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

OPINION 64-58
September 29, 1964

An attorney may perform all work, except title examination work, of a savings and loan association gratuitously or for a nominal fee. The fees received from the title examination must be collected from the association in the absence of a clear agreement between the attorney and the borrower at whose instance the examination is performed.

Canons: 12, 35

Chairman Smith stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar inquires if:

. . . . an attorney who regularly performs title examination work for a savings and loan association, which services are charged by the association to the borrower's account, (may) do all other legal work of the association gratuitously or for a nominal fee (in return) for receiving the title examination work.

A majority of this Committee believes the attorney may perform all work, except title examination work, of the association gratuitously or for a nominal fee. The terms of a lawyer's employment are generally a matter of negotiation between the attorney and his client. The fees received for title work may properly be considered in the aggregate as compensation for the total services rendered by the attorney to the association.

One member of the Committee dissents in part and states that the attorney should make a separate charge for legal work done in addition to the examinations if such work is substantial in volume or responsibility.

All Committee members agree the fees received for the title examination must be collected from the association in the absence of a clear agreement between the attorney and the borrower at whose instance the examination is performed. The attorney's fee must in all events be reasonable. It should not be increased because the costs of examination are to be passed on to the borrower.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]