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ETHICS OPINION 275
NUMBER 275 1929
Question. H and W were divorced by a judgment entered in the Supreme Court in favor of W. The judgment awarded W alimony payable monthly. H failed to pay the alimony for a number of years, whereupon W retains C, an attorney at law, who never had any connection with the divorce suit and who has not heretofore represented W and who has not been allowed any counsel fee, to collect the alimony in arrears and that which is to accrue in the future under the judgment of divorce.
1. Is it proper for C to enter into an agreement with W to accept for his services a percentage of any of the alimony accrued prior to the date of his retainer which he may succeed in collecting?
2. Is it proper for C to enter into an agreement with W to accept for his services a percentage of any of the alimony, to accrue subsequent to the date of the retainer, which he may succeed in collecting?
Answer. In the opinion of the Committee, it is proper for C to enter into the proposed agreement with W in relation to the alimony accrued prior to the date of his retainer. As to alimony to accrue subsequently, however, it is the opinion of the Committee that it would be practically impossible for the attorney C to fix in advance a percentage which would make his fee justly proportionate to the work involved, and the attempt to bind W to such payments out of future alimony would approach sufficiently close to agreements which the courts of New York have held to be against public policy to make it improper for C to enter into the proposed agreement.