It is very very unlikely that your attorney violated any rule of
Each state has enacted Rules of Professional Conduct that govern the
legal profession. In reviewing the rules of Michigan, the state in
which I am licensed, the conduct described does not appear to violate
any rule. Fees may not be excessive or illegal. They should be
consistent with fees customarily charged in the locality, and be
reasonable in terms of time limitations imposed by the client.
Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Section 1.5. For a listing of
other states rules, please see:
As to whether an arrangement with a bank is appropriate, there is no
direct guidance on the question, which is to say that there is no
prohibition, per se. Certainly, so long as any arrangement or proposed
arrangement is fully disclosed to you, the attorney has probably
conducted himself/herself in an ethical manner.
Let's look at the upside. Had you not been able to arrange payment,
either in a lump sum or in a manner acceptable to the attorney, he/she
would have a right to sue you for the fee. This can be a touchy area,
and some professionals really hate to bring such a suit, although
others find that it is a necessary thing to do, particularly when the
client has a number of demands on their tight financial resources.
With this arrangement you have the ability to satisfy a (presumably)
major creditor (the attorney) and allow him/her to close your file and
for you both to move on with your lives. This is a good thing.
The only caution that I see here is this: Don't assume that you are
under any obligation to enter into a loan agreement with the bank just
to placate your attorney. The bank deal should be judged on its merits
- it is either a good deal or not, and if not, should be avoided.
But I would suggest that you maintain a dialogue and conversation with
your attorney. This can have a couple of different positive effects,
not the least of which is the attorney, in an effort to get paid, may
be able to negotiate better terms from the bank than you might
otherwise be able to negotiate on your own!
I hope that the attorney was able to help you out and that you walked
away from the ordeal (it seems like its always an ordeal when you have
to see an attorney) feeling like some good was accomplished on your
If you have any question, or desire information concerning a specific
state, please ask for clarification.