NUMBER 294 1932

Question. Some ten years ago A (my client) recovered judgment against B for a substantial amount. B was then insolvent, and C, the surety on his bond, paid my client part of the amount of the judgment in exoneration of its liability, taking an assignment of a proportionate amount of the judgment.

After several years had passed, I learned that the judgment-debtor had prospered, and thereupon I collected for my client the amount remaining unpaid on the judgment, such payment having been made in installments, the last of which has just been received. In the meantime I have been retained by C in numerous important matters, and while I have no general retainer, I am informed by C that I will be retained in the future should occasion for my services arise in certain lines of litigation, and I, therefore, expect to be consulted in such matters from time to time.

Would it be considered a violation of the principles of legal ethics for me to call the attention of C to the matter above stated, which would probably result in my being retained to collect for it its claim against B? Should I accept such retainer?


Answer. In the opinion of the Committee there is no impropriety in the communication by the attorney to the surety of the facts relating to the collectibility of the claim, nor in the attorney’s accepting employment in connection therewith should he be retained, for the reason that the relationship existing between the attorney and the surety justifies such communication and employment. Canon 27 of the Canons of Professional Ethics of the American Bar Association is not violated, for the communication is warranted by the relations existing between the parties. Canon 28 is not offended, for the relationship between the attorney and the surety justifies the attorney in disclosing the facts. The Committee, however, does not by this opinion intend to recede in any particular from the principles enunciated by it in its answers in Opinions 150, 199, 224, 227, 228, and 252.