OPINION 142
March 1957

SOLICITATION -- SIGNS -- JOINT OCCUPANTS -- An attorney, who occupies an office with a bail bond company, may not have his professional sign, even in small letters, beneath the company's prominent sign advertising that it deals in bail bonds.

STIRRING UP LITIGATION -- It is improper for an attorney to be employed by a bail bond company to obtain Writs of Habeas Corpus for the company's customers, usually without the attorney seeing the customer.

DIVISION OF FEES -- ATTORNEY AND BONDSMEN -- It is improper for an attorney, who is employed by a bail bond company, to obtain Writs of Habeas Corpus for its bond customers when in the usual course the attorney does not see the client until the case is set and up until the time the client has paid the attorney no fees whatsoever.

Canons 24, 25, 31, 32, 43A.B.A. Canons 27, 35.

Question

Is it a violation of the Canons of Ethics for an attorney to office with a company whose only business is the making of bail bonds, and whose office has a large neon sign reading "Bail Bonds" and several other signs on the windows and across the front of the building, one of the signs being three feet high, and reading "Bail Bonds, Day or Night," and the attorney having his name and Attorney at Law in small letters on the window under the bail bonds sign, and said attorney being employed by the bail bondsmen to obtain Writs of Habeas Corpus, usually without the attorney seeing the client, and the attorney being paid a portion of the money received by the bondsmen for making the bail bond, and in most cases when the case is set by the Court the bondsmen notify the client that his case is set and up to that time the client his paid the attorney no fee whatsoever?

Opinion

All members are of the opinion that the facts stated constitute a violation of the Canons of Ethics. Canons violated were designated (differently by various members) as Texas Canons 24, 25, 3132, and 43 and American Bar Canons 27 and 35. Opinions 35, 57, 198 and 225 of the American Bar Association have been cited in support by one member. (9-0)