NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics
Attorney as Real Estate Broker
Free Legal Service
Background: The inquiring attorney asked whether a lawyer may serve as a real estate broker in a transaction, and be paid for that service, while also offering free legal services on contract and other legal matters in the same transaction with the disclosure that the client is free to choose to retain a separate attorney to represent the client in the transaction.
Opinion: The committee concluded that a lawyer may not offer free legal services as an add-on bonus to a real estate transaction in which the lawyer is acting as a broker, even if the lawyer advises the party that the party may retain separate counsel.