88 N.J.L.J. 49
January 28, 1965
Representing Collection Agency
An inquiry has been made as to the propriety of an attorney
representing an individual, whose business it is to acquire claims
by purchase or assignment. Litigation would be pursued by the
individual as the owner or assignee of the claim.
A distinction should be made between claims which are purchased and those which are merely assigned.
Where there is merely an assignment of a claim, then our prior opinion on the subject would control. N.J. Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 17, 87 N.J.L.J. 113 (1964). In that opinion we held that it would be improper for an attorney to be engaged by a commercial collection agency for the purpose of instituting suit against the debtors of the customers of such agency. This would result in a violation of Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 35, since it is an exploitation of the service of an attorney by an intermediary between client and attorney.
Where, however, the claims are purchased and become the property of the individual, there would appear to be no objection to his engaging an attorney to represent him in the collection of the debts which are due him.