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e-CFR data is current as of December 2, 2020

Title 49Subtitle BChapter XSubchapter BPart 1103Subpart B → §1103.20

Title 49: Transportation
Subpart B—Canons of Ethics

§1103.20   Practitioner's fees and related practices.

(a) Establishing fees. In establishing fees, a practitioner shall avoid charges which overestimate the value of his advice and services. A client's ability to pay cannot justify a charge in excess of the value of the service although a client's poverty may require a lesser charge or even no charge at all. Publicly quoted fees should be adhered to when actual charges are made. Practitioners are bound to charge no more than the quoted rates for 30 days following the date of their quotations unless a different period of time for the effectiveness of such rates is clearly specified when quoted, or unless permission to charge a higher rate is obtained from the Vice Chairman of the Board.

(b) Compensation, commission, and rebates. A practitioner shall accept no compensation, commission, rebates, or other advantages from the parties in a proceeding other than his client without the knowledge and consent of his client after full disclosure.

(c) Contingent fees. Contingent fees should be only those sanctioned by law. In no case, except a charity case, should fees be entirely contingent upon success.

(d) Division of fees. Fees for services should be divided only with another member of the bar of practitioners and should be based upon a division of service or responsibility. It is unethical for a practitioner to retain laymen to solicit his employment in pending or prospective cases, and to reward them by a share of the fees. Such a practice cannot be too severely condemned.

(e) Suing clients for fees. Controversies with clients concerning compensation are to be entered into only insofar as they are compatible with self-respect and with the right to receive reasonable compensation for services. Lawsuits against clients should be resorted to only to prevent injustice, imposition or fraud.

(f) Acquiring interest in litigation. The practitioner shall not purchase or otherwise acquire any pecuniary interest in the subject matter of litigation which the practitioner is conducting.

(g) Expenses. A practitioner may not properly agree with a client that the practitioner shall pay or bear the expenses of litigation. He may in good faith advance expenses as a matter of convenience but must do so subject to reimbursement by the client. A practitioner shall bill and collect from a client, and thereafter retain only such payments and reimbursements for expenses as have actually been incurred on behalf of the client.

(h) Witnesses' compensation. Compensation of a witness is not to be made contingent on the success of a case in which the witness is called.

(i) Dealing with trust property. Money of the client or other trust property coming into the possession of the practitioner should be reported promptly, and, except with the client's knowledge and consent, should not be commingled with the practitioner's private property or be put to the practitioner's private use.

[47 FR 49549, Nov. 1, 1982, as amended at 81 FR 8853, Feb. 23, 2016]

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