Message from the California State Bar to practicing attorneys across the state: client money remitted in reliance on your legal representation better be going to you, not a non-attorney.
Fee splitting is akin to a dirty word and spells a reproachable practice to state regulators when it pertains to client funds relevant to a case matter that go to both retained counsel and a nonlawyer third party.
That ire seems only logical, right? Persons who lack legal training and licensing credentials can hardly render competent services to clients on law-linked matters. Only a California attorney duly recognized and in good standing with the State Bar can do that.
News stories occasionally surface, though, spotlighting instances where a nonlawyer essentially stands in for an attorney and is subsequently paid for doing so. That is an express violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct governing law practice in California.
One such story underscores the Bar’s deep concerns with fee splitting involving a non-attorney. Its narrative chronicles a taboo outcome in which an attorney allowed an entity providing administrative assistance to collect and keep client fees. The lawyer was disciplined on two prior occasions for similar conduct and, additionally, his failure to properly monitor a nonlawyer assistant.
The attorney acknowledged his wrongdoing and did not challenge the State Bar’s decision to formally discipline him. Regulators suspended him from active practice for a year.
We note at the proven legal malpractice law firm of Glickman & Glickman in Los Angeles the deep detriment for any individual “losing money or your case due to an ineffective or negligent attorney.”
We diligently promote the rights of valued clients in such instances, striving to secure maximum legal remedies for them in malpractice cases featuring substandard representation.