A licensed New York real estate attorney is involved in all aspects of real estate closings. Typically, each party to a transaction retains a real estate attorney to represent their interests. Any notaries or non-attorneys attending a real estate closing, must do so under the direct supervision of an attorney. In residential refinances, the attorney normally represents only the lender. Only a licensed New York real estate attorney can receive compensation for preparing deeds, mortgages, assignments, discharges, leases, or any other instruments affecting real estate. See N.Y. Jud. Law §484. Effective November 1, 2013, the penalty for any person or business engaged in the unauthorized practice of law has been increased from a misdemeanor to a class E felony. See N.Y. Jud. Law §§476 (d).