Q. I sometimes refer clients to another law firm. Can I be compensated by that firm for the referral?
A. Rule 1.5(e) states that a division of fees between lawyers who are not in the same firm can only be made if the division of fees is in proportion to the work done by each lawyer, the client agrees in writing, and the fee is reasonable. If the primary service performed is the referral, the fee can only be divided if each lawyer assumes financial responsibility for the representation, the fee is reasonable, and the client consents in writing. See also ISBA Professional Conduct Advisory Opinion 90-18 and Donald W. Fohrman & Assocs, Ltd. V. Marc D. Alberts, P.C.,2014 IL App(1st) 123351 (Ill. App., 2014).
ISBA members can browse past ISBA Ethics Opinions, access our Ethics Hotline, and other resources on the ISBA Ethics Page.
Disclaimer. These questions are representative of calls received on the ISBA’s ethics hotline. The information provided below is meant as an educational tool to highlight potentially applicable Illinois RPC or other ethics resources that might help the lawyer answer the question posed. The information provided isn’t legal advice. Because every situation is different, often complex, and the law is constantly evolving, you shouldn’t rely upon this general information without conducting your own research.