The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 62-15

August 21, 1962
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
The Committee declined to approve a lawyer’s charging fees and expenses received from one
case against the proceeds of another case. Rather, the Committee suggested that the matter be
presented to the court by petition for instructions.


Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:
The Florida Bar Committee on Professional Ethics has considered the
problem presented by a member where his client, after agreeing to settlement in
two personal injury cases and having the same announced in open court, then
refused to sign releases in one case. The lawyer received payment in the case in
which releases were signed and holds the funds in his trust account.
He desires our approval of his charging his fees and expenses in both cases against the
settlement received in the one case. We regret that we cannot give our approval of this
procedure. It seems to us that the problem is more one of law than of ethics. We would suggest
that the matter be presented to the court by a petition for instructions.
He has clearly earned his fees in the one case and can deduct them from the amounts
received. As to the other case, he might present a petition to the court for instructions, or he
might ask the court for leave to withdraw as counsel and have a lien for fees declared by the
court against any subsequent settlement.