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ETHICS OPINION 228
NUMBER 228 1924
Question. An attorney, in behalf of a client, procured a judgment. An examination of the judgment debtor and other witnesses in supplementary proceedings failed to disclose property of the debtor, but by chance the attorney has learned by other litigation, in which it appears by record evidence that others are secretly interested in the debtor’s business, so as probably to be responsible for his debts.
It seems probable also that there are other judgment creditors of the same debtor, ignorant of the facts, who have been unsuccessful in collecting their debts.
The attorney does not make a practice of seeking employment to collect unsatisfied judgments. Under these circumstances, is it the opinion of the Committee that the attorney may, with professional propriety, seek to ascertain whether there are other judgment creditors of the same debtor, and when ascertained, to communicate with their attorneys of record for the purpose of seeking their cooperation in behalf of their clients, to institute litigation to impose liability for the judgments upon those so secretly interested?
Answer. In the opinion of the Committee, if the client’s interest, in the attorney’s judgment, lies in the cooperation mentioned, then there would not be professional impropriety in so seeking it. The Committee (Opinions 199 and 227) has heretofore disapproved a lawyer’s stirring up litigation by acquainting strangers or their attorneys with rights unknown to them upon which litigation can be predicated in their behalf, save under exceptional circumstances, which may justify it in a special case. The promotion of the client’s interest may furnish the exception in the present case