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Attorney Referrals – Burger Law

Burger Law frequently co-counsels with lawyers throughout the Midwest in personal injury cases.

What many lawyers don’t realize is that the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct promote referrals and co-counsel relationships.

Rule 4-1.1 tells us that clients are best served by an attorney with the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for competent representation.

Moreover, Rule 1.5(e) helps facilitate fee splitting and ensures fees are split in a manner that is fair to both attorneys. Both of these rules were designed to ensure that a client in need has the best possible lawyer for their case.

We share contingency fees with referring lawyers per ethics Rule 1.5(e). This ensures that fees are split in a fair and ethical manner. We are always willing to take calls from lawyers and offer our thoughts about cases and legal issues for free.

We can help other lawyers through direct referrals, co-counseling, and serving as trial counsel.

Here are my top ten things to know about co-counseling:

1. We work under the referring lawyer’s fee agreement. No one knows the client like the referring lawyer. She and the client arranged a fee agreement that worked best given the client’s legal issue.

2. Division of fees does not have to be proportional to services rendered. Rule 4-1.5(e) permits lawyers to divide a fee either on the basis of the proportion of services they render or if each lawyer assumes responsibility for the representation as a whole.

Comment 7 tot he rule notes that “Joint responsibility for the representation entails financial and ethical responsibility for the representation as if the lawyers were associated in a partnership.”

3. Our fees are reasonable. Rule 4-1.5(a) requires that lawyers charge fees that are reasonable under the circumstances. The same rule requires that expenses for which the client will be charged must be reasonable. At Burger Law, we keep our fees reasonable and our costs low.

4. We take cases from out-of-state attorneys. The Missouri Bar expressly allows Missouri attorneys to serve as co-counsel and split fees with an attorney not licensed in Missouri. Informal Opinion No. 2018-05.

Like in all co-counsel scenarios, sharing a fee with an out-of-state attorney is allowed when the division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or if each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation; if the client agrees to the association in writing; and the total fee is reasonable.

5. Transparency and open communication with clients are essential. Enforceable fee sharing agreements require the client to be notified of the agreement in writing. Rule 4-1.5(e); Londoff v. Vuylsteke, 996 S.W.2d 553, 558-59 (Mo. App. E.D. 1999).

While informing the client of how much of the fee each attorney will receive is not required, Rule 4-1.5, Comment 7, doing so is a good way to foster trust and positive relationships with your clients.

6. To be enforceable, fee-splitting agreements must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Missouri Court of Appeals has held that “an agreement to share attorney fees that does not comply with Rule 4-1.5(e) is unenforceable.” Neilson v. McCloskey, 186 S.W.3d 285, 28 (Mo. App. E.D. 2005). At Burger Law, we have the experience to make a fee-splitting agreements that are fair and enforceable for the attorneys involved.

7. We can take your case to trial. At Burger Law, we understand that you might not need outside assistance until your case is set for trial. Rule 4-1.5(e) specifically contemplates that lawyers may need special help in taking a case to trial. See Rule 4.15(e), Comment 7.

8. We can help with the cost of litigation. Complex personal injury, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation cases often entail a lot of up-front expenses. At Burger Law, we generally finance cases and pay all expenses.

9. We can help with expert witnesses. Finding the right expert witness can make or break your case. We can help find, depose, and examine the expert that will help maximize the client’s recovery.

10. We are the lawyers other lawyers trust. Attorneys regularly turn to Burger Law to serve as co-counsel for their clients. We present CLEs to help teach other attorneys the ins and outs of civil litigation.

At any given time, a large percentage of our practice is made up of cases involving car wrecks, truck crashes, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and workers’ compensation claims.

For more, here’s an OCDC article on fees and here’s some advisory opinions on fees.

  • Free Resources

    CLE on Legal Ethics

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    Lawyer Reviews

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Gary Burger is a lawyer's lawyer, which is one of the highest compliments that I can give. I trust Gary completely. He is ethical, smart, funny and an effective advocate for his clients. I have referred several clients to Gary and they have all been extremely satisfied with the quality of his representation. I would not hesitate to recommend Gary to family or friends. He and his staff do amazing job.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Gary and his associates are tremendous personal injury and trial attorneys. They are extremely knowledgeable and professional. Their combined experience and trial ability is why they are one of the premier personal injury firms in the St. Louis area.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Mr. Burger is an exception lawyer. With so much experience under his belt he knows the workings of Personal Injury cases inside and out. The recoveries for his clients speak for themselves. I have referred cases to Burger and the results have been phenomenal. If you need a Personal Injury Lawyer, you cannot go wrong with Burger Law.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    I get to witness Gary work hard and smart for all of his clients every day. I trust Gary and the Burger Law firm with my personal and my family’s legal matters and he has never let us down. I would strongly recommend Gary to anyone who needs a tough smart lawyer. As a trained lawyer who no longer practices law, I should know. Gary is the best.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Gary Burger is an outstanding trial lawyer and a true expert in Plaintiffs Personal Injury. His aggressiveness, experience and abilities yield outstanding results for his clients and he is a great fit for anyone in need of representation.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    I have found Gary to be honest, very approachable and always strives to get the best results for his clients. I have no reservation referring cases to him.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    I have known Gary as a friend and a fellow lawyer for nearly 25 years. He is an energetic, compassionate, advocate with a keen understanding of the law and the judicial system. He is well respected by the Courts and fellow members of the bar. While Gary is an experienced, intelligent litigator I believe his greatest attribute as a lawyer is the fact that he sees his clients as 'people' who need help and not just as another case.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Gary is a very talented trial lawyer. While his primary focus is personal injury litigation he has the knowledge to take on just about anything. I had the opportunity to work with him on a complex class-action lawsuit where he was able to obtain class certification when many other attorneys thought it wasn't possible. It's important to hire a lawyer that can try your case effectively if need be and Gary has a proven track record of securing large verdicts for his clients.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    I have known Gary for years and worked both alongside and against him, and he has always been the consummate professional. He fights harder for his clients than any attorney I know in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. He has the respect of his opponents and the Judges, for both his work in the Courtroom and in the community. I would not hesitate to refer a family member or friend to Gary Burger.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Gary is a great attorney! He has a lot of trial experience and obtains excellent results for his clients. When you hire Gary, you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
    5 / 5 stars

    Lawyer Review for Burger Law
    Gary Burger is an excellent attorney. He is very generous with his time regularly works to help improve the lives of his clients and to help raise the level of professionalism of the members of the Bar.
    5 / 5 stars

    Annual Maritime Continuing Legal Education Seminar

    Gary presented at the Annual Maritime Continuing Legal Education Seminar on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 and spoke on discovery in Jones Act cases. click here to read the Memorandum in Support of Motion to Compel on a variety of discovery issues. Gary Burger, another lawyer Doug Gossow, and former Judge Anne Callis spent an hour and a half teaching the attendees about what is discoverable and not discoverable in Jones Act and other litigated cases. Please use this research to assist you in Motions to Compel in Illinois, Missouri or in Federal Court. If you need more information to assist you in a discovery dispute call or email Gary.

    View Memorandum

    May 29, 2019 CLE

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