Although maintenance in its simple form and even champerty is looked upon by the courts with less disfavor than formerly, schemes to promote litigation for the benefit of the promoter rather than for the benefit of the litigant are regarded as contrary to public policy, and will not be enforced. Contracts of "ambulance chasers" and others who make for themselves a business or profit by promoting litigation are unenforceable.16 It is equally unlawful to bargain for reward for securing an attorney.17 But where a person is pecuniarily interested in the enforcement of a right of action belonging wholly or partly to another, he may lawfully undertake to pay the expenses of litigation and to share in the recovery.18 No doubt relationship
16 Alpere v. Hunt, 86 Gal. 78, 24 Pac. 846, 9 L. R. A. 483, 21 Am. St. 17; Chreste v. Louisville Ry. Co., 167 Ky. 75, 180 S. W. 49, L. R. A. 1917 B. 1123, Ann. Gas. 1917 G. 867; Holland v. Sheehan, 108 Minn. 362, 122 N. W. 1, 23 L. R. A. (N. S.) 510; Anker v. Chicago Ac. R. Co., 140 Minn. 63, 167 N. W. 278; Langdon v. Conlin, 67 Neb. 243, 93 N. W. 389, 60 L. R. A. 429, 108 Am. St. 543; In re Welch, 156 N. Y. App. Div. 470, 141 N. Y. S. 381 (statutory) Moore v. Hyde, 39 S. Dak. 196, 163 N. W. 707, 708; Ford v. Mun-roe (Tex. Civ. App.), 144 S. W. 349. A scheme of an attorney to work up a large number of cases against a railroad company for its failure to fence, and to take in payment for services a share of the proceeds of the litigation was held illegal in Gammons v. Johnson, 76 Minn. 76, 78 N. W. 1035, and Gammons v. Gulbranson, 78 Minn. 21, 80 N. W. 779, though a similar agreement with a single litigant would not have been held champertous. See also Hirschbach v. Ketchum, 5 N. Y. App. Div. 324, 39 N. Y. S. 291. Cf. Metropolitan Ins. Go. v. Fuller, 61 Conn. 252,23 Atl. 193,29 Am. St. Rep. 196; Vocke v. Peters, 58 111. App. 338; Wheeler v. Harrison, 94 Md. 147, 50
Atl. 523; Ellis v. Frawley, 165 Wis. 381, 161 N. W. 364.
17 Moore v. Hyde, 39 S. Dak. 196, 163 N. W. 707, 708. "The attorneys employed could not, without violating professional ethics and public policy, have contracted to pay plaintiff for his services in securing defendant as their client. . . . No more can plaintiff recover from defendant for services in bringing an attorney to him. The one case is as contrary to good morals and public policy as the other. The alleged contract is one to pay for the services of an intermeddler in litigation. It savors of the business of brokerage in the relation of attorney and client. It detracts from the essential dignity of the profession. It is the capitalisation of the influence of a layman over a lawyer. The sanctioning of such a contract would tend to commercialise the practice of law and to make legitimate the business of furnishing lawyers to clients."
18 Mexican Nat. etc. Go. v. Frank, 154 Fed. 217; Davis v. A. H. Reid Ac. Co., 195 Fed. 80, 115 C. C. A. 112; Coffman v. Louisville Ac. R., 184 Ala. 474, 63 So. 527; Hotmire v. O'Brien, 44 Ind. App. 694, 90 N. E. 33; Breeden v. Frankfort Ac. Ins. Go., 220 Mo. 327, justifies supporting the expense of litigation,19 but whether it affords support for a speculative bargain to share the proceeds, which would be unlawful except for the relationship, may be doubted.19a