Opinion: 1736
Year Issued: 1997
RPC(s): RPC 1.8(e)
Subject: Hold harmless agreement pledging lawyer's credit for client's non-litigation expenses

I have been instructed by the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee to respond to your inquiry regarding the ethical propriety of a plaintiff's attorney signing a hold harmless agreement as a condition of settlement as follows: It is a violation of RPC 1.8(e) for an attorney to sign a hold harmless agreement to repay the client's non-litigation expenses which pledges the attorney's credit, and the attorney should convey to the client that the attorney will not be signing such an agreement..

Advisory Opinions are provided for the education of the Bar and reflect the opinion of the Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) or its predecessor, the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee. Advisory Opinions issued by the CPE are distinguished from earlier RPC Committee opinions by a numbering format which includes the year followed by a sequential number. Advisory Opinions are provided pursuant to the authorization granted by the Board of Governors, but are not individually approved by the Board and do not reflect the official position of the Bar association. Laws other than the Washington State Rules of Professional Conduct may apply to the inquiry. The Committee's answer does not include or opine about any other applicable law other than the meaning of the Rules of Professional Conduct.