News and Information
June 18, 2007

VSB’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics Seeking Public Comment on Legal Ethics Opinion 1840

RICHMOND - Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10(c)(iii) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee???) is seeking public comment on proposed advisory Legal Ethics Opinion 1840; Can a Lawyer Representing a Settlement Company Facilitate That Company’s Practice of Re-deeding Property Through a Relocation Intermediary Without Proper Recordation.

This proposed opinion generally addresses whether a lawyer representing a settlement company can facilitate that company’s practice of re-deeding property through a relocation intermediary without proper recordation? The relocation company is acting as the contract seller in purchasing real estate on behalf of their client’s employees who have been transferred and agrees to purchase the employee’s real estate. The seller executes an original deed to the relocation company. The relocation company does not record the original deed and enters into contract to sell property. The relocation company then drafts and substitutes a new front page for the deed, advising the settlement agent that the proceeds are to be made payable to the relocation company, not the grantor of the deed. The lawyer realizes that the relocation company should have recorded the original deed and paid applicable fees. Can the lawyer facilitate the relocation company’s practice of not recording the first deed but a fraudulent constructed second deed and preparing legal documentation that does not accurately reflect the true chain of title to the real estate?

In this proposed opinion, the Committee concluded that this clearly involves fraud and is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Inspection and Comment

The proposed advisory opinion may be inspected at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies of the proposed advisory opinion can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557, or can be found at the Virginia State Bars Web Page at www.vsb.org. Any individual, business or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of, or in opposition to, the proposed advisory opinion by filing ten copies with Thomas A. Edmonds, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than September 24, 2007.

Updated: Jun 18, 2007