ETHICS OPINION 281
NUMBER 281 1930
Question. In the opinion of the Committee, would there be professional impropriety in a lawyer endeavoring by civil action to enforce against borrowers claims of a lender for the principal amount of loans of less than $300 actually made by him, with interest at the normal legal rate of 6 percent, where the lender exacted an agreement for his advance that the borrower should pay an additional amount of interest in violation of the limitations Imposed by Section 368 of the Banking Law of New York relating to loans of the value of $300 or less, and making the violation of its prohibitions a mindemeanor and (upon proof of the fact) discharging the debt and avoiding the security.
Answer. The Committee does not attempt to construe the statute, but is of the opinion that it would be improper for the attorney to accept employment to enforce any claim which he knows to have been discharged.
The Committee’s answer in Opinion 61 upon a cognate inquiry should be limited to cases where the law does not avoid the entire obligation, of makes usury a defense which must be pleaded.