LEO: Creditor Demand Letters  LE Op. 1121


Creditor Demand Letters.


September 1, 1988


You have presented three questions regarding the ethical implications of

an attorney who accepts employment for the sole purpose of writing a

creditor's demand letter. The Committee will address each question in the

order in which they are presented.


I. Is it improper for an attorney to accept employment when the client

has not referred the account for any purpose other than a demand letter?

The Committee believes that such employment is not improper. However, an

attorney contemplating such employment should make a complete

investigation of the matter so as to enable him to make a good faith,

professional judgment that the demand is for a valid existing claim before

drafting or mailing a demand letter on his firm's letterhead or over his

signature. ( DR:7-102(A)(1) and (2).)


A lawyer shall not knowingly advance an unwarranted claim (except as set

forth in DR:7-102(A)(2)), write or communicate information that is false,

illegal or fraudulent. (See DR:7-102(A)(2), (5) and (7)) Furthermore, a

lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or

misrepresentation which would reflect adversely on a lawyer's fitness to

practice law. ( DR:1-102(A)(4))


II. Does the use of letterhead to make a demand for payment by an

attorney imply that litigation is threatened and could result? The

Committee believes that the creditor receiving such correspondence from an

attorney could not reasonably infer that litigation could result if the

attorney has made no implications or statements to that effect.


III. Is it ethical for an attorney to threaten litigation, whether by

implication or otherwise, when he knows that the client has forwarded the

account for the sole purpose of a demand letter? The Committee believes

that it would be improper for an attorney to engage in such conduct that

would result in knowingly making a false statement of fact in violation of

 DR:7-102(A)(5) and DR:1-102(A)(4). (See also LE Op. 732)


Committee Opinion September 1, 1988




See also LE Op. 1195, and LE Op. 1291.