Lawyer Referrals & Co-Counsel Relationships That You Can Trust

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Refer Or Co-Counsel To Maximize Your Client's Recovery

When facing a case that may not align with your specific practice area, having a trusted ally can be beneficial for both you and your client. At Vaksman Khalfin, PC we understand that clients often bring forth cases that fall outside of their jurisdiction, practice area, or scope. Some cases may be too complex for a single attorney, while others may require specialized legal expertise. Our firm is poised to help you bridge these gaps.

When you partner with Vaksman Khalfin, PC you can count on us to provide dedicated legal representation for your clients. Refer your case to us today and you will receive a guaranteed referral fee. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with you, ensuring that your clients receive optimal results in the most efficient manner possible.

Benefits Of Lawyer Referral With Vaksman Khalfin

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With a team of 12 expert attorneys and a presence in California, Nevada, and New York, we are ready to provide exceptional legal representation for your clients in Personal Injury, Estate Planning, Business Law, Real Estate, Employment Law, and Civil Litigation.

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From navigating trials to optimizing settlements, our team has a proven track record of success. Also, we prioritize client care. Our unwavering dedication ensures that clients receive not only successful outcomes in trials and settlements, but also unparalleled support and care throughout the course of their civil lawsuit.

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Partnering with Vaksman Khalfin, PC will enable you to monitor the progress of referred cases. We ensure real-time updates on case developments and accurate tracking of referral or co-counsel fees.

Reliable Attorney Referral Process

At Vaksman Khalfin, PC we handle case referrals from lawyers across California, Nevada, and New York. During the last 20 years, our firm has established itself as a trusted legal partner. You can rely on our expertise in personal injury and estate planning.

Adhering to the Rules of Professional Conduct and governing law, Vaksman Khalfin, PC is your reliable attorney referral companion. Whether you are a solo practitioner or a full-size firm, we will work tirelessly to ensure your clients receive exceptional legal representation.

Dependable Agreements and Payments with Lawyer Referrals

In all our referral agreements and fees, we align with State Bar Rule 2-200, requiring client acknowledgment of the referral agreement at the time of initial retention. We collaborate with referring counsel to ensure fair compensation, considering the following factors:

  • Case size;
  • Complexity of legal matters involved;
  • Negotiated client fees;
  • Likelihood of success;
  • Responsibility for costs;
  • Involvement of the referring attorney;
  • Our point of entry into the case.

We handle referrals and fee-sharing across various practice areas in California, Nevada, and New York.

Collaborative Approach to Referred Cases

We welcome referrals at any stage of case development and litigation, however, it is optimal to come into a civil lawsuit during an early point in the case. Whether retained early or on the eve of trial, we work cooperatively with referring attorneys, offering flexibility in involvement, joint ventures, or other cooperative agreements. We value attorney-client privilege and we always have the Rules of Professional Conduct in mind. 

Respectful Treatment Across Specialties and States

Regardless of specialty – personal injury referral, trusts and estates, business law, real estate, employment law, or civil litigation – attorneys working with us via referral or association are treated with respect and dignity. We value decorum, trust, and responsibility. 

High Referral Fees In Accordance With Laws & Ethics Rules

At Vaksman Khalfin, PC we stand ready to collaborate with referring counsel to maximize client recovery. Trusting us reflects a commitment to obtaining the best results while allowing the initial lawyer to share in the fee per Rule of Professional Conduct 2-200.

california Lawyer Referrals

How California Attorney Referral Works

The State Bar of California authorizes lawyers to share fees on a case so long as the client approves of that fee-sharing arrangement in writing. We comply with all State Bar rules when entering into fee-sharing arrangements, and we pay referral fees at prevailing rates.

Rule 1.5.1 governs California Attorney Referral fees, necessitating attorneys to demonstrate the following for a referral fee agreement:

  • The involved lawyers are not part of the same law firm;
  • A written agreement to divide the fee has been executed;
  • The client has provided written consent, either at the time of agreement execution or as soon as reasonably practicable.

The client has received a comprehensive written disclosure, covering:

  • The division of fees;
  • The identity of all participating lawyers or law firms
  • The terms of the division;
  • Assurance that the referral fee won’t increase the total client fee;
  • The written agreement may consist of single or multiple documents, with sample agreements provided by the State Bar.

Rule 1.5.1 requires attorneys to inform clients in writing, close in time to the agreement, about the referral fee, specifying:

  • The amount of the referral fee;
  • All participating attorneys or law firms;
  • Terms of the division, including payment timelines.

Clients must agree to the fee arrangement in advance, and attorneys cannot engage in any fee division without client consent. Additionally, attorneys cannot increase client charges due to referral fees, and clients must have the opportunity to inquire about referral fees before signing.

Amount of Lawyer Referral Fee

While Rule 1.5.1 doesn’t set a limit on referral fees, it prohibits attorneys from collecting unconscionable fees. Factors determining unconscionability include:

  • Failure to disclose material facts;
  • The client’s and attorneys’ relative sophistication;
  • The involved attorney’s experience, reputation, or ability to perform needed services.

California lacks explicit guidelines on referral fee amounts beyond barring fee increases and unconscionable fees.

Payment Timing for Lawyer Referral Fee

California does not mandate that a referring attorney be paid proportionately to the work completed. While some commentary suggests no work is necessary for a referral fee, a non-binding opinion from the Los Angeles County Bar Association advises caution in workers’ compensation cases. The opinion suggests referral fees may only be paid after a fee exists to divide among the parties, implying that attorneys should secure funds from a specific case before paying a referral fee. 

Nevada Lawyer Referrals

How Nevada Attorney Referral Works

In Nevada, attorneys have the liberty to divide fees when referring a case to another lawyer, as governed by Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(e). This provision allows fee division irrespective of the work completed, with the client’s agreement and confirmation in writing, ensuring that the total fee remains reasonable.

A division of a fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if:

  • Reserved;
  • The client agrees to the arrangement, including the share each lawyer will receive, and the agreement is confirmed in writing;
  • The total fee is reasonable.

The state recognizes the importance of specialization in legal practice, acknowledging that attorneys should be fairly compensated for directing clients to experts in specific areas. The rule underscores the necessity for informed written consent and reasonableness of fees, with factors outlined in NRPC Rule 1.5(a)

While a break from previous versions, Nevada’s current law no longer mandates fee division based on actual work performed or joint responsibility, providing flexibility for attorneys. An ethics opinion from 1987 addresses the division of fees with out-of-state attorneys, emphasizing adherence to NVPR, reasonableness, and jurisdictional considerations. Rule 7.2(a) regarding advertising highlights an exception for fee division between attorneys, underlining the importance of meeting all requirements for compliance with Rule 1.5(e).

A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:

  • The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
  • The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
  • The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
  • The amount involved and the results obtained;
  • The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
  • The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
  • The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services;
  • And whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
new york Lawyer Referrals

How New York Attorney Referral Works

In New York, attorneys must either assume joint responsibility or divide fees proportionally based on services performed to utilize referral fees, as outlined in New York Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(g). The rule mandates that attorneys inform clients in writing of any fee division, obtain written consent from the client, and ensure the total fee is reasonable.

A lawyer shall not divide a fee for legal services with another lawyer who is not associated in the same law firm unless:

  • The division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or, by a writing given to the client, each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation;
  • The client agrees to employment of the other lawyer after a full disclosure that a division of fees will be made, including the share each lawyer will receive, and the client’s agreement is confirmed in writing;
  • The total fee is not excessive.

Competency, as emphasized in Rule 1.1, requires attorneys to provide competent representation or associate with a competent lawyer. The rule does not prescribe specific guidelines for competency but highlights the need for required skills and knowledge. Factors influencing referrals include:

  • The circumstances;
  • The needs of the client;
  • The education, skills, and experience of the involved attorneys;
  • The nature of the services to be provided;
  • Any ethical rules or other considerations.

Open communication is crucial, ensuring clarity on each attorney’s responsibilities throughout the representation.

The New York State Bar Association’s ethics opinions provide additional insights. For instance, Ethics Opinion 864 allows fee-sharing with out-of-state attorneys if it meets Rule 1.5(g) requirements. Opinions 934, 954, 1128, 1160, 1172, 1201, and 1244 address various scenarios, emphasizing adherence to Rule 1.5(g) provisions, joint responsibility, and ethical considerations.

In conclusion, New York attorneys can refer clients to competent counterparts, with fee division based on joint responsibility or work completed, guided by Rule 1.5(g) and supported by ethical considerations. 

Co-Counsel Agreements and Legal Representation

Laws regarding co-counsel agreements are not uniform across all jurisdictions. California, Nevada, and New York all have their own unique procedural and substantive rules governing co-counsel agreements between attorneys. 

However, some general principles will help you understand the fundamental relationship governing co-counsel agreements. Essentially, two attorneys work together, or “co-counsel” on a case, and thereby pool their knowledge, skills, and experience for the benefit of the individual client. 

For example, in the State of California, the legislature allows “naked” referral fees, or the opportunity for an attorney to receive a percentage of a settlement or judgment simply by referring the case to another attorney. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but this policy exists to benefit the public good. Attorneys with specific types of experience will typically work in highly nuanced areas of the law, and therefore it is those attorneys who should represent the clients facing complex legal issues. 

Nevada and New York each have their own unique regulations and policies regarding co-counsel agreements among lawyers. In Nevada, co-counsel agreements should be formal and written, and they should document each attorney’s roles and responsibilities. The following issues should be addressed in the co-counsel agreement: 

  • How payment will be split if the client does not pay in full;
  • Who discusses decisions regarding expenses with the client;
  • How expenses will be paid;
  • Who will bill the client;
  • Who will hold client funds;
  • Who receive payment;
  • How disagreements will be resolved amicably and productively.

It is necessary to speak to a Nevada attorney if you have additional questions regarding co-counsel agreements in the State of Nevada

Lawyers who practice in New York can enter into an ongoing business relationship with a law firm that permits nonlawyer ownership, where the lawyer and the firm agree to share fees and co-counsel matters. This arrangement does not violate Rule 5.4 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct and does not interfere with an attorney’s independence. 

Get The Most From Lawyer Referrals and Co-Counsel Agreements

Lawyer Referrals and Co-Counsel Relationships

Vaksman Khalfin, PC offers dynamic and collaborative cooperation for attorneys seeking referral partnerships and co-counsel relationships. Our commitment to excellence, clear adherence to ethical standards, and extensive expertise in various practice areas make us a reliable choice for lawyers wishing to improve their client services.

By partnering with our team of experienced attorneys, you not only gain access to a diverse range of legal professionals, but you also ensure that your clients receive exceptional legal representation. We invite lawyers to schedule a call with us to explore mutually beneficial referral opportunities.

Elevate your legal practice by joining forces with Vaksman Khalfin, PC and our team of experienced attorneys. Schedule a consultation today to speak to us about establishing a lawyer referral arrangement or a co-counsel relationship.