United States District Court
Northern District Of Illinois
LR83.55.4. Professional Independence of a Lawyer
(a) A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer, except that:
(1) an agreement by a lawyer with the lawyer’s firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a
reasonable period of time after the lawyer’s death, to the lawyer’s estate or to one or more specified persons;
(2) a lawyer who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased
lawyer may pay to the estate of the deceased lawyer that proportion of the total
compensation which fairly represents the services rendered by the deceased
(3) a lawyer or law firm may include nonlawyer employees in a compensation or
retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a
(b) A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a nonlawyer if any of the
activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.
(c) A lawyer shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the lawyer
to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer’s professional judgment in rendering such legal services.
(d) A lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation
or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:
(1) a nonlawyer owns any interest therein, except that a fiduciary representative
of the estate of a lawyer may hold the stock or interest of the lawyer for a
reasonable time during administration;
(2) a nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof, except that a
nonlawyer may serve as secretary thereof if such secretary performs only ministerial
(3) a nonlawyer has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a
Committee Comment. The provisions of this rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees.
These limitations are to protect the lawyer’s professional independence of judgment. Where someone other than the client
pays the lawyer’s fee or salary, or recommends employment of the lawyer, that arrangement does
not modify the lawyer’s obligation to the client. As stated in section (c), such arrangements should
not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment.