NUMBER 224 1924

Question. In the opinion of the Committee, may a lawyer with professional propriety, without the knowledge, request, employment or authorization of a husband, investigate the facts and circumstances of the previous marriage and previous divorce of his wife from a prior husband, and then voluntarily advise the present husband that his wife’s marriage to her former husband had not been annulled or dissolved but continues in full force and effect, and consequently that his marriage with his wife is unlawful, null and void; and may the lawyer, having so volunteered such information, with professional propriety accept employment from the husband to procure a decree of annulment upon the basis of the facts so voluntarily ascertained and communicated to the husband by the lawyer?


Answer. The question discloses no previous relation between the lawyer and the husband, and no reason which would excuse the lawyer for meddling in the situation; his volunteering the information and advice is, in the opinion of the Committee, not professionally justifiable, and his doing so for the purpose of promoting litigation or securing the employment is reprehensible. (See Opinion 199 and Canon 28. American Bar Association.)