Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 29

Adopted May 27, 1932

A request for an opinion is requested on the following state of facts:

A member of the bar was sent a note for collection containing the usual provision for attorney’s fees, a failure in the payment of an interest installment being imminent. The attorney purchased the note from his client, and, upon default of the interest payment, immediately filed suit upon the note, and secured judgment for the amount of the note plus attorney’s fees. The statement is made that this particular member of the bar frequently indulges in this practice.

Attention is called to Opinion No. 51 of the American Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics appearing in the May issue of the American Bar Association Journal in which, referring to a similar situation, it is said:

“We are of the opinion that this practice is improper. It seems clear to us that such a course of conduct is violative of both the letter and spirit of Canon 28, which forbids lawyers to stir up strife and litigation. This opinion, it may be claimed, bars attorneys from entering a speculative field, which might be profitable and which is open to laymen; nevertheless, we feel that the dignity of the profession, as well as the ethics of the situation, are entirely consonant with the view herein expressed.”

Canon 28 is identical with Rule 30 of the Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Board of Governors as being in accordance with its views.