Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion #1989-90/11

Attorney/Realtor Related Questions

March 8, 1990


The Committee was unable to determine whether a lawyer may participate in a bar-sponsored lawyer referral service when the service imposes on the lawyer a charge based on a percentage of the fee the lawyer earns.

A division of fees between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if:  1) The client consents after full disclosure; (2) The division is made in reasonable proportion; and 3) The total fee is reasonable.  (Rule 1.5(f)).

A lawyer cannot share legal fees with a nonlawyer.  (Rule 5.4(a)).

A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services, except that a lawyer may pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit lawyer referral service or other legal service organization.  (Rule 7.2(c)).


  1. May the LRIS program ethically charge, and may a participating attorney ethically pay, a fee based on a percentage of the fee the attorney receives from the referred client?

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