Professional Ethics Committee
Topic: Referral Fee; Advertising
Syllabus of the Committee:
A lawyer’s agreement to pay a referral fee to a nonlawyer-owned, for profit website entity for each potential consumer that accesses the website and expresses an interest in the lawyer’s substantive law subject matter is unethical, since it requires the lawyer to give something of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services. This for profit lawyer referral service is not advertising, since the individual lawyer is not initially identified, and the lawyer has no opportunity to review and control the language disseminated. Additionally, the fee structure is tied specifically to referrals made.
Rules: MRPC 7.1; 7.2; 7.2(b); 7.2(c)(i); 7.2(c)(ii)
- State Bar of Michigan Ethics Opinion R-6
- State Bar of Michigan Ethics Opinion RI-9
- State Bar of Michigan Ethics Opinion RI-24
The full text is available at http://www.michbar..