NUMBER 238 1926

Question. Is it proper for an attorney to own shares of stock in a corporation organized for the purpose of conducting a collection business?

Would it make any difference if the attorney owned a controlling interest in such corporation, it being the practice of this corporation to engage solely in the business of making collections without suit, and no representations are made to the effect that attorneys are identified with such corporation, nor are any attorneys recommended by the corporation, unless such recommendation is requested by one of its customers.


Answer. In the opinion of the Committee, such are the opportunities for abuse of the proper principles of professional conduct, which have been illustrated by many previous answers of this Committee, through utilizing the collection agency as a cloak for conduct which would in the lawyer be improper, that the Committee concludes that the practice suggested should be discouraged, although the Committee recognizes that there is no inherent impropriety in the mere ownership of shares, whether a majority or otherwise, provided the lawyer does not utilize or control it for purposes above indicated, which the Committee deprecates.