Don’t Disclose Deal Details Before Checking for Conflicts of Interest

Before retaining a real estate attorney for a new deal, don’t spend time and money disclosing the deal’s details to her before you are sure that no conflict of interest exists that could prevent her from fairly representing your interests. This applies whether the attorney is new to you or one with whom you have worked in the past.

If you discover a conflict of interest after you have hired the attorney, you might have to change attorneys or law firms. Worse yet, you could get stuck with a bill for her legal services incurred up to the date that the conflict was discovered.

Protect yourself by giving the attorney the names of all of the people and/or business entities that are or may become involved in the matter. Do this as early as possible during your initial conversation with the attorney. Then request that the attorney promptly check her and her firm’s records to see whether she or her firm currently represents those people or entities in any other matters. If no conflicts of interest exist, you can talk about the deal’s details with the attorney.