Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 15. Judicial
Agency 5. Virginia State Bar
Chapter 80. Attorney Real Estate Settlement Agents Regulations

15VAC5-80-40. Unauthorized practice of law guidelines; investigation of complaints.

The Bar will issue guidelines in consultation with the SCC and the board to assist settlement agents in avoiding and preventing the unauthorized practice of law in connection with the furnishing of escrow, closing, or settlement services. In conformity with Chapter 27.3 (§ 55-525.16 et seq.) of Title 55 of the Code of Virginia, the rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, and the Bar's unauthorized practice of law opinions, these guidelines will delineate activities that can and cannot be carried out by registered nonattorney settlement agents in conducting settlements. The guidelines will be revised from time to time as necessary.

The guidelines will be available on the Bar's website and provided by the appropriate licensing authority to each registered settlement agent at the time of initial registration and at each reregistration. The guidelines will also be furnished to the SCC, the board, and all other state and federal agencies that regulate financial institutions, as well as to members of the general public upon request. The guidelines may be photocopied as necessary.

The Bar will continue to receive and investigate unauthorized practice of law complaints in the real estate settlement area, as well as in other fields, under its unauthorized practice of law rules and procedures.

If the Bar receives complaints against nonattorney settlement agents that do not allege the unauthorized practice of law, it will refer the complaints to the appropriate licensing authority that has jurisdiction over the subject of the complaint. If the complaint involves an attorney settlement agent's noncompliance with 15VAC5-80-30, the Bar will conduct an informal investigation. If the Bar believes a violation has occurred, it will notify the attorney settlement agent in writing. If the apparent violation is not rectified within 30 days, the Bar will investigate the alleged violations pursuant to 15VAC5-80-50 D.

Statutory Authority

§ 55-525.30 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 20, eff. May 24, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 17, eff. March 25, 2016.

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