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Fee Splitting

As set out under rule 3.6-5 of the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct (lawyers’ Rules) and subrule 5.01(11) of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct (Paralegal Rules), fees for professional services may be divided or split between lawyers and paralegals who are not at the same firm, if the following conditions are met

  • the fees are divided in proportion to the work done and the responsibilities assumed, and
  • the client is informed about and consents to the division of fees, confirmed in writing

Lawyers and paralegals are not permitted to divide or split fees with anyone who is not licensed by the Law Society of Ontario – the lawyer or paralegal may only divide or split fees with another lawyer or paralegal in accordance with the lawyers’ Rules or Paralegal Rules.  

There are two exceptions outlined in rule 3.6-8 of the lawyers’ Rules and one contained in subrule 5.01(13) of the Paralegal Rules.  Lawyers in multi-disciplinary practices may divide fees with non-licensee partners, provided that the conditions set out in the rule or subrule are satisfied.  Lawyers who are members of inter-provincial law firms or in law partnerships with Ontario and non-Canadian lawyers may also divide fees with their non-Canadian lawyer colleagues, if the conditions set out in the rule are met.  It is important to note that affiliations are not subject to the exceptions for multi-discipline practices and inter-provincial and international law firms.

Additional Resources:

Financial Management Practice Management Guideline

Referral Fees

Terms or Concepts Explained