by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
Richard Wood Solicitors is Melbourne Law firm. In 1998 a letter was sent to a local estate agent by this law firm, offering free gifts in return for conveyancing “referrals”. I received a copy of the letter because the estate agent to whom it was addressed saw an opportunity to make money from local lawyers and conveyancers by selling his “referrals” to the highest bidder. In my opinion the letter raises serious ethical questions, and goes some way to explaining the cosy relationships between estate agents and the conveyancers and lawyers who depend on conveyancing referrals.
In 1998 Richard Wood Solicitors sent what has now become known as “The Richard Wood Solicitors Letter” to a local estate agent, apparently in an effort to develop what could be described as a “business relationship” with the estate agent.
Under the heading “What Will We Do For You!” the letter tells the estate agent,
“Everyone likes verbal acknowledgement or a pat on the back but we know that something tangible, like flowers, a bottle of Port or a Myer voucher don’t miss the mark either.”
“Our major end of year special reward remains an all expenses paid weekend package for two at a 5 start Melbourne Hotel”
“Your referrals will count towards your personal Reward points for the year as well as entitle you to Movie Passes over the next 2 months.”
Concerned by the effect of the letter and the proposals contained in it, I wrote to Richard Wood Solicitors in April, 2006 and asked a number of questions about “The Richard Wood Solicitors Letter“