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can an attorney in KY practicing law, close a realestate transaction…

Customer Question
can an attorney in KY...
can an attorney in KY practicing law, close a realestate transaction than turn around and give legal advice or act as an expert witness on behalf of one the parties?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Legal
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6/24/2010
Lawyer: LawTalk, Attorney replied 8 years ago
LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37,876
Experience: I am a practicing attorney with more than 3 decades of experience in the legal field.
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Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

The closing of a real estate transaction is not the sort of legal service in which either party shares any confidential information with the attorney. It is a sterile proceeding where at most the attorney will explain to one or both parties in the closing the meaning of certain paragraphs in the closing papers. Additionally, when advise or opinions are give in front of both parties to the sale, there is not attorney client privilege.

Under that circumstance, there would be no impediment to the attorney to, at a later time, accept employment from one of the parties, or to act as an expert witness, or a percipient witness for that matter. There would not likely be any conflict of interest or possibility of disclosure of information protected under the attorney client privilege.

On the other hand, if the attorney were used for more than just the closing paperwork----if one party paid the attorney to counsel them on the ins and outs of the mortgage they were considering, sharing private financial information with that attorney---well, that would be an entirely different matter and in that circumstance if the attorney were to be retained by the opposing side after the close of escrow, it would be appropriate to demand that the attorney step down from that representation.

I wish you the best in 2010.

Please don’t forget that I only receive credit for having helped you when you click on the Accept Button located at my Answer.

Best regards,

Doug

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

This doesn't really answer my question. I had a closing on a piece of realestate. The closing attorney met with the sellers at a restaurant after the closing and gave them some bad legal advice which in turn had them deny my request for an extension. This forced me to initiate a lawsuit against them. According to Ky Bar Associations website an attorney cannot give legal advice to a not represented person. Furthermore, he now is listed as an expert witness for the defense in this lawsuit.

Thanks

Sam

Lawyer: LawTalk, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Good morning Sam,

Your initial, general question was only answerable via a general answer. Over that I have little control. I will address your more specific issue now.

A licensed attorney in KY may give advice to anyone they choose. By giving legal advice they do however establish an attorney client relationship with that party as to that advice given.

Presuming your closing was typical, and as I explained in my first Answer, you did not create an attorney client relationship with the closing attorney, and it was perfectly OK for the attorney to give legal advice later to the other party. They may also call him as an expert witness---presuming that he can be qualified as such prior to his testimony on the witness stand.

Nothing you have shared with me leads me to believe that the attorney has acted unethically. You are however within your right to argue to the trial judge that he ought not be allowed to act as an expert witness based on your argument that by his handling your closing he now has a conflict of interest----but I have to say that I don't think this argument will be successful--I'm sorry.

I wish you the best.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not entirely favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so. I do work diligently to provide you with the correct Answer under the law, and because I have no control over what the law is, I ask you not to hold that against me. It has been my pleasure to assist you, and would be greatly appreciated if you would click the green Accept icon so that I can receive credit for having answered your Question. Thank you in advance.

Best regards,

Doug

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