Is it ethically proper for a New York lawyer, one of whose clients is a New Jersey corporation, to represent that corporation in a mortgage transaction involving a loan from a New Jersey bank to be secured by a mortgage on the corporation’s commercial property situated in New Jersey? The services would include passing upon all documents, attendance at the closing and the usual other services involved in mortgage matters, and would be rendered without the assistance of New Jersey counsel.
The relevant language in the Code of Professional Responsibility is found in Ethical Consideration 3-9 of Canon 3, which reads as follows:
“EC 3-9 Regulation of the practice of law is accomplished principally by the respective states. Authority to engage in the practice of law conferred in any jurisdiction is not per se a grant of the right to practice elsewhere, and it is improper for a lawyer to engage in practice where he is not permitted by law or by court order to do so. However, the demands of business and the mobility of our society pose distinct problems in the regulation of the practice of law by the states. In furtherance of the public interest, the legal profession should discourage regulation that unreasonably imposes territorial limitations upon the right of a lawyer to handle the legal affairs of his client or upon the opportunity of a client to obtain the services of a lawyer of his choice in all matters including the presentation of a contested matter in a tribunal before which the lawyer is not permanently admitted to practice.
Since, as Ethical Consideration 3-9 states, it is improper for a lawyer to engage in practice where he is not permitted by law or by court order to do so, it is incumbent upon the attorney to ascertain whether New Jersey law or the New Jersey courts permit the conduct he contemplates. See DR 3-101 (B), This Committee does not pass upon these questions, but if such conduct is not in violation of the law of New Jersey regulating the profession in that jurisdiction it is not unethical.
November 4, 1971