Fee sharing agreement (FSA) is an arrangement between two or more parties, typically attorneys or law firms, where they agree to share fees generated from a particular legal matter. The agreement sets forth the terms and conditions of the fee sharing arrangement, including the percentage of fees to be shared, the scope of the legal matter, and the responsibilities of each party involved.
Fee sharing agreements can be complex and require careful consideration to ensure that they comply with all applicable ethical and legal standards. Any agreement that violates these standards can result in disciplinary action, such as disbarment or suspension.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has set forth ethical rules regarding FSA, which are modeled after the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. These rules provide guidance on the ethical considerations that must be taken into account when entering into an FSA.
In general, fee sharing agreements must be disclosed to the client in writing, and the client must provide written consent. The client must also be informed of the percentage of fees to be shared and the identities of the parties involved in the fee sharing arrangement. Moreover, the fee sharing arrangement cannot increase the overall cost to the client for legal services.
Fee sharing agreements can arise in a variety of contexts, such as personal injury cases, class actions, or complex litigation. In addition to lawyers and law firms, other professionals who may enter into fee agreements include financial advisors, accountants, and tax preparers.
In order to avoid legal and ethical problems, it`s important to work with a lawyer or other professional who is experienced in drafting and negotiating fee sharing agreements. They can help ensure that the agreement is legally sound and meets all ethical requirements.
In summary, fee sharing agreements are a common practice in the legal industry, but they require careful consideration and adherence to ethical and legal standards. Working with a knowledgeable professional can help ensure that all parties involved benefit from the agreement without running afoul of any ethical or legal issues.