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Of Counsel?

Family friend who owns various businesses asked if I can hel canon8302/23/18
I would bring in an experienced attorney as co-counsel. Find guyingorillasuit02/23/18
^ This exactly. I would be sure that whatever fee-splitting jeffm02/23/18
Under the above circumstances, what fee splitting arrangemen canon8302/23/18
Just bill the client for co-counsel's time and for your time jeffm02/24/18
I would just like to say this is very good advice (guyingori kragoth133702/23/18
canon83 (Feb 23, 2018 - 7:18 pm)

Family friend who owns various businesses asked if I can help him with some litigation and transactional matters on a long term basis. I have commercial contract work experience but zero litigation experience. I don’t want to skip out on this opportunity but am mindful that I lack the minimum competency for the litigation stuff. I am considering hanging a shingle and bringing in a friend with a litigation background and someone who is more senior and more experienced. Ideally, I want to provide support surrounding the litigation issues and gain enough experience to take on matters myself. Would an of counsel arrangement help? How do they work in terms of fee sharing or compensation?

Thanks.

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guyingorillasuit (Feb 23, 2018 - 7:28 pm)

I would bring in an experienced attorney as co-counsel. Find someone you know, who is not likely to steal the client, and would be respectful of you in discussions with that client. So, a guy who would tell the client that he runs the show and that you are inexperienced is not someone you want on board.

Early on, be prepared to write off a lot of your time, unless the family friend is very rich. It's tough to justify paying full freight to someone who is learning the ropes, and the friend will have to foot the bill for the more experienced person you bring on. As you progress, in a couple years, you will have less need for supervision, and you can then bill the case yourself at full value.

In CA, this is how you would do it: you would be the friend's attorney, and the more experienced litigator would file an association of counsel. Everything would have to be served on both of you. Either one of you can make appearances and file papers on the client's behalf.

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jeffm (Feb 23, 2018 - 9:56 pm)

^ This exactly. I would be sure that whatever fee-splitting arrangement you make is one that at least makes you a living. Don't lose money. If it doesn't make you a living, it's not worth it. You ought to tell your co-counsel things like, "Can you give me a deposition notice to plagiarize and then, you review it?" That's your ticket to learn and still earn a decent fee.

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canon83 (Feb 23, 2018 - 10:24 pm)

Under the above circumstances, what fee splitting arrangement makes sense?

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jeffm (Feb 24, 2018 - 2:35 am)

Just bill the client for co-counsel's time and for your time, too, at whatever rates you would normally charge. All it is is a division of labor where you do the work while co-counsel makes sure you are using the right strategies and not screwing the case up. You should be able to find co-counsel who would be happy to bill for whatever little of his/her time the case requires. Even a few hundred bucks is a few hundred bucks - and you'll probably keep coming back with other cases until you feel you don't need the guidance anymore.

It gets more complicated when you need to do depositions/mediations/hearings/trial, etc., and the client ought not to have to bear attorneys double-billing for both being there. Bill for the more expensive attorney's time, and between you, split it 50/50 or 60/40. You just have to feel-out what the other attorney is willing to do, but nobody ought to go hungry. If it's a case that's worthy of 2 attorneys double-billing, then, don't be afraid to bill for both. Some cases justify it.

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kragoth1337 (Feb 23, 2018 - 10:39 pm)

I would just like to say this is very good advice (guyingorillasuit)

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