April 21, 1972
An attorney may properly pay his suspended co-counsel a portion of the fee awarded for their representation based upon work done prior to the suspension.
Note: Subsequent to the adoption of this opinion, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that a lawyer who withdrew from a contingent fee case upon being suspended is not entitled to a fee. Santini v. Cleveland Clinic Florida, 65 So. 3d 22 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).
Opinions: 64-17, 66-20
Chairman Clarkson stated the opinion of the committee:
A referee in bankruptcy appointed two attorneys as counsel for the trustee in a bankruptcy proceeding. After both attorneys had performed substantial services in the cause, one was suspended from the practice of law by the Supreme Court of Florida. The other attorney seeks our advice whether he may properly pay the suspended lawyer a portion of the fee awarded for this representation based upon work done prior to his suspension.
We have previously approved the sharing of compensation under the stated circumstances. See Florida Opinions 64-17 [since withdrawn] and 66-20. The suspension of a lawyer does not void all earned compensation. The proposed division of fee appears to be proper.