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