NUMBER 362 1941

Question. A, an attorney, sues B, a former client (corporation) for the reasonable value of professional services rendered. B is represented by the firm of X, Y & Z, attorneys. At the trial, Y testifies on behalf of the defendant as an expert witness on the question of the value of A’s services, and admits that his firm’s fee is dependent upon the outcome thereof and that he has a financial interest in the outcome.

Is it professionally proper for Y to take the stand and so testify?


Answer. Canon 19 provides that a lawyer should avoid testifying in behalf of his client except when essential to the ends of justice. Y’s testimony on behalf of his client does not appear to be essential. The committee is therefore of the opinion that it is professionally improper of Y to thus testify, (See also In re Schapiro, 144 App. Div. 1.)