ETHICS OPINION 320
NUMBER 320 1933
Question. A, known to be an illiterate woman, makes orally a lease to B of a store in premises owned by A. A has a daughter known to be well educated, and the latter prepared in her own handwriting a lease which is submitted to B for his consideration. B takes this proposed lease to a lawyer, stating that he will not sign the lease submitted unless certain additions are made to it, and these additions the lawyer makes, as follows: an option to renew the lease for the same agreed term at the same agreed rental; the right to sell certain beverages; a release from liability under the lease in the event of a sale of the business conducted on the leased premises.
Thereafter B meets A’s husband and tells him that he, B, is ready to execute the lease. A’s husband states that he is the agent for his wife and can bind her, and thereupon the lease is executed by B and in the name of A. Nobody is present save these two persons.
In the evening of the day last named B’s lawyer learns of the signing of the lease and advises his client that the execution by A’s husband is not satisfactory, and the lawyer goes to A and has her personally execute the paper. At this time A’s daughter is present in another room. The lawyer does not say a word about the changes or additions, nor is he asked to read the lease. The changes made in the lease as originally drawn and submitted are in part in a different colored ink and are patent.
A few hours after the lease was executed by A she objected to the changes made by the lawyer.
Was it professionally proper for B’s lawyer to go to A’s home and ask her to execute the altered lease without informing A of the changes made by him in the lease prepared by A’s daughter and submitted to B?
This question was answered by the Committee but publication thereof is withheld because of the discovery that the same or a closely similar question had been submitted to the Committee on Professional Ethics of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and which last named Committee had concluded upon and given its answer. [Association of the Bar Opinion 263, Ed.]