As a personal injury attorney and car accident lawyer in the Dallas / Fort Worth area since 1994, I have had people call me and ask if I would be willing to pay money for new case referrals. My answer has always been, and will always be, “No!” Why? Because the practice of paying for cases is illegal in the State of Texas. It is called “barratry,” and can not only result in the lawyer being disbarred, it is also a third-degree felony punishable by imprisonment.
Besides barratry being illegal, there is also a potential problem for the client. Because there is a “middle-man” who stands to get paid by the attorney for the case, this “middle-man” tends to pressure the client to hire the attorney regardless of the client’s wishes. Rather than the client being influenced solely by his/her own instincts about the attorney, the client is being influenced by a person who only wants to get paid for the case. I have heard of attorneys paying upwards of $500 per case referral.
If you are an injured person and you suspect that you are being referred to an attorney who intends to pay for the case, my recommendation is to reject the referral and find an attorney on your own. After all, how can you trust a lawyer to be honest with you if that lawyer is willing to commit a felony at the very outset of your case.
Excellent advice for lawyers in any jurisdiction. Someone getting a fee to refer someone to a lawyer may not know anything at all about the lawyer, and whether he or she is competent enough to handle the case, yet may encourage some unsuspecting client to hire a certain lawyer, just in order to get paid.
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