The Florida Bar
A lawyer may not file a class action in which the lawyer is a named plaintiff, seeks to represent the class and seeks recovery of attorney's fees for himself for representing the class.
July 23, 1975
July 23, 1975
CPR: DR 2-104(A)(5); EC 5-1
Vice Chairman Daniels stated the opinion of the committee:
We are asked if a lawyer may file a class action in which (1) he is a named plaintiff seeking to represent the class; and (2) he seeks recovery of attorney's fees for himself for representing the class.
EC 5-1 provides:
The professional judgment of a lawyer should be exercised within the bounds of the law, solely for the benefit of his client and free of compromising influences and loyalties. Neither his personal interests, the interests of other clients, nor the desires of third persons should be permitted to dilute his loyalty to his client.
In addition, DR 2-104(A)(5) provides:
If success in asserting rights or defenses of his client in litigation in the nature of a class action is dependent upon the joinder of others, a lawyer may accept, but shall not seek, employment from those contacted for the purpose of obtaining their joinder.
The Committee concludes that the above-quoted provisions prohibit a lawyer from filing a suit naming himself as the representative of a class and simultaneously seeking attorney's fees for representing such class.