Here is a Florida case whcih discusses the obligation between attorneys on a fee split, and the difference between an attorney split and a fee owed by the client.  Here, attorney 1 referred the case to attorney 2, and was then terminated.  Result?  Attorney 2 owes a specific percentage to Attorney 1.

"An appellate court has ruled that two Miami lawyers should split a contingency fee award based on their written fee agreement — even though one lawyer was fired by the client on the advice of the other lawyer before the case was won.

A 4th District Court of Appeal panel unanimously ruled April 2 that Scott Jay, who referred a legal malpractice case to Warren Trazenfeld, is entitled to 25 percent of the $218,000 fee Trazenfeld won as part of a $485,000 judgment in Broward Circuit Court in 2003.

Trazenfeld had argued that Jay was not entitled to any fees because he thought that when his client terminated Jay, the fee agreement was voided. Jay’s only claim, he said, was based on quantum meruit, meaning that payment should be based on the reasonable value of services provided. But Jay was not even entitled to that, Trazenfeld said, because Jay had not kept complete time records of his work.

Broward Circuit Judge Robert Lance Andrews agreed with Trazenfeld. But the 4th DCA panel rejected that argument. First, it said case precedent holds that the quantum meruit rule was inapplicable because it applies to the client’s obligation, not to co-counsel’s obligation.

"The written fee agreement provides that co-counsel are jointly owed the fee," the panel wrote. "And because the contract did not specify otherwise, the division of the fee would ordinarily be equal."

The panel also rejected Trazenfeld’s argument about the time records.

"Here, where the fee agreement effectually makes the division, it would serve no purpose to keep such records to establish the share of each," the panel wrote. "In this kind of joint representation, counsel may recognize from the beginning of their undertaking that the amount of time spent by either will not control the division. … As long as such a division is not unreasonable and does not violate the regulatory rules of the Florida Bar, there is no good reason why courts should resort to time records to divide the fee."

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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.