Lizza quoted on debt collection practices

Lizza quoted on debt collection practices
Lawyer Must Pass On Debt’s Validity Before Collecting
June 4, 2012
New Jersey Law Journal

Charles M. Lizza, vice chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice, was quoted in this New Jersey Law Journal story about the longstanding ban on New Jersey lawyers sending debt-collection letters without evaluating the underlying cases. In a May 30 joint opinion, the state Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics (ACPE) and Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law (CUPL) decided there is no need to modify past rulings that require lawyers to exercise professional judgment and not to delegate it to nonlawyers. In the joint opinion, the committees endorsed American Bar Association Informal Ethics Opinion 1368 (1976), which said a lawyer could not lend his name to collection letters in which only a nonlawyer certified that debts are "justly due."

Charlie, who is the CUPL Chairman, said, "This opinion follows an extensive study of debt collection practices in the state. Exercising independent professional judgment is a fundamental and indispensable element of the practice of law. The exercise of that judgment cannot be delegated to a nonattorney."