Ethics Committee Formal Opinion #1988/9-17

Fee Arrangements:  Union Charge for Case Settlement Services – Workers’ Compensation

May 11, 1989


A labor union may not permissibly bill its members for representation in worker’s compensation settlements.

A lawyer employee of a corporation should not permit the corporation to bill for the lawyer’s services in the corporate name  (Rule 5.4(a)).

A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a non-lawyer, with certain exceptions.  (Rule 5.4(a)).

A pre-paid legal service program is permissible as long as the total paid by the client under the pre-paid plan is not clearly excessive, the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment is maintained, and client confidentiality is maintained.  (Rule 1.5; Rule 1.8(8); Rule 1.6).


Whether a labor union which offers representation in Worker’s Compensation Claims may charge its members up to 15% for representation in settlement of workers compensation cases?

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