93 N.J.L.J. 492
July 9, 1970
Conflict of Interest
Representing Passengers -
Fee for Referring Driver
The inquirer requests our opinion as to whether it is proper
for an attorney to agree to forward to another attorney a referral
fee where the latter attorney has referred the driver of a motor
vehicle to the inquirer, retaining the passenger as his client. It
is stated that the basis for the referral fee is to be the work
done by the referring attorney in investigating the case either
personally or through the services of a full-time investigator.
The Supreme Court's directive appearing at 91 N.J.L.J. 81 on February 8, 1968 states that, with exceptions not here pertinent, an attorney should not represent both the driver of a car and his passenger against the driver of another car.
It is clear that the proposed referral fee violates the spirit if not the letter of the directive and accordingly is improper.