It's always difficult to advocate having a lawyer at your closing when you're an attorney because it just sounds like you're trying to get hired. But this point is so important, it's worth emphasizing as one of my first posts: When you have a closing, get an independent lawyer.
Most people do, which is good. But there's one big flaw in the system. People tend to get a lawyer that's recommended by the real estate agent, or some other party that relies on the closing to take place in order to get paid. Many of these referrals are solid, and independently advise their client. Unfortunately, though, I've seen the ugly side of this arrangement too.
There are attorneys who will green-light a deal just to see a closing take place. For some background on this, there's a very important section of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys that applies:
Rule 5.4. Professional Independence of a Lawyer
(a) A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer...
So lawyers can't give a referral fee or share in any legal fees with the real estate agent. All attorneys can do is hope to get additional business, in the form of referrals, from the agent.
But that won't happen regularly if the attorney kills deals, thus eliminating any compensation for the agent. So there are attorneys who have shifted their loyalties away from their client over the years to keep agent referrals coming consistently.
This type of arrangement hurts the home buyer/seller because the loyalty lies with the agent (and closing the deal), rather than the client.
The current real estate market has also spurred some survival tactics that are blatant violations of duties to a home buyer/seller. For instance, I know of one real estate agent who covers legal closing costs for the seller. It sounds like a good deal for a seller, but how can that attorney (who's getting paid by the agent) be loyal to the client, when he/she is getting paid by the agent?
In the end, it's best to hire an independent attorney to evaluate your real estate closing. A real estate transaction is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, so make sure that all the loose ends are tied by a skilled real estate attorney.