The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
OPINION 74-30
October 23, 1974
An attorney may not file an affidavit in the public records of a county in which former clients own real property stating that the clients have failed to pay attorney's fees.

CPR: EC 1-5; EC 9-2

Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:

A lawyer owed a small and admittedly reasonable sum for past services by clients able to pay same asks if he may properly file an affidavit in the public records of a county in which the clients own real property. The proposed affidavit would state, among other things:

4. I would appreciate it if any attorney or any other title examiner to whose attention this affidavit may come in connection with a sale of this property, would ask Mr. and Mrs. X to please pay this bill.

5. This affidavit is not intended to create any lien or encumbrance on the land described above or on the proceeds of any sale thereof. As a matter of fact we do not intend ever to seek collection of this debt by any form of legal process. Therefore, kindly advise Mr. and Mrs. X any payment they may make to us will be strictly voluntary on their part, and not under any compulsion whatsoever on account of this affidavit.

6. Of course, this affidavit may well shame them into paying. That is as it should be, and I cannot help it.

Further affiant sayeth not.

EC 1-5 provides that a lawyer "should be temperate and dignified." In addition, EC 9-2 states that "... a lawyer should guard against otherwise proper conduct that has a tendency to diminish public confidence in the legal system or the legal profession...." For these and other reasons, the proposed affidavit should not be filed.




[Revised: 08-24-2011]