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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
OPINION 77-1
July 13, 1977
(Revised September 11, 1992)
A retiring lawyer may write a form letter to his clients proposing to (1) place the client's files in the hands of a named attorney who will assist the retiring lawyer in closing out his practice, or (2) assist the client in putting his file in the hands of an attorney chosen by the client, or (3) return the files directly to the client.

CPR: EC 4-2, DR 2-107
RPC: 4-1.17

Vice-chairman Taylor stated the opinion of the committee:

In reply to an appropriate inquiry which need not be quoted:

It is the opinion of the Committee that a retiring lawyer may write a form letter to his clients advising that (1) he proposes, after the expiration of a reasonable, and stated, time period, to place his files in the hands of a named lawyer who will assist him in closing out his practice unless during that period the client advises otherwise; (2) he will assist the client in putting the files in the hands of the attorney each client chooses, and (3) offering, if the client wishes, to return the files directly to the client. See EC 4-2.

It is also the opinion of the Committee that it would be proper, subject to the approval of the client, for a lawyer taking over cases from a retiring lawyer to divide the fees in the case with the retiring lawyer on a basis of the amount of work done by the retiring lawyer before the second lawyer takes the case. DR 2-107. No division of the fee should be based to any degree on "getting the business" or as a purchase of the retiring lawyer's practice, unless such is done in compliance with Rule 4-1.17 (which permits the sale of a law practice effective January 1, 1993).




[Revised: 08-24-2011]