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Arrangement

So there are these Taiwanese guys in NYC that have this arra cantimaginenocountry03/01/18
Terrible idea, sure to end up in disaster. These people are guyingorillasuit03/01/18
Cross reference the specifics with your states rules on Fee khazaddum03/01/18
This. lilgub03/02/18
Yeah, you didn't say "whose" cases. I first assumed the guy jeffm03/01/18
They collect money upfront, tell you to file a complaint, an guyingorillasuit03/02/18
Crazy! jeffm03/02/18
These comments are the reasons I come back time and time aga ambulancechaser201303/02/18
Isnt there ma way to structure this so as to make it viable: cantimaginenocountry03/02/18
Rebating anything to Mr. Lee needs to comply with state rule khazaddum03/02/18
Precisely! OP, there are ways, but you can still wind up on jeffm03/02/18
only when it goes fubar and those "employees" disappear dingbat03/02/18
In my scenario, it's a real firm, and the attorney has direc jeffm03/02/18
"#1: In NY, don't trust a banker with a pocket square. In Lo isthisit03/03/18
Read Model Rule 5.4 Unless the state you're in has a rule superttthero03/03/18
cantimaginenocountry (Mar 1, 2018 - 11:31 pm)

So there are these Taiwanese guys in NYC that have this arrangement:

1-they give you free office space on 34th street (central obviously)
2-you handle their cases 20 hrs a month as agreed

____________________________________________________

These guys are not lawyers but businessmen. They said they have all kinds of cases. Breach of contract. Immigration, PI bankruptcy.Sounds like some kind of in house counsel but it could be worse than that. It could be they are just scooping cases from their ethnic community/network.


You dont get paid you just get office space for 5 hrs. a week work.

Thoughts all?

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guyingorillasuit (Mar 1, 2018 - 11:43 pm)

Terrible idea, sure to end up in disaster. These people are probably offering unlicensed legal assistance to their ethnic community, and you will end up as the licensed attorney taking the fall. They will collect money upfront from their clients, and tell you what to do. They will eventually offer you a cut of the proceeds for your "good legal work". You will also get promoted to "senior counsel" after 3 months of doing what they tell you, and will be promised further promotions and bonuses. This is what happened to lots of young attorneys in the loan modification era. Many of us have seen this game played out before. The game ends when you get busted, and the foreign gentlemen will disappear. I am personally acquainted with two people who fell for this scam - one was disbarred, and one was privately reprimanded (she was a first-year who was able to blame another attorney - the "deer-in-the-headlights" defense).

This will end with you getting disbarred, and pleading with the DA to avoid a jail sentence.

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khazaddum (Mar 1, 2018 - 11:44 pm)

Cross reference the specifics with your states rules on Fee splitting with non-Attorney and non-Attorney ownership of a law firm.

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lilgub (Mar 2, 2018 - 12:30 pm)

This.

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jeffm (Mar 1, 2018 - 11:51 pm)

Yeah, you didn't say "whose" cases. I first assumed the guys were in business and probably getting sued here and there, needing to sue to collect, dealing with employee issues, etc. If, as gigs and khazzaddum suggest, these are not their own business cases, but other people's cases that these guys will "broker" to you (but you're supposed to be dumb about that), then stay away.

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guyingorillasuit (Mar 2, 2018 - 12:36 am)

They collect money upfront, tell you to file a complaint, and then tell their client: "Your case has been accepted by the court and assigned a case number. This is great news. We now need another $5,000 to push it through the system." Your name is on the complaint, in the meantime. Even if it's not, you helped prepare it. They periodically contact the client, and say "it's time to do more work, give us $5,000 more, we're getting close to a resolution". You don't see any of this, because they are speaking to their ethnic community in a language you don't understand. They keep getting money out of the clients, and promising that they will soon deliver results.

When it comes time to pay the piper, you can't even tell the authorities who these people are. You know the main guy's name is Lee, and he has a gmail address. You know he was paying you with checks from a Chase account registered to an LLC, which is untraceable to any individual. You know that the LLC was registered at some virtual office, but you've never been there. Lee told you he was an investor, and this was his real estate holding company, and that's all you know.

At the end of the day, Lee will have collected millions of dollars from people in his community (legal and illegal, but mostly fresh off the boat) by promising them their day in court, and fleecing them over and over again. You will receive a little bit of free rent, about 10-20 grand in compensation, a lot of promises about a bright future, and an investigation from every government agency with the means to conduct one.

Good luck to you.

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jeffm (Mar 2, 2018 - 9:19 am)

Crazy!

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ambulancechaser2013 (Mar 2, 2018 - 2:01 am)

These comments are the reasons I come back time and time again to JDU. gigs is probably 90 percent right and the rest of the comments too. I would stay away.

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cantimaginenocountry (Mar 2, 2018 - 2:31 pm)

Isnt there ma way to structure this so as to make it viable:

1-you as the attorney has to deal with the client including anything fee related ( u r after all signing anything filed with a court); all client fees have to go through attorney which will be rebated to Mr. Lee; this way client expectations and fees can be kept track of
2-provisions for turning down case assignments (this will be a bottomless pit so should not be taken on)
3-a limit on the # of cases they can provide limited by the outer limit of the amount of work you will do for them (cant handle 30 cases on 5 hrs. of work a week obviously)
4-Agreement will be in writing
5-Agreement will be limited to 60 days with option to renew
_________________________________________________________________________________

But what happens if you file a case then leave this arrangement? There will be a case conference in 90 days and you are the attorney of record. How do you get out of this?

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khazaddum (Mar 2, 2018 - 2:34 pm)

Rebating anything to Mr. Lee needs to comply with state rules on referral services.

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jeffm (Mar 2, 2018 - 6:40 pm)

Precisely! OP, there are ways, but you can still wind up on the radar. As khazzaddum is saying, attorneys are not permitted to share fees with non-lawyers for the referral of cases, nor are they allowed to pay referral fees to non-attorneys. Most people know this, and then, their instinct (should they want to persist) is to pay the guy for "consulting." Whenever I see that, I lmao! Whatever you do, don't do something stoopid like that.

What I'd like to hear is what others here think of the propriety of an arrangement like this:

IIRC, I think if you read the pertinent rules and statutes (and the comments to them) concerning barratry and fee-splitting, there seems to be a fairly high flexibility in terms of compensating your employees, including legal assistants, paralegals and clerks, etc. It seems pretty fair game to pay a reasonable range for bonuses, salary, whatever.

However, it still needs to be legit. If these guys really become your employees and help you interview clients, work on discovery by getting the information from clients, file papers, etc. - the things legal staff usually do - then, do we still realistically have any issues concerning ethics or legality?

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dingbat (Mar 2, 2018 - 7:21 pm)

only when it goes fubar and those "employees" disappear

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jeffm (Mar 2, 2018 - 10:17 pm)

In my scenario, it's a real firm, and the attorney has direct contact with the clients. Same as in any practice. No money; no workie, If clients still need you and want to keep paying, hire some recent law grads for $13.00 an hour (actually, that's what you charge the students for the good mentoring you will give, lol).

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isthisit (Mar 3, 2018 - 12:41 am)

"#1: In NY, don't trust a banker with a pocket square. In London, it's a pinky ring. And in Asia, don't [email protected] trust anyone."

You're in NYC doing business with an Asian. Need I say more?

Don't fee split with these dudes or file anything for them. They're fleecing their community of their retainers while you get nothing but space and future disbarment.

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superttthero (Mar 3, 2018 - 2:19 am)

Read Model Rule 5.4

Unless the state you're in has a rule very different from the Modle rule, this sounds like it'll violate about half the subsections.

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