Attorney Referrals

Maximize Your Client’s Recovery – Refer A Case To The Walkup Law Firm

Since the founding of our firm by Bruce Walkup in 1959, we have benefited from the trust and confidence of lawyers throughout California and across the United States who have referred matters to us for prosecution, settlement and trial. We have paid tens of millions of dollars in referral fees in just the past 10 years. As one of the pre-eminent plaintiff personal injury and wrongful death firms in the country, we receive referrals from firms of all sizes, from solo practitioners to large mega-firms.

Similarly, non personal injury specialists in every type of practice area, from intellectual property to corporate, public interest to tort defense, tax to patent and trademark, have all trusted us with the referral of friends, family and clients to investigate and prosecute injury and death claims.

You Can Depend On Our Referral Agreements And Payments

All referral agreements and referral fees are paid consistent with State Bar Rule 2-200. When entering into a fee-sharing agreement with other lawyers, the client is advised and the referring attorney is identified in our retainer agreement. The division of fees is approved by the client in writing. Recognition and acknowledgment of the referral agreement by the client at the time of initial retention prevents any later misunderstanding regarding the division of fees.

Through the years, we have paid more than $50 million in referral fees to associate counsel. In each case, the amount or percentage of the referral fee is different, depending upon the individual circumstances of the case. Factors that affect the referral fee include the size of the case, its complexity, the overall fee negotiated with the client, the likelihood of success, the responsibility for advanced costs, the amount of involvement of the referring attorney, and the point in the case at which our firm has been retained or associated. Cases in which we have paid referral fees in the past year involved medical negligence, construction site injuries, defective products, defective medical devices, government liability, and automobile and truck collisions.

A Collaborative Approach To Referred Cases

We welcome referrals at any point in the litigation. Ideally, we prefer that we be retained as early as possible so that we can direct litigation strategy, discovery planning, expert retention, trial preparation and settlement negotiations. In some cases, we are retained on the eve of trial, and our attorneys are prepared and able to accept matters on short notice. We take pride in our lawyers’ ability to work cooperatively with our referring attorneys. Whether a referring attorney wishes to remain involved, joint venture the case or negotiate some other type of cooperative participation agreement, it is an extremely rare instance where we are unable to negotiate an equitable referral fee agreement.

We know that when referring attorneys send us a case, they are placing their reputation on the line. We also understand that after a referral is made to us, referring attorneys rightfully expect that at the end of the case, the client will greet them with these two words: thank you. A referral to our firm reflects an important decision by a referring attorney to get the best result for the client while allowing that lawyer to share in the fee according to Rule of Professional Conduct 2-200.

Whether specializing in family law, business, real estate, patent and trademark, tax, insurance defense or plaintiff’s personal injury practice, all of our referring attorneys are treated with respect and their relationship with the client is always protected and acknowledged.

The litigation and trial of serious and catastrophic injury or wrongful death cases is time-consuming, difficult and expensive. Specialization in the legal field requires that all lawyers make considered and timely referrals of cases when they know that another firm or another attorney may better be able to assist the client. The lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger stand ready to receive those referrals, permitting referring counsel to focus on their own disciplines or specialties, conserving their financial resources, and trusting that at Walkup, their client will get an optimum result at a firm without peer.

If you would like to discuss a potential referral with any attorney at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, please call one of our partners or Kevin Domecus at (415) 981-7210, or you can email us at

All referral fees are paid in accordance with California State Bar guidelines, and all referral agreements are committed to writing after disclosure and explanation to our clients.

California Rule Of Professional Conduct 2-200 Financial Arrangements Among Lawyers

(A) A member shall not divide a fee for legal services with a lawyer who is not a partner of, associate of, or shareholder with the member unless:

The client has consented in writing thereto after a full disclosure has been made in writing that a division of fees will be made and the terms of such division; and

the total fee charged by all lawyers is not increased solely by reason of the provision for division of fees and is not unconscionable as that term is defined in rule 4-200.

(B) Except as permitted in paragraph (A) of this rule or rule 2-300, a member shall not compensate, give, or promise anything of value to any lawyer for the purpose of recommending or securing employment of the member or the member’s law firm by a client, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in employment of the member or the member’s law firm by a client. A member’s offering of or giving a gift or gratuity to any lawyer who has made a recommendation resulting in the employment of the member or the member’s law firm shall not of itself violate this rule, provided that the gift or gratuity was not offered in consideration of any promise, agreement, or understanding that such a gift or gratuity would be forthcoming or that referrals would be made or encouraged in the future.