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Is it unethical for a Lawyer to be doing the closing due diligence

work and approving an investment...
Is it unethical for a Lawyer to be doing the closing due diligence work and approving an investment good to close between a Buyer and Seller for a broker. Then turning around and alos for that same broker allow them to have a POA for the Buyer and then that same Lawyer is hired to bring the Seller she approved to close back into compliance and file a breach of contract law suite. Simply stated she makes money to close then turns around and the broker who sold it then runs the law suit and the same lawyer makes money on the bad deal?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
6/21/2013
CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,244
Experience: Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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William B. Esq. :

Dear Customer, Thank you for choosing Just Answer. I would like to assist you with your legal matter today.

William B. Esq. :

The question you ask does raise a high question for legal malpractice and legal ethics. The problem is not so much one of the specific tasks that the attorney is doing, but rather the parties that the attorney is representing.

William B. Esq. :

While it is not uncommon for an attorney to perform legal work for two parties in a real estate closing, the attorney is required to disclose the fact that they can only represent one side, and that the work being done to complete the transaction for both parties is being done with a waiver of the conflict of interest.

William B. Esq. :

The conflict of interest waiver in a situation such as that has to include not just the fact that there is a conflict, but also the specific issues, facts, or legal claims that may be in conflict, and what compromises are being made. (This is often overlooked).

William B. Esq. :

The second issue you raise is "subsequent representation" where a party that has an earlier conflict, now wants to sue the other party. To represent one client against a former client, the attorney may only do so if there is no information that was gained from the former client during that representation. This is very broad. It would be difficult to have a situation where two parties could use the same attorney in a contract (where both parties referred to the same attorney as "their" lawyer) then turn around and have one party sue the other using that attorney over the same contract.

Customer:

an additional fact here is this company that is the contract servicing for the entire investment is under investigation for securities violation and fraud in one state and she is still closing cases for this company in another state.

William B. Esq. :

That would not directly affect the single cause of action. (You cannot generally bring in that type of evidence into a case where the securities violation and the other issues constituting fraud are not at issue - for example if the attorney was stealing money from their neighbor, or the company they worked for was in trouble with some agency), but it would raise significant flags for investigation - and may make it worthwhile in considering strategy to pursue remedies (usually more quickly).

Customer:

Basically she knows this is a problem and aproves these for closings anyway. She also secures for the Broker a Hold harmless for the situation when they engage the Buyer in th ePOA cover up situation. Giving the Broker secured hold harmless and then giving the broker a POA to direct the Buyers law suit away from everyone.

William B. Esq. :

This type of practice is unusual, and creates an environment where most of these contracts can be disputed (perhaps not the actual sales themselves, but the liability for them and other issues). Keep in mind, I don't have all the facts, and this sounds as if a significant investigation is in order to get a better handle on what type of claims are possible. From an individual plaintiff's perspective, the legal malpractice angle certainly exists, I am certain there are others.

Customer:

I ask these things becasue I do remediation services and this lawyer was my lawyer and stole my business. I do not work for anyone but the Buyer. I do not close cases and I do not let the Broker be a POA. I let the Buyer be engaged and direct their own Law suit. So I also believe she is being unethical for also taking her clients business.

Customer:

Are you available to give all the facts and if so, how and what are those costs?

William B. Esq. :

Unfortunately, unethical is different from illegal. While the two have the same distaste, you cannot recover from the first. However, while it is a long shot, if there is illegal conduct, you may have a potential shot at a tort called "intentional interference with business relationships"

William B. Esq. :

Unfortunately, this website is not set up for me to review all of your facts, I can only provide you with general legal information. Reviewing your specific facts, and providing legal advice and instruction is the practice of law, and I cannot do that over this forum (my own legal malpractice concerns). But you can find an attorney locally through the SC State Bar website, Martindale Hubble, or AVVO. Look for a civil litigation attorney for this type of matter.

Customer:

Ok, do you have anymore to add?

William B. Esq. :

I would approach this as a business transaction - if your losses in business are so great that it is worth sitting down with an attorney for an hour or two of their time to discuss your options, it is probably a good investment. They can help you review your case and get a strategy together in the event you want to pursue it - you have no obligation to retain an attorney if you meet with one. If you do have a money claim and the potential defendant is facing significant liability already, you generally want to be first in line with your judgment.

Customer:

I appreciate your very clear concise comments. Have a good evening. I will use this service again so long as I don't incur some crazy undisclosed fee. Thanks

CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
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Satisfied Customers: 10,244
Experience: Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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