Max Kennerly writes a blog post about referral or co-counsel fees in personal injury cases, talking about a case where the lawyers agreed to a fee split but after a nice verdict, they argued about what those words actually meant with respect of carving up the fee.
There has been talk, as Max points out, about reforming the system to not allow lawyers to fee split personal injury cases. The talk comes from advocates of tort reform who have the goal of making life more difficult for plaintiffs to bring claims.
Such a rule would do just that. My firm spends a lot of time and effort providing information about personal injury cases on the Internet. We absolutely want to attract victims directly. No doubt. Getting 100% of the fee in a case is a lot more enticing that getting two-thirds of that fee, which is what we get when we accept a referral from another attorney. When we get a good settlement or a verdict in a case where the client came to us, either from the Internet or non-attorney referral, the words “And it is all ours” tend to slip out when discussing the case.
Yet I put a lot of time and energy into this blog that is directed not to victims, but to other lawyers. Why? I’ll tell you. Every single year, we look at where our fees are coming from. Prior clients and victims who find us on-line are rising every year. Yet together, they do not generate nearly as much in attorneys’ fees as cases that were referred to us by another lawyer. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about volume of cases. I’m talking total fees. So, absolutely, we think the smartest approach is to direct our efforts primarily toward trying to attract other lawyers in and out of Maryland who have a personal injury case. The thinking is if they are regularly reading this blog for news and information, and using the resources on our website, they are going to think of us when they need help with a complex malpractice, accident or product liability claim. .
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