February 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rule 1.5 (d) (1) of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct provides that “A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement for, charge or collect any fee in a dmoestic relations matter, the payment or amount of which is contingent upon the securing of a divorce or upon the amount of alimony or support, or property settlement in lieu thereof.”

In their treatise, PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MISSISSIPPI LAWYERS, MLI Press, 2010, at § 22:10, professors Jeffrey Jackson and Donald Campbell state:

Under Rule 1.5 (d) (1), a contingent fee is unethical in a “domestic relations matter” where payment is contingent upon securing a “divorce or upon the amount of alimony or support or property settlement.”  The policy behind this traditional prohibition is to prevent lawyers from taking a fee position that might give the lawyer an incentive to oppose reconciliation of the parties.  The language of the prohibition refers to “domestic relations matters” rather than only to divorce.  As such, that language would prevent a contingent fee in cases involving separation of persons who cohabited but were unmarried.  Too, the reference to “domestic matters” and to “property settlements” would prohibit a contingent fee in negotiating pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements between parties about to join as a couple, or considering the possibility of separation.  The state bar’s opinion is that Rule 1.5 (d) (1) does not, however, prevent a lawyer from charging a contingent fee for the collection of past due support or alimony.  [Citing Miss. Bar Ethics Opinion 88]        

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You are currently reading CONTINGENT FEES IN DOMESTIC CASES at The Better Chancery Practice Blog.


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