Most of our clients are referred to us by former clients or other lawyers, however, almost 20% of our cases are cases referred to us by out-of-state or out of town lawyers and we have generous referral fee arrangements for those case as allowed by the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(e) states;
“A division of a fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if:
the division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or, by written agreement with the client, each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation.
the client is advised of the share that each lawyer is to receive and does not object to the participation of all the lawyers involved; and
the total fee is reasonable.”
When the out of State participation is high and the case is substantial, the fee-sharing can be as much as 50%, including sharing expenses, but the fee split is determined on a case by case basis and depends on the referring firm’s participation level, as the rules require.
Sometimes an out of state lawyer will want to remain heavily involved in the case to “learn the rope” and in those circumstances, we gladly enter into co-counsel fee-splitting arrangements. We are currently working trucking and wrongful death cases with law firms from Ohio. Indiana, Texas, and Tennessee.
In those cases, notice will be given for all depositions with the referring firm having the option of taking lead in the depositions. The referring firm will be consulted in all major discovery and strategy decisions. If the case goes to trial, the referring firm will be consulted on the desired level of participation in direct, cross-examination and opening statements and closing arguments. Since you are often out of state, please leave the Motions practice to us. 😉
In most of these situations, the plaintiff lives out of state and we rely heavily on outside counsel to handle communications and client hand-holding as we cannot be “boots on the ground at all times.”
Recent Co-Counsel and Fee Sharing Examples
Maust v. Pike Electric LLC $1,670,000 verdict on an arm injury during a loading incident.
Noah P. v. XYZ Trucking $9,000,000 for a serious trucking case with $1,200,000 in medical bills.
Newburg v. PTS Transport and Prime Trucking $5,000,000 settlement with PTS. Defense Verdict for Prime.
We also refer out over 50 smaller cases a year to firms that are on their way up. We do not try to be all things to all people and reserve out time to focus on outstanding results in larger cases. We do accept cases as small as $15,000 on referral but reserve the right to turn down any case that is economically not a solid decision under a risk versus reward analysis. We will be very open about this in the first evaluation conversation so please have the facts of the case ready so that we can both make smart decisions that will lead to happier clients down the road.
Please understand that we will never pay referral fees to non-lawyers in accordance with the Bar Rules.
If you have a case and would like to discuss handling it together, please contact the firm directly at (678) 608-2788.