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.

The proposed change would allow for-profit companies such as Avvo and Legal Zoom to match potential litigants with lawyers and take a cut of any financial settlements.

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."