What is a Fee Attorney?

A Fee Attorney refers to a lawyer who has entered into a contractual relationship with a title insurance company, or an agent of a title insurance company, to close real estate transactions on its behalf in exchange for a portion of the title premium.  In Texas, title insurance premiums are established by the Texas Department of Insurance and must be charged as promulgated.  Other states allow for a range of premiums or even complete discretion on the part of the insurance company as to what is charged. The business of title insurance consists of three basic functions:  a title search, closing the transaction (escrow), and issuance of a title policy or policies.  A Fee Attorney performs the closing function.  Most all title companies (the agent) or title insurance companies (the underwriter) also have their own employees who handle closings.  For the public, it is often hard to tell whether a title closing office is a company owned office or a Fee Attorney office.  An attorney who is directly involved in his or her Fee Attorney operation (not all are) can be a valuable resource for parties seeking guidance or expertise on certain title or closing issues.  While a Fee Attorney represents the title company or title insurance company with whom he or she has a closing agreement, a Fee Attorney may also represent one or more parties to a transaction if no conflict exists or is likely, and if all parties consent.  A common example would be where a buyer retains the Fee Attorney to represent her in the purchase of a house.  The Fee Attorney may prepare a contract and advise the buyer on certain issues.  The Fee Attorney would also suggest that the transaction close at the Fee Attorney’s office.  The seller may need assistance with title curative matters or need a deed prepared, and a lender may need loan documents prepared.  The Fee Attorney can perform all of these functions if the situation allows