The Oregon State Bar's house of delegates holds its annual meeting Nov. 3, and there will be fireworks.
A bar panel is proposing to scrap a long-standing ethics rule that prohibits lawyers from splitting the proceeds of their cases with non-lawyers.
Proponents say the goal is to promote access to justice. But critics, led by the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, say there's good reason no state currently allows fee-splitting: It creates a conflict of interest between the referral agent's need for profit and a client's interests.
"All of a sudden you have a for-profit company who is going to have a stake in the case," says Beth Bernard, OTLA's executive director. "That's just a bad idea."