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Opinion 698

Question Presented

Under Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, may a lawyer-defendant in a legal malpractice case enter into a settlement agreement in which the lawyer-defendant assigns to a non-lawyer plaintiff a portion of contingent fees the lawyer-defendant may earn in unrelated cases?

Does the lawyer representing the non-lawyer plaintiff in the legal malpractice case violate the Rules merely by proposing such a settlement, if the lawyer-defendant rejects the proposal?

Lawyer 1 represented a non-lawyer client (Client) in a lawsuit. After the court dismissed Client’s claims, Client retained Lawyer 2 to pursue a legal malpractice claim against Lawyer 1. Lawyer 2 made a settlement demand whereby Client would release Lawyer 1 from the legal malpractice claim in exchange for an assignment of a portion of future contingency fees that Lawyer 1 earns on certain unrelated cases. Lawyer 1 rejected the settlement demand.

Bluebook Citation

Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 698 (2023)