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A client received a form letter which included the following:
“I have been retained to investigate the facts of this case (an accident on a certain date) so that we may be able to give proper consideration to any adjustment which is warranted. Enclosed is a proof of claim to be completed in detail, which return with paid bill.”
The letterhead and return envelope give a name and address but do not give any indication of the capacity in which the person named therein is acting, though he is in fact the attorney of record for the defendant. The letter is manually signed by a person other than the one named on the letterhead and return envelope. The signer is a claim adjuster, but not an attorney. The letter was sent before the defendant’s attorney knew that the plaintiff was represented by counsel
Is it proper for the attorney to use this letterhead without stating that he is an attorney?
This Committee has frequently held it improper for an attorney to delegate any of his professional function or power to his client (Opinions 102, 300). Thus the use by the attorney of a form letter to be signed by a lay adjuster is improper.
The fact that the recipient of the letter was given no indication that the letter was written or sent by or on behalf of an attorney does not, in the opinion of the Committee, cure the impropriety. Rather does it tend to compound it as being at least unprofessional and undignified, and possibly amount to the “fraud or chicane” condemned by Canon 15. The use of the described letterhead in the circumstances set forth is disapproved.
Dated: March 31, 1959.