Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 140

Adopted November 27, 1937

The Board of Governors is in receipt of the following inquiry:

“A client employed me to examine an abstract of title to certain lands in ………. County, and after examining such abstract, I wrote an opinion thereon making certain objections and setting out certain defects which I considered fatal to the title and made certain requirements in connection therewith.

“The party from whom my client, the prospective purchaser, is purchasing the land, has written me asking if I could straighten out the flaws and mistakes in the title. It will probably require court action in order to perfect the title.

“Question: Would it be unethical for me to accept employment and a fee from the present owner of the land to institute, conduct and close whatever court action, and take any other action as may be necessary, in my opinion, to perfect the title, in view of the fact that I have accepted employment from the proposed purchaser to pass upon the title?”

In response:

The inquiry is answered in the negative in Advisory Opinion No. 65, Vol. 1, Adv. Op., page 124. The observation is made, however, that, unlike the condition presented in Advisory Opinion No. 65, it would be entirely proper for the inquirer to accept the employment “by express consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of facts.” (Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.)