American Bar Association
Committee on Legal Opinions in Real Estate Transactions

Committee on Legal Opinions in Real Estate Transactions


The mission of this Committee is to provide support and guidance for lawyers who render third party legal opinions in real estate finance transactions and other transactions involving real estate collateral and for lawyers who represent clients that receive such legal opinions. This Committee is involved with all aspects of legal opinions in real estate transactions. The Committee, on its own and in conjunction with other committees and groups, prepares reports, presents educational programs, and monitors cases and other developments in order to work toward consistent opinion practice throughout the country.

Projects and Programs

The Committee's projects are designed to assist the real estate bar in opinion practice. The Committee, in conjunction with Attorneys' Opinions Committee of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and the Legal Opinions Committee of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA), published the Real Estate Finance Opinion Report of 2012. A copy of the Report is posted below on this page under Current Project and Publications.

The Committee is now working on a project with ACREL and ACMA on local counsel opinions. Please submit any thoughts that you may have on this subject to Ed Levin at

We have a subcommittee on opinions to governmental agencies and entities, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you are interested in participating on this subcommittee please contact Charlie Menges at or Barry Hunter at

The Committee presented a CLE program at the RPTE Spring Symposia in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2015 and an eCLE webinar version of the program on July 15, 2015, entitled "Risky Business: Who Gets Sued Over Opinion Letters and How Can You Reduce Your Chances of Being Next?" A copy of the materials from the program is posted below.

Previously, the Committee worked with the ACREL Attorneys' Opinions Committee to prepare several publications, links to all of which are available on this page. These include (a) the Report on Adaptation of the Legal Opinion Accord of the Section of Business Law of the American Bar Association for Real Estate Secured Transactions, (b) the Inclusive Real Estate Secured Transaction Opinion, and (c) the Real Estate Opinion Letter Guidelines. Another project of the Committee, on which the Committee also collaborated with the ACREL Attorneys' Opinions Committee, was to respond to, and to generate changes in, a proposed Statement on the Role of Customary Practice in the Preparation and Understanding of Third-Party Legal Opinions. At the conclusion of the project our Committee approved the Customary Practice Statement. (A copy of the approved form of the Customary Practice Statement may be found by following the links on this web page.)

The committee will hold a telephonic meeting on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET. For call-in information and the topics to be discussed at the meeting, please see the agenda posted below.

Opinion Matters, Spring 2016, Volume 1, Number
The Newsletter of the Committee on Legal Opinions in Real Estate Transactions

  • From the Chair
  • Future Meetings and CLE
  • Summary of Recent Listserve Activity
  • Coming Next: Local Counsel Opinion Letters in Real Estate Finance Transactions
  • Other Opinion Activity Working Group on Legal Opinions
  • Genuineness of Signature
  • Rating Agencies: Access Not Reliance
  • No Violation of Law Opinion - A Local Counsel Perspective in a Real Estate Finance Transaction
  • Note from the Editor
  • Annex A, Spring Symposium Program, Local Counsel Opinion Letters in Real Estate Finance Transactions

Subcommittee on Opinions to Federal Agencies  (click [+] for listing)

 Sub Committees

LISTSERV Communication

In order to send a message to the listserve, send the message as an email to the address below. You must be a member of the Committee to use the listserve.

In order to access the listserve archive, please click here. Please note that you will need to create a new password, separate from your regular ABA password, in order to use this archive.




Menges, Charles


Kochanski, David

Committee Roster  

Modified by Adam Bielawski on February 6, 2017

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