An attorney who is unable to represent a prospective client owing to a conflict of interest, lack of competence or for any other reason is ethically permitted to refer the prospective client to another attorney who is competent in the field. But there are a number of points to take into consideration in doing that. First, there should be no conflict of interest. Second, the attorney must act in good faith towards the prospective client. Third, the attorney must abide by the rules governing referral agreements and fees. Finally, the attorney has a duty of disclosure to the prospective client when referring a case. In this article, we will elaborate more on the last point.
Disclosure to a Client
The referring lawyer and the receiving lawyer both have fiduciary duties to the referred client. First and foremost, the referral must be in the client’s best interest, and the referring attorney must act in good faith.
There is one point to be clear about. It is the client who decides who to retain. To do that, he or she must have relevant information about the attorneys and the reasons for referral, including the referral fees. He or she must be clearly explained that they have no obligation to accept the referral.
The following must be communicated in writing to the client:
- Reasons for referral
- Referral fee and the circumstances under which it is paid
- The basis upon which the referral fee is determined
- A statement that the client has no obligation to accept the referral and is free to retain a lawyer other than the one to who he or she is referred
- The relationship between the referring lawyer and the receiving lawyer.
The attorney is free to refer a case upon written confirmation of the client that he or she agrees to the representation by another client.
Where to Find an Attorney when Referring a Case
In this last part of the article, we want to make things easy for you. Now you can refer a case and earn a referral fee without paying the processing agency. Sign up to AppearMe and you will see benefits coming in terms of time and money. Scroll and review profiles of 5 and more attorneys absolutely free. Make all arrangements with the attorney on your own. Find appearance attorney/deposition attorney and court reporter by paying per match!
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