Same attorney representing seller and buyer for a contract?

3 Replies

Can seller's attorney draft a contract for me (the buyer), do title search etc..., for a normal attorney fees from my side? Or must I have my own attorney?  The seller's attorney says he can represent both parties. Is that normal? No conflict of interests? The property and attorney are in NC, I'm in NY. 

Thanks. 

I was curious about your question and did some research. Here's what one online source (source link listed below) stated: 

"In most circumstances, it is unethical for an attorney to represent two parties to a transaction or dispute. That's because the lawyer has a legal obligation to protect his or her client's interests, and it's difficult-if not impossible-to do that when you're representing two parties whose interests are in conflict. There are, however, limited circumstances when a real estate attorney can represent both the seller of a property and the buyer.

Conflicts of Interest

According to the legal profession's Model Rules of Professional Conduct:

"[A] lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if: (1) the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or (2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer."

The rules, however, go on to say:

"[A] lawyer may represent a client if: (1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client; (2) the representation is not prohibited by law; (3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal; and (4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.""

Source: http://www.lawyerlocator.com/residential-real-esta...

Most real estate transactions are easy and I’m sure would rarely be a conflict of interest.

BUT... what if this one gets complicated? Who knows what might happen.

Since you’re presumably paying for a lawyer, I’d go find my own and have peace of mind that he is looking out for my best interests only.

Yeah, this is strange. Actually another lawyer told be that it Ok for the "first" lawyer to represent both parties. But I assume that it's even "more OK" to have my own lawyer... Thanks!

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