The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 74-30

October 23, 1974
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
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.

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.