Ethics Opinion 126

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Professional Ethics Committee Opinion

Opinion #126 – 03/19/1970 (3-70)

Topic: Usurious documents, preparation of
Digest: Improper to prepare documents known to be usurious
Canon: DR 7-102 (A) EC 7-4, 9-2

QUESTION

May an attorney prepare usurious mortgage papers for a client?

OPINION

The preparation of documents that the lawyer knows would aid a client in violating the law is unethical. Usury is illegal. (General Obligations Law, Section 5-501.)”In his representation of a client, a lawyer shall not:(7) Counsel or assist his client in conduct that the lawyer knows to be illegal or fraudulent.” DR 7-102 (A)”When explicit ethical guidance does not exist, a lawyer should determine his conduct by acting in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the legal system and the legal profession.” EC 9-2This opinion would not, however, prohibit the preparation of documents designed to seek in good faith an extension, modification or reversal of the law. (See EC 7-4.)

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