In former years, an attorney was paid a fee "not as a salary or hire but as a mere gratuity which a counselor cannot demand without doing wrong to his reputation." These customs are long since past. The English rule that a counselor or barrister has no right to charge for his services and that he cannot enforce compensation no longer prevails in Ohio, for example, and in other states. Today, in most jurisdictions, an attorney's right to payment for services rendered is protected by statute. As of the end of 1955, thirty-one states had some form of an attorney's lien statute. In the rest, including Ohio, there is an absence of a general attorney's lien statute, though some liens are provided for in some particular situations.
Arthur F. Lustig, Attorney's Liens, 7 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 502 (1958)