LEO: Fees: Charges for Collection Cases - LE Op. 1161
Fees: Charges for Collection Cases - Clarification of.
October 20, 1988
This opinion is a clarification of LE Op. 1025.
Specifically, you were concerned that the opinion stood for the
proposition that the Code of Professional Responsibility would not
prohibit charging a flat rate for collection cases involving a 25%
attorney's fee clause. LE Op. 1025 was based on the facts given to the
Legal Ethics Committee by the attorney requesting the opinion. The facts
upon which we were to issue an opinion provided that the attorney "already
obtained judgment on the account balance due as well as the 25% attorney's
fees calculated upon the account balance due." Therefore, the Committee
never opined whether or not such an arrangement was ethical since the
specific inquiry posed dealt with the billing methods which the attorney
would charge in acting on those collections, the specific concern being
splitting fees with non-lawyers.
It is not within the province of the Legal Ethics Committee to opine what
the case law in Virginia might provide in these collection cases.
Therefore, your experience in these matters may well be contrary to the
facts as submitted to the Committee. In any event, the Committee believes
that based upon the facts given to it in LE Op. 1025, the opinion
correctly addresses the ethical issues posed.
Committee Opinion October 20, 1988