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Does Scope Include "client" Of A Legal Assignment ?

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ZZGAMAZZ

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Should the "Scope" of an assignment for a legal matter include the appraiser's perspective of whether the client of the assignment should be the law firm who refers its client to the appraiser, or the real property owner?

Comment: This thread does not wish to elicit posters' opinions about which of the two entities is the correct/dafault client of a legal assignment, which often has been debated without consensus being achieved.
 

J Grant

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Its to me at least a weird question. if the assignment purpose is to provide an unbiased market value opinion, then it should not matter who the client is as far as the SOW (scope of work)

If purpose of appraisal is to slant results to favor a party, which might fall under appraisal consulting, seems a different value type would need to be identified. Or maybe I am not understanding the question or reason behind it.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Scope has nothing to do with client but how can you have an agreed scope of work if you don't even know who is the client?
 

hastalavista

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Scope has nothing to do with client but how can you have an agreed scope of work if you don't even know who is the client?

I'll offer a reword on the above, but I suspect we agree.

Scope has a lot to do with the client. But in order to develop the appropriate SOW (as Terrel points out) you have to identify the client. The other key components that will direct the SOW development are intended users, intended use, definition of value, effective date, the type of subject and its relevant characteristics, and any additional assignment conditions.
 

hastalavista

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ZZ-

Like JGrant, I'm confused about the reason for the question?
Despite my confusion, the entity known as the client is well defined in the USPAP.
 

J Grant

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The last time I did any "legal matter work" was ..never.

But the times I took on work that might be used in a legal proceeding, such as divorce or estate assignment, whether attorney recommended or private party hired, I made clear to the client that for a market value purpose assignment , I am not going to slant my results to "their " cause. I am pretty blunt and tell them if that is what they are looking for they should seek out another appraiser. Then I ask them if understanding that, they still want me to proceed with the assignment? They always said yes (though often with more hints/ pleadings about high or low values "helping" them.....after one more reminder what they agreed to, they would stop, and never had any complaints when the appraisals were delivered.

These assignments are a small portion of what I do. Not sure how relevant my experiences are relevant to OP question..
 

ZZGAMAZZ

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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Numerous prior AF threads pertaining to the client of a legal assignment--counsel or property owner--revealed a difference of opinion among posters, both camps of which were able to support their perspectives. Consequently, I'm asking whether an appraiser firmly inclined, for example, to believe that legal counsel should be the client of a BK assignment would attempt to convince a firm that engaged him with instructions to identify the property owner, rather than the firm, as the client--as they would do if any client's assignment conditions were untenable, in the appraiser's opinion. Point being is that I'm trying better to understand how the lawyer-client-appraiser contractual relationship affects "discovery," which could affect the credibility of an appraisal report in the perspective of the court, which is an implied intended user, consequently incorporating "client" within the Scope of an assignment, if one client type more so than the other could potentially affect the perception of the value of the report.

I do understand JGrant's perspective, although it's a stretch to presume that the desire to enhance credibility would be defined as advocacy.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Consequently, I'm asking whether an appraiser firmly inclined, for example, to believe that legal counsel should be the client of a BK assignment would attempt to convince a firm that engaged him with instructions to identify the property owner, rather than the firm, as the client--as they would do if any client's assignment conditions were untenable, in the appraiser's opinion. Point being is that I'm trying better to understand how the lawyer-client-appraiser contractual relationship affects "discovery,"
If you produce a report for the lawyer as "confidential", the lawyer can dismiss you and go get another appraisal. I would prefer to be engaged directly by the court appointed trustee and would ask that that be done. If they refused, and insisted I do it for them I would simply decline the assignment.
 

ZZGAMAZZ

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Certified Residential Appraiser
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If you produce a report for the lawyer as "confidential", the lawyer can dismiss you and go get another appraisal. I would prefer to be engaged directly by the court appointed trustee and would ask that that be done. If they refused, and insisted I do it for them I would simply decline the assignment.
Do court-appointed trustees maintain a stable of independent contractor? If so, would retired jurisdictional exceptions apply like they do for probate trustees?
 

hastalavista

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Certified General Appraiser
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Numerous prior AF threads pertaining to the client of a legal assignment--counsel or property owner--revealed a difference of opinion among posters, both camps of which were able to support their perspectives. Consequently, I'm asking whether an appraiser firmly inclined, for example, to believe that legal counsel should be the client of a BK assignment would attempt to convince a firm that engaged him with instructions to identify the property owner, rather than the firm, as the client--as they would do if any client's assignment conditions were untenable, in the appraiser's opinion. Point being is that I'm trying better to understand how the lawyer-client-appraiser contractual relationship affects "discovery," which could affect the credibility of an appraisal report in the perspective of the court, which is an implied intended user, consequently incorporating "client" within the Scope of an assignment, if one client type more so than the other could potentially affect the perception of the value of the report.

I do understand JGrant's perspective, although it's a stretch to presume that the desire to enhance credibility would be defined as advocacy.

Most appraisers I know prefer to have the engagement directly with the lawyer as this facilitates a lot of the communication and it is easier (most of the time) to deal with another professional then it is with an entity who has an emotional stake in the game.
But, it really boils down to a business decision. If an appraiser wants to have a policy that they will only be engaged by the attorney, that may work for some attorneys/scenarios but not for others.

The mechanics of writing the engagement agreement naming the non-attorney as the client but allowing for direct communication with the attorney isn't that difficult. One can simply name the attorney as an agent in the engagement agreement and noting that direct communication with the agent is permissible by the client.

An attorney may want their client to be named the appraiser's client as this makes that other entity responsible for payment.

Regardless of who is the appraiser's named client (attorney or the attorneys' client), the rest of the SOW (with exception of communicating with the attorney-as-an-agent) shouldn't be that much different.

Other than the business-aspect of the situation I describe, I don't see it significantly impacting the practical application of the appraisal process for (what I presume) is your assignment?
 
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