Co-author, Colorado Lawyer, January 2018
Humpty Dumpty would have been a master at the art of issuing legal opinions. Terms such as “enforceable in accordance with its terms,” “practical realization,” “knowledge,” or “applicable law” would have been perfect for him. What do the words in an opinion mean? Lawyers giving and receiving legal opinions often struggle with the same issue. James Fuld was an early pioneer in searching for an answer to this question. In his seminal article published nearly 45 years ago, he noted the dearth of authority on the subject.
What started out as a trickle with Fuld’s article has now turned into a flood. In recent years, there have been numerous articles by various committees of business lawyers and real estate lawyers all attempting to explain and define what Humpty Dumpty might have meant if he had issued a legal opinion. Many bar associations have published reports discussing legal opinions in the context of local custom and practice. The issue was first addressed in Colorado in 1989 and 1990 in a two-part report by a Special Committee of the CBA Real Estate Law and Titles Section entitled: “A Proposal on Opinion Letters in Colorado Real Estate Mortgage Loan Transactions.” Since that time, the topic has been revisited by Colorado attorneys in several articles.
Click on the above PDF to read the entire article.