Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 6

Adopted September 25, 1936

The Board of Governors of The State Bar of Oklahoma is requested to express its opinion in answer to the following inquiry from a member of the State Bar:

“Please advise me whether or not the following arrangement would contravene any of the rules of professional conduct: “Suppose a client should want me to foreclose a mortgage containing the usual provision for attorneys fee, generally ten per cent of the amount of the mortgage. The client wants me to retain two-thirds of the attorney fee, said two-thirds being my entire fee in the case and remit to him the balance, or one-third of the fee allowed and collected.”

It is the opinion of the Board of Governors that the arrangement proposed in the letter would constitute a violation of Rule 36 of the Rules of Professional Conduct which provides: “No division of fees for legal services is proper, except with another lawyer, based upon a division of services or responsibility.” The Board of Governors is also of the opinion that the proposed arrangement would constitute a violation of Cause Nine of the Causes for Disbarment, Suspension or other Disciplinary Action. See causes for Disbarment, etc., which provides: “That the following shall be considered sufficient causes for disbarment or suspension of or for the imposition of other disciplinary measures upon a person who has been admitted to the practice of law in the State of Oklahoma, … “(9) That he has divided or agreed to divide fees for legal services with anyone other than another attorney entitled to practice law.”