Ethics of Co-Counsel and Referral Relationships



  • Available Until 6/12/2023
  • Next Class Time 11:00 AM MT
  • Duration 60 min.
  • Format MP3 Download
  • Program Code 06112021
  • Ethics Credits 1 hour(s)

Course Price: $89.00


Co-counsel and referral relationships are common in law practice.  Lawyers associate with other lawyers on cases to gain specialized knowledge required for competent representation in a case.Litigation counsel may seek local counsel on a case in another jurisdiction.  Lawyers also refer out business for a variety of reasons, including overflow work or the work is outside of a lawyer’s core competencies.  These any many other co-counsel and referral relationships, however, raise substantial ethical and malpractice issues.  This program will provide you with a framework for understanding the ethical issues surrounding co-counsel and referral relationships.


  • Duty to supervise counsel to whom you have referred work
  • Associating with other lawyers or firms to gain competence in specific areas
  • Fee splitting in co-counsel or referral relationships
  • Liability to co-counsel for breaches of fiduciary duty or malpractice
  • Liability for errors of co-counsel
  • Duty to inform of malpractice by co-counsel



Brian S. Faughnan is a shareholder with the Tennessee law firm of Lewis Thomason, resident in its Memphis office.  In addition to handling business litigation and appellate litigation, his practice focus involves solving problems for lawyers.  Over the years, Brian has represented lawyers and law firms in disciplinary matters, litigation and other matters involving professional liability.  He has also served as an expert witness in matters in federal and state courts in Tennessee.  Brian is a frequent author and speaker on ethics and professional responsibility issues.  He is a co-author of the book “Professional Responsibility in Litigation,” the Third Edition of which is being published later this year by the ABA.  He shares his thoughts on legal ethics, professional responsibility, and other aspects of the law of lawyering at  He currently serves as the President-Elect of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers and has been the Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility since 2009.

William Freivogel is the principal of Freivogel Ethics Consulting and is an independent consultant to law firms on ethics and risk management.  He was a trial lawyer for 22 years and has practiced in the areas of legal ethics and lawyer malpractice for more than 25 years.  He is chair of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct. He maintains the Web site “Freivogel on Conflicts” at<> .  Mr. Freivogel is a graduate of the University of Illinois (Champaign), where he received his B.S. and LL.B.