96 N.J.L.J. 1437
December 20, 1973
Soliciting Escheat Claimants
This inquiry is from an attorney who represents a business
that conducts investigations. During the course of such business
the client learns of unclaimed funds likely to associate. The
question is whether or not it would be proper for the attorney: to
represent the investigator by alerting the alleged owners of these
funds, inviting them to sign a contract to pay the investigator a percentage of any collections on a contingency basis, and to prepare the required documents at the investigator's expense.
The proposed representation is similar to the situation described in A.B.A. Comm. on Professional Ethics and Grievances, Opinion 173 (1937). It was there held improper for an attorney to search for unknown heirs and solicit employment from them. See, also, Wise, Legal Ethics 138 (2d ed. 1970), Drinker, Legal Ethics
65 (1961). The solicitation on behalf of the client provides no distinction. The conduct proposed would be a breach of DR 2-103.