Whatare thefour biggestmistakes thatyou canmake when referring aclient to acolleague?

There are four big mistakes that an attorney can make when referring a client to another attorney: (1) failing to make sure that they are listed on the retainer agreement between the client and the other attorney, (2) failing to make sure that that there is an acknowledgement in the retainer agreement that they, as the referring attorney, are jointly responsible for the handling of the case; (3) failing to ensure that there has been full disclosure in writing to the client of the referral and division of the legal fee to the client, (4) failing to obtain a separate agreement with the attorney receiving the referral that such a disclosure has been made.

Most referring attorneys assume that the attorney handling the case will and are allowed to honor a verbal agreement about a referral fee. However, this is not permitted under New York's Rules of Professional Conduct! New York's ethical rules only permit referral fees if the referring attorney is both listed on the retainer agreement and if there is an acknowledgment in the retainer that the referring attorney is jointly responsible for the handling of the case.

Furthermore, full disclosure, in writing, of the referral and division of the legal fee must given to the client. If these rules are not followed, no referral fee are permitted to be paid.Always make sure that any agreements pertaining to referral fees are in writing, and that you are listed on the retainer agreement.