The Legal Description is a national publication that provides Legislative and Legal Analysis in real estate law. They recently featured Attorney Noel DiCarlo in a report on pandemic realities and how it has affected the real estate industry, including updates on the Remote Online Notarization (RON) bill that Attorney DiCarlo in her capacity as the chairwomen of the Conveyancing Section and a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) has been working on. This Bill, if passed into law will revolutionize the real estate industry, so Attorney DiCarlo has been working to ensure that any RON legislation protects both the consumer and the conveyancer. See below for some highlights of the report.
On technology hurdles during COVID:
DiCarlo pointed out the need to ensure the connections at employee’s homes were safe and secure.
“We had to act immediately and nimbly, and do so in a [secure] way,” she said. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to work from home,’ you had to say, ‘Well, do you have a safe and secure network, or do you have a safe and secure connection to the internet? Do you have all of that software and security on your home computer than you have on your work computer. You certainly don’t want to be working on your phone when you are working on various bank accounts. Internet and software security was huge. And its not just for you, but you are talking about your law clerks, your paralegals. Our firm was already set up for that. Everyone that works for us has laptops, our technology company makes sure they meet the standards that we have. We also work with some lenders that have very high security requirements and require that any employee of our firm that works on their transactions meet those security requirements.
“Our firm luckily was already set up for it, but the local conveyancer down the street may not have been,” DiCarlo continued. “A lot of attorneys really struggled, so as a bar association, we tried to make ourselves very available to help guide them through the difficult process in a short amount of time.
On RON Legislation:
DiCarlo agreed, saying one of the concerns of REBA members was whether borrowers were going to understand what they were signing when they are in the “click to sign” mode, much like can happen when signing a technology company’s updated privacy policies.
She also said REBA wanted to ensure the RON model they come up with gives a meaningful opportunity for oversight by an attorney conveyancer to ensure the consumer is adequately represented and protected in a meaningful way.
Fraud happens, and DiCarlo said REBA was concerned about how the attorney would appropriately identify someone though an electronic platform. How do you know the person is who they say they are and not their twin? How do you prevent undue influence when you can’t see what is going on outside the consumer’s camera view?