Lawyer Referral Services
Under Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3(c), a lawyer shall not compensate or give anything of value to a person or organization to recommend or secure the lawyer's employment by a client, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the lawyer's employment by a client;except that the lawyer may pay for public communications permitted by Rule 7.1, and except as follows:
- A lawyer may pay the usual and reasonable fees or dues charged by a lawyer referral service, if the service meets the requirements of Bar Rule 7.3(c)(1).
- A lawyer may pay the usual and reasonable fees or dues charged by a bar-operated non-profit lawyer referral service, if the service meets the requirements of Bar Rule 7.3(c)(2).
Based upon an initial determination of the State Bar of Georgia, the bar-operated non-profit lawyer referral services listed HERE have met the requirements of Bar Rule 7.3(c)(2).
- The State Bar of Georgia has not evaluated the actual services provided by the listed lawyer referral services, and does not endorse, certify or otherwise approve those services.
- The State Bar of Georgia has not evaluated the lawyers who participate in the referral service, and as such, cannot endorse the competence, integrity or professionalism of participating lawyers or warrant the services they provide.
- These services have provided a statement verifying that they will require a lawyer who participates in their lawyer referral service to maintain in force a policy of errors and omissions insurance in an amount no less than $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in the aggregate. The State Bar has not verified whether this requirement is being followed and enforced by the lawyer referral service for each participating lawyer.
- Aside from initially determining whether the listed lawyer referral service has met the requirements of Bar Rule 7.3(c)(2), the State Bar of Georgia has not evaluated whether the referral service conforms to all other Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and, as such, it makes no determination regarding whether the service complies with those Rules.
- A lawyer who accepts referrals from these referral services must act reasonably to ensure that the activities of the service are compatible with the lawyer's professional obligations as described in the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, and must also inquire of the referral service whether it continues to comply with the requirements of Bar Rule 7.3(c)(2), especially Rules 7.3(c)(2)(iii) and 7.3(c)(2)(iv).
- A lawyer may pay the usual and reasonable fees to a qualified legal services plan or insurer providing legal services insurance.
- A lawyer may pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17: Sale of Law Practice.
Please review Bar Rules 7.1 and 7.3(c) for a complete description of each exception.