The Florida Bar
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PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 68-61
February 14, 1969

A note evidencing the balance of an agreed fee may bear lawful interest comparable to that which would be charged the client by a lending institution.

Canon: 12

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar has agreed with a client to perform stipulated services for a stated sum. The client plans to pay a portion of this stated sum, and to pay the remainder over an agreed period. The client is willing to secure the balance of the fee by executing a second mortgage on certain real estate securing the note evidencing the balance of the indebtedness. We are asked whether this note may bear interest.

The Committee is aware of no reason that such a note, under the circumstances stated, may not bear interest provided, of course, that the rate of interest is not only lawful, but is comparable to that rate of interest which would be charged the client by a lending institution. A minority of the Committee suggests that a practice of charging interest would be proper so long as the fee had in fact already been earned. The majority concludes that such a qualification is not necessary in the particular circumstances stated, which apparently contemplate the rendition of agreed services over a period of time with an agreement in advance as to the particular fee for the service.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]