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Lending Money to a Client

Adopted: January 12, 1990

Opinion rules that a lawyer may not lend money to a client who is represented in pending or contemplated litigation except to finance costs of litigation.


Under what circumstances, if any, may a lawyer lend money to a client for whom the lawyer is handling a personal injury claim?


Rule 5.3(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct generally prohibits lawyers advancing or guaranteeing financial assistance to a client while representing the client in connection with contemplated or pending litigation. There is one narrow exception to the rule which permits a lawyer to "advance or guarantee the expenses of litigation, including court costs, expenses of investigation, expenses of medical examination and costs of obtaining and presenting evidence, provided the client remains ultimately liable for such expenses."

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