Can lawyers legally accept referral bonuses? 13 Answers as of February 25, 2013

Can lawyers legally accept a referral bonus? We have a DNA testing service, we plan to partner up with Immigration lawyers. I was wondering if it's legal to pay the lawyer a referral bonus for each DNA testing client that came from him.

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Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
NO, attorneys can accept referrals from other attorneys.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/25/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
It would be wise to contact the Ethics people for the State Bar Association and ask them. I see nothing obviously wrong, but it does not smell clean to me. Things like this are done all the time, but we only hear about them when someone gets charged with a crime or a breach of ethics. I think it is smart to learn BEFORE you get into it, instead of after.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/21/2013
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
NO. Lawyers cannot accept referral bonuses. Not to say some won't take them, but they are not allowed under our ethics rules.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 2/18/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
A lawyer cant pay you but I don't know any reason why you cant pay him. You might ask him directly. He may want to ask the Bar ethics committee to answer your question first.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/18/2013
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
Yes, but if the referral stem from a case the lawyer is handling, you and the lawyer need to disclose the bonus relationship to the client.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 2/17/2013
    Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
    Lawyers can receive referral bonuses. However, a lawyer cannot PAY a referral bonus to a non-lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Typically, lawyer's cannot share fees with non-lawyers. I'm not sure what your arrangement is but, any attorney getting it a business arrangement with a non-attorney must be very careful.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    I would think that it is you can phone the State bar ethics line to find out for sure. As a practical matter, if it ever got out that you were paying for DNA test all testing done by that attorney's firm would be questionable as evidence in a court of law.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    In SC, oddly, the lawyer cannot pay for referrals to the lawyer, but I cannot think of a rule that prohibits lawyers from being paid to refer clients to venders or doctors.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Law Office of John Vandenberg
    Law Office of John Vandenberg | John Vandenberg
    No. But if you want to get referrals, just do a great job for our clients and treat them well. I think most immigration lawyers would agree with that. Probably the Disciplinary Board, too. And no one minds a gift basket during the holidays if you'd like to say "thank you." That's my best advice.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    It is unethical for a lawyer to split a fee with a non-lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Rooth Law Group, P.A.
    Rooth Law Group, P.A. | Ryan P. Rooth
    You are going to get this one a lot. That is a question for the Florida Bar! I am pretty sure that would constitute fee splitting and is not permitted under our professional rules, but it is worth double checking.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/17/2013
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