LEO: Solicitation, Advertising; Legal Fees;  LE Op. 558


Solicitation, Advertising; Legal Fees; Independence - Barter



April 10, 1984


An attorney joins a barter system in which a "trade account" is

established in his name. The attorney may "purchase" goods or services

available from other members, incurring a corresponding "debit" on his

account. Another member seeking legal services is referred to the member

attorney by the exchange broker. Upon rendering such services, the

attorney's trade account is appropriately credited. For his services, the

exchange broker collects a 10% fee on each transaction, including legal



1. The barter system does not violate rules pertaining to publicity,

solicitation, advertising so long as the information is not "false,

fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive." [ DR:2-101(A), DR:2-103(A)]


2. It is improper for the attorney to share his legal fees with the non-

lawyer exchange broker, whether in cash or in kind. [ DR:3-102, DR:5-106(



3. It is improper for the attorney to receive fees in kind prior to their

being earned without segregating the goods and services until earned in

the same manner as is required for a cash retainer. [ DR:9-102]


4. Whether a legal fee is paid in cash or in kind, the fee shall be

reasonable. [ DR:2-105(A)]


5. A barter system does not implicity burden the independence of the

attorney. However, to the extent to which his independence is affected,

the attorney must obtain the consent of the client after full and adequate

disclosure under the circumstance. [ DR:5-101(A)]


Committee Opinion April 10, 1984