Ethics Committee Advisory Opinion #1992‑93/1

Conflicts of Interest:  Office of Child Support Attorneys Providing Services to ADFC Recipients and Non‑AFDC Recipients

November 18, 1992


An attorney may share fees with a disbarred attorney who referred a case to the extent that the right to receive those fees accrued before disbarment. (Rule 5.4(a))

The receiving attorney may not make a gift of a portion of that lawyer’s fees to someone in the disbarred lawyer’s family if the purpose of the gift is to circumvent the rule against improperly sharing fees with a disbarred lawyer. (Rule 8.4(a))


  1. To what extent do the NH Rules of Professional Conduct permit sharing of fees with the disbarred attorney?
  2. Regarding any fees which could not be ethically shared with the referring disbarred attorney:
    • do the Rules permit those fees to be, instead, shared with the referral attorney’s successor who takes over his/her practice and the handling of his/her cases?
    • do the Rules permit those fees to be, instead, placed in trust for the benefit of the disbarred attorney’s minor children until they reach age 18?
    • do the Rules permit the firm to make a gift to the disbarred attorney’s spouse or children of part of the firm’s fee in an amount equal to the share which the disbarred attorney would have received if not for the disbarment?

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