FLORIDA BAR ETHICS OPINION
June 3, 1966
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
It is proper for an attorney to agree with a client engaged in the mortgage loan business to
conduct all closings for the client at a fixed monthly compensation.
Chairman Kittleson stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar has requested the Committee’s advice on
circumstances which we understand to be as follows. One of the lawyer’s regular
clients is a company whose business is making mortgage loans, as a direct lender
and not as a broker. Presently, legal services to the lender include the inspection
and processing of the loan documents, although the actual closings are handled by
various other lawyers. The client now desires that the lawyer handle all closings
for a fixed monthly compensation, and the amount will not be based upon the
number of closings. The closings will be held in the company’s office. The lawyer
will not receive directly or indirectly any portion of the out-of-pocket closing
costs or disbursements charged to the borrower. Although he may arrange for
appropriate mortgagee title insurance, this will result in no rebate of any kind to
him or to his client from amounts charged to the borrower for title insurance. The
Committee’s advice is sought on the ethical propriety of participation in this
The Committee sees no ethical problem in the circumstances set forth above. Canon 9
provides that an ethical lawyer must avoid everything that may tend to mislead a party not
represented by counsel, and he should not undertake to advise him as to the law. A prudent
closing attorney will make it clear that he does not represent the borrower but only the lender.