NUMBER 349 1939

Question. Where an attorney, who appears for a party in a law suit, is by statute or otherwise given a lien for the reasonable value of his services upon his client’s cause of action, which is pending undetermined, or has an agreement with his client that the attorney’s compensation for future services shall be contingent upon the recovery and shall be a percentage of such recovery, is it improper professional conduct for the attorney to assign his lien or his right to compensation under the contingent fee contract as collateral security for a personal loan? Is the propriety of the attorney’s conduct in either case affected by the client’s consent to the assignment?


Answer. The Committee cannot approve the practice indicated. It seems to the Committee that by assigning his lien or claim for services the attorney is doing exactly what the Committee, in its answer in Opinion 166, frowned upon. Namely, he is voluntarily putting himself into a position where questions relating to his compensation may interfere with the full discharge of his duty to his client.