Rule 19-305.4 Professional Independence of an Attorney [MARPC 5.4]

(a) An attorney or law firm shall not share legal fees with a non-attorney, except that:

(1) an agreement by an attorney with the attorney's firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a reasonable period of time after the attorney's death, to the attorney's estate or to one or more specified persons;

(2) an attorney who purchases the practice of an attorney who is deceased or disabled or who has disappeared may, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 19-301.17 (1.17), pay the purchase price to the estate or representative of the attorney.

(3) an attorney who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased, retired, disabled, or suspended attorney may pay to that attorney or that attorney's estate the proportion of the total compensation fairly allocable to the services rendered by the former attorney;

(4) an attorney or law firm may include non-attorney employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit-sharing arrangement; and

(5) an attorney may share court-awarded legal fees with a nonprofit organization that employed, retained or recommended employment of the attorney in the matter.

(b) An attorney shall not form a partnership with a non-attorney if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.

(c) An attorney shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the attorney to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the attorney's professional judgment in rendering such legal services.

(d) An attorney shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:

(1) a non-attorney owns any interest therein, except that a fiduciary representative of the estate of an attorney may hold the stock or interest of the attorney for a reasonable time during administration;

(2) a non-attorney is a corporate director or officer thereof or occupies the position of similar responsibility in any form of association other than a corporation; or

(3) a non-attorney has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of an attorney.

Cross reference: Md. Rule 19-742.