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Updated through August 13, 2014

FEDERAL PRACTICE

FEES
(see also SETTLEMENT)

Arbitration

Assign/Sell

Audits

Cash

Contingent

Credit cards

Delinquent fees

Discounted Fee

Division among lawyers

Division with non-lawyers

Fixed flat fees

Financial planning fees

Interest

Letters of protection

Mortgage to secure legal fee

Negotiation

Outsourcing legal or support services

Retainer

Referral

Third Party Payment

Trust Account - (See TRUST ACCOUNT)

Withdrawal from representation

FILES

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS

FINANCING COMPANY

FINANCIAL PLANNING

FIRM NAMES

FORMER CLIENTS

FRANCHISE

FUNERAL DIRECTORS


FEDERAL PRACTICE

Op. 91-6 attorney not admitted in Ohio setting up office for practice of federal law

Op. 91-25 preparation, filing, and prosecution of patent applications by full-time judge

FEES
(see also SETTLEMENT
)

Arbitration

Op. 96-9 engagement letter between a lawyer and an individual client requiring client to agree to arbitrate fee disputes, legal malpractice disputes, or professional ethical misconduct disputes

Assign/Sell

Op. 2004-2 attorney, upon reaching settlement agreement in a client’s legal matter, selling or assigning his or her legal fee to a funding company in exchange for immediate cash at a small discount to the full value of the legal fee.

Audits

Op. 2000-2 attorney submitting detailed legal bills to an outside audit company hired by insured without first obtaining client consent

Cash

Op. 90-04 attorney reporting cash payments of $10,000 or more

Contingent

Op. 95-7 fee agreement in which attorney can choose contingent or hourly fee depending upon which is larger fee

Op. 98-9 lawyer advertising contingent fees using statements such as "There’s no charge unless we win your case" or "You pay us only when we win" or "No fee without recovery" or "You pay no fee unless you win"

Op. 99-6 attorney referring client awarded money judgment in a civil suit to a company that purchases a minority interest in the judgment on appeal

Op. 01-3 law firm obtaining a loan from a third party financial institution to advance expenses of litigation in a personal injury matter accepted on a contingent fee basis and deducting the interest fees and costs of the loan from a client's settlement or judgment

Op. 04-12 attorney advertising in telephone directories; inclusion of contingent fee information

Op. 2009-9 plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer retaining outside law firm to provide health care lien resolution services in a settled matter; charging the client for the service as part of the contingent fee or as an expense of litigation

Op. 2010-6 lawyer entering into a contingent fee agreement whereby client grants lawyer a power of attorney to take any action and execute all documents the attorney deems necessary in the matter, including but not limited to signing on the client’s behalf a settlement agreement and release, a settlement check, or a closing statement

Credit cards

Op. 91-12 client paying by credit card

Op. 2007-3 lawyer accepting credit card payments from clients for earned legal fees, reimbursement of expenses, advances on unearned legal fees, and advances on future expenses; deposit into client trust account versus business account

Delinquent fees

Op. 91-12 charging interest on delinquent accounts

Op. 91-16 use of collection agencies

Discounted Fee

Op.88-9 attorney offering legal services at a discounted fee for handling adoptions of "special children"

Op. 88-12 lawyer’s free consultation to survivor as part of a funeral director’s package

Op. 89-08 attorney participating in a legal services plan offering free consultation and discounted legal fees to members of teachers ‘ association

Op. 2002-1 law firm entering a business agreement to pay annual fee to a real estate agency and to offer discounted legal services to customers of the real estate agency in exchange for the agency promoting the law firm as a service provider in a real estate benefits program

Op. 2004-2 attorney, upon reaching settlement agreement in a client’s legal matter, selling or assigning his or her legal fee to a funding company in exchange for immediate cash at a small discount to the full value of the legal fee.

Division among lawyers

Op. 87-4 sharing with lawyer consultant; referral fees prohibited

Op. 88-26 "responsibility assumed"

Op. 88-31 when no services provided

Op. 89-2 sharing with suspended or disbarred lawyer

Op. 91-1 payment to inactive partners pursuant to separation or retirement agreement

Op. 91-3 departing attorney/law firm/employ agreement

Op. 91-4 partners licensed in different jurisdictions

Op. 91-5 practice in association but not partners

Op. 91-9 separate law practices in same building

Op. 92-1 lawyer paying bar association referral service a percentage of legal fees collected from client referred by the service

Op. 03-3 lawyers not in the same firm dividing fees based upon assuming responsibility rather than the proportion of services performed; disclosure and signed written agreements; notice regarding lack of professional liability insurance

Op. 04-11 Ohio attorney practicing law in Ohio law firm and becoming “of counsel” to a lawyer or law firm in another state; out-of-state attorney becoming “of counsel” to a lawyer or law firm in Ohio; division of fee with “of counsel” attorney

Op. 2008-1 lawyer in law firm serving as “of counsel” to another lawyer or law firm; ethical implications of the “of counsel” relationship as to registration status, firm names and letterhead, division of fees, conflicts of interest, multiple “of counsel” relationships; and “of counsel” relationship with out-of-state lawyers or law firms

Op. 2009-9 plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer retaining outside law firm to provide health care lien resolution services in a settled matter; charging the client for the service as part of the contingent fee or as an expense of litigation

Division with non-lawyers

Op. 89-31 employment by CPA firm to provide legal services to CPA firm's clients

Op. 92-1 lawyer paying bar association referral service a percentage of legal fees collected from clients referred by the service

Op. 92-15 law firm assisting business corporation in sale of forms and issuance of legal advice

Op. 92-17 corporation's attorney representation of corporation's client

Op. 94-8 attorney sharing contingency fee with non-lawyer private investigator

Op. 94-11 financing company requiring attorney to prospectively agree to pay the company a percentage of a legal fee when earned in exchange for the company's agreement to loan money to the client.

Op. 95-6 attorneys paying non-profit organizations other than bar associations a percentage of the legal fees earned from referred clients

Op. 2002-12 attorney's transfer of shares in a legal professional association to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of individuals not licensed to practice law

Op. 2004-2 attorney, upon reaching settlement agreement in a client’s legal matter, selling or assigning his or her legal fee to a funding company in exchange for immediate cash at a small discount to the full value of the legal fee.

Fixed flat fees

Op. 95-2 flat fee agreement with client/insurer/third party administrator

Op. 96-4 flat fee in criminal defense representation

Op. 97-7 flat fee agreement with insurer for defending insureds

Op. 2000-4 attorneys providing financial planning services through the law firm to business and estate planning clients of the law firm and charging fee for financial services

Financial planning fees

Op. 2000-4 attorneys providing financial planning services through the law firm to business and estate planning clients of the law firm and charging fee for financial services

Interest

Op. 91-12 changing interest on delinquent accounts

Op. 04-8 acquiring a mortgage on a client’s home to secure a legal fee; interest or charges on mortgage

Letters of Protection

Op. 95-12 payment to client of all settlement funds despite client's agreement with physician to pay medical expenses out of the proceeds of a settlement and attorneys promise to do so

Op. 2007-7 safekeeping funds of a third person when lawyer knows a third person has a lawful claim to funds in the lawyer’s possession

Mortgage to secure legal fee

Op. 04-8 acquiring a mortgage on a client’s home to secure a legal fee

Negotiation

Op. 97-5 attorney forming ancillary business to serve small and medium sized businesses by conducting negotiations of legal fees between each business and its retained counsel

Outsourcing legal or support services

Op. 2009-6 outsourcing legal or support services domestically or abroad, either directly to lawyers or nonlawyers or indirectly through an independent service provider; disclosure; supervision; billing as fee or expense

Op. 2009-9 plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer retaining outside law firm to provide health care lien resolution services in a settled matter; charging the client for the service as part of the contingent fee or as an expense of litigation

Retainer

Op. 88-31 enforcement of retainer agreement after withdrawal when no services performed

Op. 89-7 deposit of retainer in separate identifiable bank account—IOLTA

Op. 96-4 flat fee in criminal defense representation deposited into business account

Referral

Op. 2000-1 lawyer accepting a referral fee from a financial services group for referring clients in need of financial services

Op. 2002-1 law firm entering a business agreement to pay annual fee to a real estate agency and to offer discounted legal services to customers of the real estate agency in exchange for the agency promoting the law firm as a service provider in a real estate benefits program

Third Party Payment

Op. 90-22 payment of legal fees by third party trustee bank to attorney representing grantor of trust

Op. 90-23 payment of legal fees by law firm to temporary lawyer service

Op. 99-6 attorney referring client awarded money judgment in a civil suit to a company that purchases a minority interest in the judgment on appeal

Op. 2001-3 law firm obtaining a loan from a third party financial institution to advance expenses of litigation in a personal injury matter accepted on a contingent fee basis and deducting the interest fees and costs of the loan from a client's settlement or judgment

Trust Account - (See TRUST ACCOUNT)

Withdrawal from representation

Op. 88-24 fees from former client after withdrawal from representation

Op. 88-31 enforcement of retainer agreement when no services performed

FILES

Op. 89-18 grievance committee or disciplinary counsel appointing attorney to inventory files of dead, resigned, suspended, disbarred attorney or attorney who cannot be located

Op. 91-9 computer access of client files by attorney with separate practices in same building

Op. 92-8 attorney’s ethical duty to deliver files to former client

Op. 92-19 attorney’s purchase of client files and client list

Op. 2010-2 lawyer’s duty to deliver lawyer’s notes of interview with a current or former client when current or former client requests client file

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS

Op. 87-32 part-time referee filing

Op. 89-22 judge reporting compensation for serving as trustee of claimant's fund

Op. 91-28 clerk and deputy clerk Court of Claims filing

Op. 94-12 judge reporting compensation for teaching at state private colleges or universities on topics related to the law, legal system, or administration of justice

Op. 95-8 judge reporting registration fee from trial lawyers association

Op. 95-9 judge reporting compensation for teaching continuing legal education classes or courses

Op. 98-10 judge reporting honorary country club membership, round of golf, tickets to sports events

Op. 2003-6 judge reporting referee fees

Op. 2006-1 part-time judge or part-time magistrate reporting compensation for activities as a licensed real-estate salesperson

Op. 2007-2 judge receiving accounts receivable from former law firm for legal services provided by the judge prior to assuming judicial office; judge receiving retirement benefits from former law firm pursuant to law firm agreement; reporting on financial disclosure statement

Op. 2009-2 juvenile court judge (or court staff) accepting travel expenses (payment or reimbursement of travel, meals, and lodging from the owners of a private placement facility that receives or seeks to receive placements of juveniles by the court; juvenile court judge (or court staff) attending a conference and accepting a gratuitous non-conference meal paid for by a private placement facility that receives or seeks to receive placements of juveniles by the court; reporting on annual financial disclosure statement

FINANCING COMPANY

Op. 94-11 financing company requiring attorney to prospectively agree to pay the company a percentage of a legal fee when earned in exchange for the company's loan to client

Op. 99-6 attorney referring client awarded money judgment in a civil suit to a company that purchases a minority interest in the judgment on appeal

Op. 2001-3 law firm obtaining a loan from a third party financial institution to advance expenses of litigation in a personal injury matter accepted on a contingent fee basis and deducting the interest fees and costs of the loan from a client's settlement or judgment

Op. 2002-2 lawyer providing loan applications and referring clients to lenders recommended to the law firm by a consulting company that receives a referral fee or commission from the lender for loans made to law firm clients and receives an annual consulting fee from the law firm

Op. 2004-2 attorney, upon reaching settlement agreement in a client’s legal matter, selling or assigning his or her legal fee to a funding company in exchange for immediate cash at a small discount to the full value of the legal fee.

Op. 2012-3 Non-recourse Civil Litigation Advance Contracts: Guidance for Ohio Lawyers

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Op. 2000-1 lawyer accepting a referral fee from a financial services group for referring clients in need of financial services

Op. 2000-4 attorneys providing financial planning services through the law firm to business and estate planning clients of the law firm and charging fee for financial services

Op. 2001-4 lawyer who is licensed insurance agent selling annuities through law firm to estate planning clients of the lawyer

FIRM NAMES

Op. 87-48 use of judge’s name

Op. 88-16 use of associate’s name if non-shareholder in legal professional association

Op. 88-18 use of trade name for litigation support services

Op. 88-19 continued use of firm name by lawyers who share office space but who are no longer partners

Op. 89-27 use of trade name by law office providing standardized services, use of term "legal center"

Op. 89-36 use of disclaimer on letterhead of attorneys who share office space

Op. 91-4 use of trade name "debt relief clinic"; use of name of attorney not licensed in Ohio

Op. 91-18 use of attorney's name when attorney has retired or inactive registration status or is of counsel

Op. 95-1 use of "and Associates" in firm name

Op. 96-3 legal professional association continuing to use the name of an attorney in the association’s firm name after the attorney is granted inactive registration status

Op. 97-1 attorney practicing law under a common trade name franchised to attorneys across the nation

Op. 99-4 attorney using firm name or other letters, words, or numbers as domain name for law firm’s world wide web site

Op. 06-2 solo practitioner naming law firm “The X Law Group” when “X” is the solo practitioner's surname and “X” employs one or more attorneys as associates; use of “Group” or “Law Group” or “and Associates” in a firm name; reference to paralegals, other non-attorney personnel, office sharing attorneys or other “of counsel” attorneys

Op. 2008-1 lawyer in law firm serving as “of counsel” to another lawyer or law firm; ethical implications of the “of counsel” relationship as to registration status, firm names and letterhead, division of fees, conflicts of interest, multiple “of counsel” relationships; and “of counsel” relationship with out-of-state lawyers or law firms

Op. 2010-1 lawyer naming a law firm the lawyer’s surname followed by the words Intellectual Property or the initials IP; area of practice or specialization in law firm name constitutes a trade name; name of a law firm formed under a corporate structure includes proper descriptive designations required by law and rule

FORMER CLIENTS

Op. 88-24 withdrawal from representation in a workers compensation matter; representation of employers after representing claimants

Op. 89-13 representation adverse to former client

Op. 92-8 attorney’s ethical duty to deliver files to former client

Op. 2010-2 lawyer’s duty to deliver lawyer’s notes of interview with a current or former client when current or former client requests client file

Op. 2013-4 Cross-Examination of a Former Criminal Client in an Unrelated Matter

FRANCHISE

Op. 97-1 attorney practicing law under a common trade name franchised to attorneys across the nation

FUNERAL DIRECTORS

Op. 88-12 lawyer’s free consultation to survivor as part of a funeral director’s package