The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 66-11
February 15, 1966

A lawyer may represent a client in connection with a title insurance claim against Lawyers' Title Guaranty Fund, even though the lawyer is a member of the Fund, if he makes full and fair disclosure to the prospective client.

Canon: 6

Chairman Kittleson stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar requested the Committee's advice on his proposed representation of a client in connection with a title insurance claim against Lawyers' Title Guaranty Fund. He is concerned whether membership in the Fund, with the financial interest that attaches to membership, causes any ethical problem with respect to the proposed representation. In other words, he wants to know whether he may properly undertake to pursue the claim in behalf of the client, notwithstanding the fact that claims paid by the Fund can adversely affect all members' credit accounts in the Fund. The particular claim is relatively small, and its impact on any one Fund member would be negligible.

The Committee finds no ethical objection to the proposed representation, if full and fair disclosure is made to the prospective client of membership in the Fund and the conflict-of-interest indications. Canon 6, entitled “Adverse Influences and Conflicting Interests,” provides that it is the duty of a lawyer at the time of retainer to disclose to the client all the circumstances of his relations to the parties, and any interest in or connection with the controversy, which might influence the client in the selection of counsel.

We are advised that Lawyers' Title Guaranty Fund has taken a formal and official position that a member should feel free to represent a claimant in handling a claim against the Fund as vigorously as he would handle a claim against any other title assuring organization.

The question is touched upon in an article entitled “Lawyers' Title Guaranty Funds: The Florida Experience,” appearing in the November, 1965 issue of the American Bar Association Journal.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]