May an attorney who is also licensed as a real estate broker act in both capacities on behalf of a client in connection with the purchase of real property in California? The California State Bar said “yes” in a State Bar Ethics Opinion in 1982 (Formal Opinion No. 1982-69). Professional responsibility is not taken lightly by the California State Bar. In this interesting opinion, the Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct discusses the issues of an attorney’s duty of confidentiality, duty of loyalty, fee arrangements and advertising.
The Opinion establishes and demands a high level of ethical standards for a California attorney carrying out the dual role of attorney-broker.