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OBA Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 141

Adopted November 26, 1937

The Board of Governors is in receipt of the following request for an opinion:

"A member of the bar testifies under oath that he represents some eight or ten persons, who are engaged in the short time loan business, and who each of them have offices in the city of ........... He further testifies that he is paid a monthly retainer by each of these companies and that he has been so employed, and so paid for more than six years. These "companies" are persons who are admittedly engaged in the short time loan business, and their known and admitted rate of interest is twenty (20) per cent per month; five dollars ($5.00) per month interest on twenty-five dollars ($25.00) loan."

In response:

The situation set forth is fully covered by Advisory Opinion No. 5 (Vol. 1, Advisory Opinions, page 17), and by Advisory Opinion No. 14 (Vol. 1, Advisory Opinions, page 29). The conclusion of Advisory Opinion No. 5 is as follows:

"It is the opinion of the Board of Governors that a business association with an habitual violator of the usury laws of the state is not to be countenanced any more than such association with any other habitual violator of the law."

Advisory Opinion No. 14 concludes with the following quotation from Advisory Opinion No. 5:

"A business association by a member of the State Bar of Oklahoma with a loan shark, that is, one whose course of business conduct is contrary to the usury statutes of this state, is unbecoming a member of the State Bar and tends to bring the profession into disrepute."