What Do I Have to Do to Earn a Referral Fee?
Unless you prefer otherwise, we will copy you on all pleadings and substantive correspondence. Upon request, we will invite you to attend all client meetings, depositions, and hearings, but your attendance is not required at any proceeding, including hearings and trial. we will update you by phone or email from time to time at your request.
Sometimes lawyers are surprised to know they can earn money by simply talking to a potential client, recognizing a potentially valid case and calling our office, but there is absolutely nothing unethical about earning a fee by referring a case. The ethics rules absolutely permit referral fees and we believe it is completely reasonable to pay such fees.
Why should you be able to earn a fee? Because over the years you have developed the trust of your client base – your clients have come to count on you for advice on a variety of issues, including personal and business legal matters. Even the people in your community who have not yet been your clients are aware of your reputation and have confidence in you, as best demonstrated by the fact that they reached out to you in a time of need. That trust and those years of service make it entirely appropriate for you to receive a referral fee for helping a client find the right lawyer to most effectively handle a serious personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Remember, the fee we charge does not mean your client pays more. We charge the exact same contingent fee percentage whether we pay a referral fee to another lawyer or not. Thus, it costs your client absolutely no extra money for you to ask us to work on the case. They will pay the same contingent fee they would have paid had they come directly to us rather than coming to you first.
In addition to a referral fee being ethically allowed in Tennessee, a referral is sometimes the most ethical way to proceed for a potential client. To the extent a lawyer (a) lacks litigation or trial experience generally or in the particular type of case presented; (b) does not have the resources to invest the necessary time and money in the case; and/or (c) cannot afford to take the risk of losing the case, many lawyers feel an ethical obligation to seek the help of additional counsel on the case. Our experience has been that the lawyers who refer cases to us do so primarily out of a desire to help their clients, family, and friends achieve a prompt and just resolution of their cases.
Fortunately, Tennessee legal ethics rules reward such conduct by allowing the referring lawyer to receive a portion of the contingent fee ultimately paid in such circumstances.
If you have additional questions or would like to discuss the referral of a case, please call John Day at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866.812.8787 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about our firm, see our website at www.johndaylegal.com.