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If I'm waiting on a settlement check can my Lawyer give me a cash advance?

Mount Rainier, MD |

I just settled on an accident that I had 2 years ago, and I asked my lawyer if I can get a cash advance, so that I can catch up with some bills, and he told me that he couldn't do it, because it's against the law is there any truth to that?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

While it does not appear to be "against the law" there is no obligation for an attorney to advance a portion of the settlement to the client.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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2 comments

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli

Posted

Hi Michael, while its been a while since I visited the issue, I do believe it violates the rules of professional responsibility. I remember this from ethics class. So not really a question of "against the law" but more that the lawyer may face a issue. One of the key reasons is because it would highly unfair for a lawyer that may be well positioned to do so to lend money to clients as a way of attracting their business. We do not want people choosing legal providers on the basis of whether they can advance their clients money especially when their financial needs may be very great. This makes them very vulnerable.

Michael Charles Doland

Michael Charles Doland

Posted

Dear Frank: I agree that the legal ethics may be different from "against the law" and I am not licensed in Maryland. In California it would be a contract with one's client, requiring both disclosures, independent representation and "fairness". Our firm certainly does not do so. You make many good legal points. Thanks.

Posted

He is correct. Your lawyer cannot lend money to clients, which is what you are asking him to do. They can only advance the costs of litigation under a contingency agreement.

Best regards,
Frank
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
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Posted

I don't know of any express prohibition, but I believe it would be both a violation of ethics rules and unwise for your attorney to advance you your settlement fees -- especially prior to your attorney's fees and expenses being deducted.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.

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