Bar Rules

Advisory Opinion 31

Ethics & Discipline / Advisory Opinions / Formal Advisory Opinions / Advisory Opinion 31

Click here for an explanation regarding the history and the binding authority of this opinion.

State Disciplinary Board
Advisory Opinion No. 31
November 19, 1982

Dual Occupations: Ethical considerations applicable to a Lawyer who is engaged both in the practice of law and another profession or business.

Pursuant to the provisions of Rule 4-223 of the Rules and Regulations for the Organization and the Government of the State Bar of Georgia (219 Ga. 873, as amended), the State Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of Georgia, after a proper request for such, renders its opinion concerning the proper interpretation of the Code of Professional Responsibility of the State Bar of Georgia.

Questions presented:

(1) Should a Georgia attorney, also possessing a Georgia real estate salesperson's license, who arranges a real estate transaction in his or her capacity as a real estate salesperson decline to perform any title work or other legal work in order to avoid an appearance of professional impropriety?

(2) If, in the course of representing a client in an unrelated legal matter, the client requests the attorney (also possessing a real estate salesperson's license) to locate a buyer or seller for the client's real estate, is it proper for the attorney to accept?

The American Bar Association stated in Formal Opinion No. 328, June 1972, that it is not necessarily improper for a lawyer simultaneously to hold himself out as a lawyer and as a member of another profession or business. However, the American Bar Association concluded that a lawyer that is engaged in the practice of law and another profession which is closely related to law, must govern his conduct according to the professional standards of the legal profession while engaged in the non-legal profession or business.

Following the rationale of the American Bar Association, it is the opinion of the State Disciplinary Board that a Georgia attorney who is also engaged in the real estate business should conform his behavior to the standards of conduct of the State Bar of Georgia while engaged in both professions. Accordingly, it would not be improper for the attorney to perform the work requested in both of your inquiries provided the attorney complies with the provisions of DR 2-103, DR 2-104, and DR 2-105 of the Georgia Code of Professional Responsibility (Standards 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 of Rule 4-102 of the Georgia Bar Rules).

When an attorney, who is actively practicing law in the State of Georgia, is also engaged in a second profession or business closely related to the practice of law, all of the provisions of the Georgia Code of Professional Responsibility are applicable to the lawyer's conduct in both professions.

GO TO Advisory Opinion 30
GO TO Advisory Opinion 35
Return to handbook browser.