What does it mean for a case to be referred from one attorney to another? Occasionally an attorney is asked to represent a client in a matter that is not in the attorney’s ordinary practice area. If an attorney feels like it is in his client’s best interest to refer the case to a lawyer with more experience in that area, the attorney may refer the case to the other attorney. For instance, if a person injured in a car wreck goes to a divorce lawyer they may be referred to a personal injury lawyer who is better suited to handle their case. Another example may be where a client goes to a personal injury lawyer who discovers that there is a product defect that caused the injury. Examples of such cases are vehicle rollover, seat belt or air bag failure, drugs or dangerous consumer products. The original lawyer may feel it’s best for the client to go with an attorney with a proven track record in handling such complex matters. There are many reasons that it may be best for the client. The client who is referred has the right to either accept the referral (hire the new lawyer) or look for one of their own. However, it is usually in the client’s best interest to accept the referral because the original lawyer is most familiar with their qualifications and the specific needs of the case.
What is a referral fee?
A referral fee is what the original lawyer is paid by the subsequent lawyer to the referring attorney. The “referring attorney” is the lawyer the client originally hired. The referral fee is usually one third or one half of the entire attorneys fees recovered on a client case, paid by the second lawyer to the first. In almost all instances this referral fee will not affect the amount of the client’s recovery. In Texas, the lawyer referring a client must stay substantially involved in the case and is equally responsible (liable) for the handling of the case.
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