Supreme Court Halts Consideration and Authorization of Bare Referral Fees
Allowing lawyers to enter into new and varied business arrangements to increase innovation and efficiency in Utah’s legal market and thereby increase access to justice is a central goal of the Court’s regulatory reform efforts. Permitting lawyers to share fees with nonlawyers is an aspect of these efforts. Thus, the Court, on September 1, 2020, authorized the sharing of reasonable fees with nonlawyers within the oversight of the regulatory reform Sandbox. It has become apparent, however, that the payment of referral fees—compensation paid to nonlawyers for the sole purpose of ensuring the referral of legal work—presents potential ethical challenges for lawyers and needs further consideration by the Court.