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Relationships Between Brokers and Lawyers

May 15, 2018
Thomas D. Kearns
New York Real Estate Journal

New York Real Estate Journal recently published an article written by Olshan Real Estate partner Thomas Kearns entitled “Relationships Between Brokers and Lawyers.” Rooted in the conviction that “a good broker can be the lawyer’s best friend and vice versa,” the article offers advice on how best to mitigate the disputes that can arise between brokers and lawyers. To lawyers, Mr. Kearns recommends making use of a good broker’s knowledge of the market, neighborhoods, and the property in question: “ask the broker for help with issues as the draft deal documents are circulated. Have you seen this or that issue? How has it been compromised?” He also encourages attorneys to adhere to promised delivery dates of complex documents and, “to the extent permitted by your ethical standards, keep the broker in the loop for calls and meetings; give the broker copies of the revised drafts so he or she can keep track of the deal.” To brokers, Mr. Kearns advises they “learn about the details—if the building has a quirky HVAC system, investigate the details and suggest compromises, or better yet, work with the parties and their experts to resolve the issue—the lawyer will be forever grateful.” Moreover, he urges brokers, "Before preparing a term sheet for the deal, discuss potential issues with the lawyer. Encourage the client to engage the lawyer early in the process to address issues and the specific language of any unusual terms of the deal sheet. Addressing issues up front will save everyone time and expense.” Above all, Mr. Kearns reminds both lawyers and brokers, the client always comes first: “By understanding and respecting each other’s roles and obligations, there is no reason why brokers and lawyers can’t effectively work together for the benefit of the client.”    


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