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95 N.J.L.J. 568
June 26, 1975
COMMITTEE ON THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW
Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court
Preparation of New Jersey Deed
Is a member of the bar of a foreign state, not a member of the
bar of New Jersey, guilty of the unlawful practice of law in New
Jersey if he draws a deed to convey real estate in the State of New
Jersey? This question frames the issue for our present
There is no doubt that the "practice of law embraces the act
of conveyancing." Cape May County Bar Association v. Ludlam, 45
N.J. 121, 124, (1965). See Opinion 11, 95 N.J.L.J. 1345 (1972) of
"The drawing of legal instruments ... for others
... is clearly within the traditional definition of
the practice of law." New Jersey State Bar v.
Northern N.J. Mortgage Associates, 32 N.J. 430, 444
(1956). (See Opinion 5, 94 N.J.L.J. 303 (1975) of
This Committee has also held in its Opinion 1, 91 N.J.L.J. 656
(1968) that a member of the bar of a foreign state, not a member of
the bar of New Jersey, may not represent a resident of this state
in a transaction involving the purchase of real estate in New
Jersey, citing, in addition to the two cases noted above, Appell v.
Reiner, 43 N.J. 313 (1964).
This Committee has also held in Opinion 7, 94 N.J.L.J. 1077
"The fact that an attorney is admitted to practice
in another state does not give him any right
whatever to practice law in the State unless he
becomes a member of the New Jersey Bar or is
otherwise authorized to practice by our Supreme
Court R. 1:21 ..."
Further, the fact that the foreign attorney may never set foot
within this jurisdiction is immaterial for the clear intent of his
act in the preparation of a deed to convey real estate in New
Jersey is to affect real property, the parties and their respective
rights and duties as governed by the laws of the State of New
Jersey. The touchstone of all decisions governing the unauthorized
practice of law is the public interest. Auerbacher v. Wood, 142
N.J. Eq. 484, 486 (E. & A. 1948).
The laws of New Jersey governing real estate often differ
materially from the laws of foreign states. For example, the law
of New Jersey as to dower and curtesy is quite different from that
of many states, and in this important area, it is doubtful whether
the foreign attorney has the necessary skill and knowledge to
efficiently serve his client. If the foreign attorney believes
there is special reason why he should prepare a deed affecting New
Jersey real property, the proper procedure for him to follow is to
forward the deed as prepared by him to a New Jersey attorney to
approve its conformity with New Jersey law. By so doing, the
public interest is fully served.
Therefore, we conclude that a member of the bar of a foreign
state, not a member of the bar of New Jersey, is guilty of the
unlawful practice of law in New Jersey, if he draws a deed to
convey real estate situate in the State of New Jersey.
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