These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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12-Withdrawing Lawyers (Including Non-Compete Issues)

38-Fee Splitting

The fee-splitting rules prohibit a law firm employment agreement under which a lawyer who leaves the firm must share a diminishing percentage of whatever contingent fee is earned on cases the lawyer takes from the firm (depending on how soon the case is settled), but which does not require client consent to the fee splitting arrangement. In addition to violating the fee-splitting rules, the provision "creates an improper financial disincentive which has the effect of penalizing the attorney for leaving and competing with the old law firm, and impairs the client's right to select counsel of his choice." [Amended on 10/23/12 to indicate that Rule 1.5(f) allows fee sharing between former law firm colleagues without client consent.]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn