Continuing Legal Education

TELESEMINAR: Attorney Ethics in Real Estate Practice – A National Perspective

July 30, 2013
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1.00 MCLE hours, including 1.00 Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours (PMCLE credit subject to approval)


Real estate transactions are rife with significant ethics issues. In the normal course of their practices, over time real estate attorneys represent developers, lenders, investors, contractors and others involved in complex deals that can easily give rise to conflicts of interest. There is also the ethical challenge of effectively advocating for a client and pushing a deal toward a closing without engaging in improper ex parte communications with non-attorneys on the other side of a transaction or with unrepresented parties. The inadvertent disclosure of confidential information in what can often be an industry where everyone knows everyone else is not uncommon. These and other ethical issues are daily concerns for real estate attorneys. This program will provide you with a framework of ethical issues for real estate lawyers and discuss best practices for avoiding ethical complaint and liability.


  • Conflicts of interest in representing investors, developers, lenders and others in real estate transactions
  • Representations of real estate entrepreneurs and their entities
  • Ex parte communications with non-attorney parties in real estate transactions and with unrepresented parties
  • Inadvertent disclosure of confidential deal terms
  • Imputation of confidential knowledge of a deal terms among lawyers of a firm
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Program Speakers:
Thomas E. Spahn
, McGuireWoods, LLP, Virginia
William Freivogel, Freivogel Ethics Consulting, Illinois

*Professional Responsibility MCLE credit subject to approval

Thomas E. Spahn is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a broad complex commercial, business and securities litigation practice. He also has a substantial practice advising businesses on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections.  For more than 20 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation.  Mr. Spahn has served as member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

William Freivogel is the principal of Freivogel Ethics Consulting and is an independent consultant to law firms on ethics and risk management.  He was a trial lawyer for 22 years and has practiced in the areas of legal ethics and lawyer malpractice for 20 years.  He is chair of the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct. and past chair of the ABA Business Law Section Committee on Professional Responsibility.  He maintains the Web site “Freivogel on Conflicts” at  Mr. Freivogel is a graduate of the University of Illinois (Champaign), where he received his B.S. and LL.B.