OPINION 262
August 1963

SOLICITATION—INTERMEDIARIES—CONFLICTING INTEREST—An attorney who is employed full time as the trust officer and vice president of a bank may not ethically handle probate and other legal matters for persons who are customers of the bank.

Canons 24, 32, 6.

Question

Is it a violation of the Canons of Ethics for an attorney who is employed full time as trust officer and vice president of a bank to handle probate and other legal matters for persons who are customers and depositors of the bank?

Opinion

The committee is of the opinion that an attorney who is employed full time as the trust officer and vice president of a bank cannot also handle probate and other legal matters for the bank's customers without violating one or more of the canons.

Such a situation would constitute a clear violation of Canon 24, and the committee thinks that a lawyer, employed in this capacity, who performs personal legal services for the bank's customers would be certain to violate Canon 32 and that, especially in drafting wills and handling probate matters for customers, he would very likely violate Canon 6. Reference is made to the informal ABA Opinion C-453, found at 47 ABAJ 871.

The question of whether or not the bank would be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law is not a question of ethics and should be decided by the Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law. (9-0.)