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Fee Sharing and Fee Splitting

Generally, fee sharing or fee-splitting arrangements between attorneys do not increase the bottom-line fee paid by a client. However, there are ethical and professional rules addressing these subjects, and one recurring theme is that such arrangements must be communicated to a client in advance.

For example, ABA Model Rule 1.5(e) states that a division of fees between attorneys from different law firms may be made only if (1) the division is proportionate to the services performed by the respective attorneys, or a client agrees in writing that each attorney assumes joint responsibility for the representation; 2)the client is advised of and does not object to the participation of the additional attorneys; and (3)the total fee is reasonable.

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