OPINION 186
October 1958

SOLICITATION— ADVERTISING—CREDIT AND COLLECTION BUSINESS—It is improper for an attorney who has organized a credit and collection service independent of his law office to permit solicitation of business for such service by the manager thereof through letters mentioning the attorney's status, activities and achievements in handling collections.

Canon 24.

PARTNERSHIPS— ASSOCIATION WITH NON-ATTORNEY IN CREDIT AND COLLECTION SERVICE—If the relationship between a non-attorney and an attorney in a collection service is that of a partnership, in which part of the business is the practice of law, such association would be improper.

Canon 30.

Question

Attorney A has organized a credit and collection service independent of his law office and such business is managed by B who is not an attorney. It is proposed that B will handle the collections matters prior to filing suit and in the event of the necessity of suit and after procural of authority from the creditor, B will turn the collection matters over to Attorney A for handling. Does Attorney A violate the Canons of Ethics by consenting or acquiescing in sending the following proposed letter by B to B's prospective creditor clients?

Dear Sir:

Since being retired from the position of Credit Manager of ____________, a position which I held since the opening in 19___, I have become associated with Mr. A., _______ Building, _______, Texas whose reputation in handling collections is most outstanding. As you probably know, he has been doing work for a number of years for ________ and such stores as ___________and __________. You have very likely received a copy of his address on credit and collections which was delivered at the recent ______ convention and was printed in three installments of the ______ Review and sent out as a newsletter on _________. And now, with me to assist him in this work, I can promise that we can give you even better service in the collection of bad checks and delinquent accounts, anywhere in the entire state. A fee schedule is being sent to you under separate cover. This schedule has been pronounced fair and equitable for all concerned by many comparable officials throughout the state and I hope that you will agree. I would appreciate your sending me your bad checks and delinquent accounts for collection. I am ready and waiting to start working on them.

Yours very truly, B.
 

Opinion

The Committee is unanimously of the opinion that the sending of such proposed letter with the consent or acquiescence of Attorney A would violate Canon 24. The true relationship between B and Attorney A in the collection service is not disclosed in the inquiry, but the Committee is of the opinion that, if such relationship is that of a partnership, then this would also constitute a violation of Canon 30. (See Opinions 92 and 119; Drinker, Legal Ethics, p. 221; ABA Opinion 225.) (8-0.)