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Subject: Lawyer recommendation
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Author Messages
AsafY
(Florida)

Posts:47


08/12/2020 4:05 PM  
Hello,

Our HOA looking for a new lawyer, we are not happy with the current one.
Any recommendation for a lawyer in Florida.

Thanks!
JohnC77
(Washington)

Posts:139


08/12/2020 4:44 PM  
Hire Augustin here, he thinks he is one. I'm sure you can negotiate a low price.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9877


08/12/2020 5:07 PM  
Posted By JohnC77 on 08/12/2020 4:44 PM
Hire Augustin here, he thinks he is one. I'm sure you can negotiate a low price.




I love it.........
AsafY
(Florida)

Posts:47


08/12/2020 5:17 PM  
Almost each comment in this forum recommends to consult with the HOA lawyer, I thought I would get at least 10 suggestions by now
AugustinD


Posts:3900


08/12/2020 5:30 PM  
I think the hoatalk posting rules prohibit posting the names of attorneys or law firms. See https://www.hoatalk.com/PostingRules/tabid/71/Default.aspx . Maybe you could post an email address here and ask Floridians to email you the names of HOA attorneys.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4065


08/12/2020 6:54 PM  
Posted By AsafY on 08/12/2020 5:17 PM
Almost each comment in this forum recommends to consult with the HOA lawyer, I thought I would get at least 10 suggestions by now

There's a loose organization in my county that brings together people from different condos and HOAs. Usually board members, but anyone is free to attend. Between October and April they have monthly meetins where they try to have a speaker on some subject of interest. Often the speaker will be a local attorney who gives a short presentation on one thing or another. By attending a couple of those meetings we found our current HOA attorney. He was actually the speaker at one of the meetings. Word of mouth among those present at the meetings is a very good way of getting some recommendations. I'd look around and see if any group like that exists in your area. The organiation I mentioned is not a state-wide thing, so the exact name of it probably wouldn't help you. But there are others.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3113


08/12/2020 7:10 PM  
Asaf,

Work the phones, websites and contacts from like neighborhoods - listen to their experiences.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9533


08/13/2020 4:40 AM  
Make sure you choose the right lawyer for the right needs. You do NOT need one on "retainer". You do not need a "Real Estate" attorney. A HOA isn't dealing with Real Estate most of the time. It is incorporated. Which means if your HOA needs to go to court it needs a lawyer to represent them in court. You could assign someone to represent the HOA but why would you have someone with no legal qualifications represent the entire neighborhood?

So make a list of what you want the lawyer to do. Be careful of those lawyers who say "I will do what you tell me to do". That can be a warning flag. It's not always a bad thing. However, in many cases it could be code for "You don't really need me to do this but will take your money to do it..."

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


08/13/2020 5:02 AM  
After you figure out what you want the attorney to do, get a price list. Remember, attorneys make their money based on how much time they can bill you in doing whatever you want them to do. That means every email, fax, phone call, etc. can add up quickly.

Our attorney is on retainer, but we get a certain amount of time we can use to ask questions without charge and we designate ONE person to talk to him. When I was on the board, I was the designee and usually spoke to him on delinquencies, as we had a lot of them. The attorney also had a website where clients could log in and see what was happening with those accounts which saved time and money in contacts.

Part of the reason the price list is so important is that you can get an idea how much it will cost to pursue a legal remedy. In my community homeowners had to reimburse the Association for legal fees incurred in pursuing delinquencies or if we won a case concerning a CCR violation (fortunately those didn't escalate to that point).

Finally, try to pick someone who will spend some time educating the board so the association stays out of legal weeds to begin with. Our previous attorney sponsored a steak dinner for clients once a year where he and a few of the associates would speak on various issues.
SashaE1


Posts:63


08/14/2020 1:42 AM  
I love Augustin too. He gives great feedback with sources to support and to learn more.
AugustinD


Posts:3900


08/14/2020 6:32 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 08/13/2020 5:02 AM
Our attorney is on retainer, but we get a certain amount of time we can use to ask questions without charge and we designate ONE person to talk to him. When I was on the board, I was the designee and usually spoke to him on delinquencies, as we had a lot of them. The attorney also had a website where clients could log in and see what was happening with those accounts which saved time and money in contacts.
SheliaH's report above is at least the third that I remember seeing in recent months where a HOA/condo has retained an attorney for a certain base rate that covers a certain amount of basic communications each month. (At least, I think this is roughly what SheliaH is describing.) CathyA3 of Ohio and KerryL1 of California explained their condos have a similar plan. I encourage AsafY and other new directors (with their boards) to seek a law firm or attorney who does similar.

For at least two of three of my past HOAs/condos, a separate attorney or law firm was used for collecting on delinquent owners' accounts. I think collections is so specialized, and certain attorneys and law firms so well-drilled in how to pursue collections, that retaining a second attorney for collections often makes sense.
Posted By SashaE1 on 08/14/2020 1:42 AM
I love Augustin too. He gives great feedback with sources to support and to learn more.
Thank you
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


08/15/2020 12:48 PM  
One more thing - As a says the association's unhappy with the current attorney, but didn't say why. Is expense the problem? Lack of follow through? Gives opinions you don't understand and he/she doesn't explain very well or at all? All of the above and more?

Switching attorneys may be the best option but if you he went already done so, you may want to sit down with your attorney and voice your concerns. Sometime you can negotiate lower rates, have another attorney in the firm assigned to your association (if available) or maybe you're asking him/ to do things that aren't practical or downright illegal, and You didn't like what he/she said. Or have unrealistic expectations. Maybe it's no one's fault - both sides simply don't click and never will.

As you start the review process, be honest with yourselves as to what you want and if you decide to move on, consider exposing why you're switching. That attorney might not have worked for you, but perhaps he/she will learn from your experience and things will go better for the next client.


Finally make sure you have a transition plan to ensure all your records are forwarded to to the new attorney and all outstanding legal fees have been paid.
AsafY
(Florida)

Posts:47


08/25/2020 11:30 AM  
Thank you all for the help, appreciated !
SibinP
(Georgia)

Posts:6


09/07/2020 1:40 PM  
IF you have a property management company, you could ask them for referrals and recommendations. Thats what we did when we first started to look into retaining legal services.
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