Ethics Committee Formal Opinion #1989-90/12

Attorney/Realtor Related Questions

March 8, 1990


A member of the Bar who is non-practicing, whether on active or inactive status, and is engaged full-time and exclusively in the real estate business is not exposed to the ethical pitfalls set out in the NH Op 1987-8/2, entitled “Dual Practice:  Attorney as a Realtor.”

A non-practicing Bar member is still fully subject to those Rules of Professional Conduct that apply at all times to attorneys in any capacity, e.g., Rules 1.6 (a), 1.9 (b), 8.3, and 8.4, especially 8.4 (c).

A lawyer cannot conduct a real estate brokerage business, as commonly practiced, out of the lawyer’s law office consistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct, but a non-practicing lawyer may engage full-time and exclusively in the active real estate business without violating the Rules.  (Rule 1.5; 1.6; 1.6(a); 1.8; 1.9(b); 2.1; 4.2; 4.3; 5.4(a); 7.2; 7.3(c); 8.3; 8.4; and 8.4(c)).


  1. Does NH Op 1987-8/2, “Dual Practice: Attorney as a Realtor” (December 15, 1987), particularly Section B, apply to a member of the Bar (holding active status in order to be able to maintain section memberships and fully participate in Bar affairs) who is employed full-time and exclusively as a real estate salesperson?
  2. To what extent do the Rules of Professional Conduct apply to a Bar member holding active status and engaged full-time and exclusively as a real estate salesperson?
  3. Would holding inactive status affect the outcome in questions 1 and 2 above?

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