LEO: Attorney's Fees - Collection Cases  LE Op. 773


Attorney's Fees - Collection Cases.


April 3, 1986


It is not improper for an attorney to submit to his client all amounts

collected pursuant to the terms of a conditional sales contract including

costs, principal and interest and for the attorney to be compensated only

to the extent that attorney's fees are collected. This assumes as a

predicate that the costs collected by the attorney and forwarded to the

client are only those costs which were actually advanced by the client.


It is not improper for an attorney who receives attorney's fees from a

judgment debtor to reimburse his client (the judgment creditor) the hourly

fees paid the attorney to obtain judgment and collection.


Providing that the client reimburses the attorney for any costs and

expenses expended in collection, it is not improper for an attorney to be

paid a per case appearance fee plus any attorney's fees recovered on the

underlying obligation.


Providing the attorney holds the attorney's fees and renders the account

to the client, it is not improper for an attorney to be paid a monthly

retainer by client and for attorney to pay client all sums recovered in

collection matters if, over time, funds received by client exceed retainer

payments to the attorney. Conversely, should the recovered funds be less

than the retainer paid, attorney would forfeit the difference. [ DR:5-

103(B); LE Op. 541 and LE Op. 586]


Committee Opinion April 3, 1986