Ethics Opinion: Fees Sharing OK in Some Cases

Can a lawyer working in a jurisdiction that has adopted the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct share fees with lawyers who aren’t bound by the no-fee-sharing restriction? In some cases, the answer is yes, according to an ABA ethics opinion. “Where there is a single billing to a client in such situations,” Formal Opinion 464 says, “a lawyer subject to the Model Rules may divide a legal fee with a lawyer or law firm in the other jurisdiction, even if the other lawyer or law firm might eventually distribute some portion of the fee to a nonlawyer, provided that there is no interference with the lawyer’s independent professional judgment.” ABAJournal.com has more.