New proposed rules addressing for-profit companies that link lawyers with consumers needing legal work will prevent fee splitting
between those companies and lawyers and protect the public from any deceptive, misleading, or false advertising by those companies.
Section 22(A)(14) is sometimes referred to as a "fee splitting
" prohibition, although the statute is not limited to traditional fee splitting
such as a surgeon sharing part of his or her fee with the physician who referred the patient.
Eliminating the Medicare provision that allows fee splitting
for post-operative care would lessen abuse but true reform also would require an infusion of ethics, something that can't be taught or purchased.
I guess this is the influence of our HMO masters who look to this kind of fee splitting
to help their bottom line, which is their priority.
However, the plain language of the RESPA statute says that the charges -- which can apply not only to credit reports, but to filing fees, reporting fees, title fees, appraisal fees and other incidental charges -- violate the statute only if there is a kickback or fee splitting
arrangement between settlement service providers.
Both accuse Stewart of illegal business referrals and fee splitting
arrangements With real estate companies.
The company said the new publication is "dedicated exclusively to attorney fee developments and related legislation." It is designed to keep readers informed on such subjects as disputes over reasonableness of fees, recoverability of fees, billing guidelines, in--house fees, auditing, legislative caps on fees, fee splitting
, alternative billing methods, insurability of fees, contingency fees, billing deficiencies, and statutory awards.
Over the past 10 years, the Florida Board of Medicine has issued a number of declaratory statements on the subject of fee splitting
in the context of employment, management, and marketing arrangements between licensed physicians and business corporations and partnerships.
The Bar has defined fee splitting
in those rules and proposed comments pending at the Supreme Court as anytime there is a fee-per-case arrangement or a fixed charge per accepted case with a private company.
"We're going to be looking at how people get paid for lawyer services; we're going to talk fee splitting
; and we're talking about other methods by which people who are nonlawyers for profit are trying to match up clients and lawyers.
The board, at its recent Miami Beach meeting, upheld an opinion by the Standing Committee on Advertising telling LawButler.com that its proposed business model violates fee splitting
"They will present their own discipline's standards of conduct for their members as they relate to referrals, fee splitting
, those kinds of issues," Wells said.