Inquiry: A lending institution lends money secured by deeds of trust on real estate and advises all borrowers that it will accept title certificates only from a single specified lawyer. This is the uniform practice of the lending institution. It has continued for a long time, and the lawyer specified by the lending institution is aware of the practice. The borrower pays the lawyer's fee. Is it ethical for the lawyer to accept employment under the facts stated?
Opinion: A lawyer is not ethically prohibited from accepting employment as the result of advice and recommendation from friends, relatives, business associates, or satisfied clients (EC 2-8), but where a lending institution over an extended period of time advises all borrowers that it will accept title certificates only from a specified lawyer, when other qualified lawyers are readily available, and the lawyer knows of this practice, it is unethical for him to accept employment as a result of such requirement by the lender. DR 2-103(D).