The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 72-16

April 21, 1972
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
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).

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 See Florida Opinions 64-17 [since withdrawn] and 66-20.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.