Borrower's Lawyer Rendering Opinion to Lender
Opinion rules that the borrower's lawyer may render a legal opinion to the lender.
Editor's Note: This opinion was originally published as RPC 101 (Revised).
RPC 121 supersedes RPC 101.
Lawyer A represents a borrower in negotiating a loan from a bank. The bank has a policy of requiring that counsel for its borrower render to it (the bank) a legal opinion that the loan in question and the terms of the loan do not violate any laws including, without limitation, any usury laws or similar laws relating to the charging of interest.
May Lawyer A ethically render such an opinion to the bank?
Yes, Lawyer A may ethically render an opinion to the bank. While it appears that the interest of the bank in closing the loan only when it can be assured that the transaction does not in any way offend technical banking regulations might possibly conflict with the borrower's desire to close regardless of any such technicalities, such conflict would not necessarily be disqualifying. In a commercial transaction of this sort where parties are dealing at arms length, a lawyer could reasonably conclude that her representation of neither interest would be adversely affected and, having drawn that conclusion, could proceed after fully disclosing the risks to the bank and to the borrower and obtaining the consent of both. Rule 5.1(a).