Referral fees would be limited to 25 percent under a proposed amendment of Rule 1.5 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.
The Michigan Supreme Court’s proposed 25 percent cap would be lifted
if the referring attorney participates in the case to an extent that a greater percentage of the amount recovered should be allowed as a reflection of the referring attorney’s substantial input of time or cost, or assumption of risk, the referring attorney’s share of fees may exceed the maximum referral fee as agreed by the receiving attorney and as approved by the court in which the proceeding takes place.
The proposal would also require that contigent-fee agreements disclose “the amount or percentage of fees to be divided or shared among or between lawyers who are not in the same firm.”
Under the proposed amendment, clients would have to approve “the amount or percentage of fees to be divided or shared among or between lawyers who are not in the same firm.” ADM File No. 2010-07.
Under a proposed amendment of MCR 2.511, courts would be required to excuse to discharge a juror upon learning that the juror is unqualified, rather than waiting for a party to challenge the juror for cause. The staff comment to the proposal explains that
[b]ecause MCL 600.1337 requires a court to discharge an unqualified juror regardless whether a party challenges the juror for cause, the proposed amendment of MCR 2.511 would eliminate the provision from the list of challenges that may be made for cause, and instead would clarify that the discharge must be made when the court learns that the juror is not qualified to serve.
This clarification would foreclose the possibility that an unqualified juror could be allowed to sit because no one challenged his or her qualification.
ADM File No. 2011-10.
The Michigan Supreme Court issued the proposed amendments in orders released yesterday. The comment period for both proposals is open until Sept. 1, 2011.
In another order released yesterday, the MSC appointed Judge William M. Doherty as chief judge of the Barry County Trial Court for a term ending Dec. 31, 2011.