so, you will be unable
to meet the requirements of this disciplinary rule.
Therefore, the committee opines that it would be improper for you to
accept a forwarding fee based on the facts outlined above. (See also LE
Op. 945 and LE Op. 1130)
Committee Opinion November 16, 1988