We understand that most lawyers focus their practice on certain areas of the law, and that sometimes clients are best served by referring a matter to another attorney. When you refer a client to the right law firm, your credibility with your client is enhanced. We encourage you to visit our awards page or call us to learn why your client will appreciate a referral to us. Our reputation has been earned through countless trials and business transactions.
At Phillips Law Firm, Inc., we want to assure you of two things. First, if you refer us a client for a specific legal matter, we will refer the client back to you when our representation has ended. And second, should you decide to work with us during a referral, we will safeguard your fee.
We share referral fees with other attorneys when they agree to join us in complying with Ohio’s Rules of Professional Conduct. First, under comment 6 to Rule 1.1, and comment 7 to Rule 1.5, lawyers can only refer cases to competent lawyers. Once you trust that our firm can handle your referral, we make certain that your referral fee complies with Rule 1.5(e), which states:
- the division of fees is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation and agrees to be available for consultation with the client;
- the client has given written consent after full disclosure of the identity of each lawyer, that the fees will be divided, and that the division of fees will be in proportion to the services to be performed by each lawyer or that each lawyer will assume joint responsibility for the representation;
- except where court approval of the fee division is obtained, the written closing statement in a case involving a contingent fee shall be signed by the client and each lawyer and shall comply with the terms of division (c)(2) of this rule;
- the total fee is reasonable.
As a referring attorney, know that we take our ethics requirements seriously to protect you. We therefore divide fees in two different ways depending on the type of case. For cases in which the client will be billed hourly, the referring attorney is paid in proportion to the number of hours worked on the legal matter. Thus, the referring attorney is paid “in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer” under the fee agreement.
In contingent fee cases, we ask the referring attorney to enter into a fee agreement jointly with us and the client. We usually provide one-third of the contingent fee earned to the referring attorney on cases that we handle, although for the right case, we have paid as much as one-half. When a fee is earned on a contingent fee case, our law firm provides a closing statement to the client. The client, the referring attorney, and our law firm all sign the closing statement. Our closing statement will divide and itemize the fees earned by each attorney and break down all other fees and expenses.
As a referring attorney, our goal is to make you look good by providing excellent legal service to your client. Examples of some of the more significant cases referred to us by attorneys include:
- Head on collision litigation against an umbrella policy of insurance
- Pedestrian struck by a milk truck
- Fire that killed a 17-year-old boy in a rental home due to faulty wiring
- Probate litigation defending the trustee of a trust against claims of theft
- Representation of a community involved in the cleanup of a closed landfill
- Litigation against the former owner of a contaminated property
- Head on collision brought against ODOT in the Court of Claims for improper signage
- Civil rights case brought against the City of Cincinnati for violating the law
- Bad faith insurance claim for failure to pay damages due to a house fire
Each case above was referred to us by another attorney who trusted us to protect their client, their reputation, and their fee. The above cases were complex legally and factually, but we were able to simplify the issues and the law, achieving outstanding results. With every referral, our goal is to earn your referrals again in the future. When we believe one of our clients is best served by another attorney, we tell the client, and we make client referrals to other attorneys as well. And if your client should call us for other legal matters, trust that we will encourage your client to call you first.