Ask These 5 Questions When Choosing a RESPA Real Estate Attorney

“What the heck is RESPA?”

Many attorneys try to handle real estate matters in addition to their regular practice. Very few lawyers are aware of the complexities of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.)

RESPA statutes are consumer protection laws that impact virtually all single family to four family homes. RESPA compliance issues and the remedies available to borrowers who have been victimized by unscrupulous mortgage lenders, title companies and other real estate settlement providers are a real challenge. Even for full-time real estate attorneys, RESPA is a very complex statute. You must be careful and ask questions of the attorney you choose in order to make sure you get the proper legal protection that the RESPA statute i is designed to accomplish. Consumers and Businesses alike are protected when RESPA is in compliance.

Question #1

“What RESPA experience do you have?”

No doubt about it. Start with the big one. Real estate laws and regulations are complicated enough without adding RESPA to the equation. Have they prepared marketing agreements that comply? Have they attended RESPA specific training courses and seminars? Have they kept abreast of the most recent HUD guidelines and court cases nationally regarding RESPA? How many RESPA cases and clients have they handled? What types of RESPA cases did they handle? Were the issues similar to yours? What were their results? Don’t be shy!

Question # 2

“What type of reputation does the attorney have?”

This is a tough one to figure out – so do your homework! Is the attorney primarily a transaction attorney or a litigator skilled in courtroom procedures if necessary? Your attorney must have the communication skills necessary to work with the other attorney as well as you. The other attorney, if more knowledgeable on RESPA can run over you and your lawyer. Remember that many cases are won or lost on the attorney’s knowledge and high ethical standards. Check the local Bar association for background. Get references and check them out thoroughly.

Question # 3

“What type of resources does the attorney have?”

No attorney can do everything well. Make sure that your attorney has the resources available to work your case efficiently. Does the attorney have a well established network of experts and fellow attorneys who can network with to add value and expertise to your problem? Some attorneys try to do it all and act as a one man band. Your attorney’s ego should not be larger than your case. A good attorney quickly involves others with higher degrees of expertise in areas where it is needed to represent you properly. The experts they use are a reflection of your new attorney.

Question # 4

“What about communications and follow up?”

The hallmark of a good attorney is the degree of communication he has with his clients. If you have to ask “What’s going on with my case?” then you have a problem. You don’t want to have these types of issues after choosing an attorney. Be blunt and ask how often you will be contacted and updated. How will you be contacted? Will the attorney just send you a form letter or use personal communication and contact? How do you prefer to be contacted? E-mail, phone calls, letters? Ask for it. “Are you too busy to handle me? Are you going to push me to a lower level staffer or junior attorney?” Clear communication and updates can ensure success and results.

Question # 5

“How do they charge?”

Some attorneys charge a flat fee, some charge a contingency based upon results and some charge hourly rates. The type of problem or case generally dictates the type of charge. There is an old saying, “Speed, Efficiency and Price – pick TWO!” The cheapest attorney may not be the best and the most expensive attorney may not be the best either! Make sure that you are not penny wise and dollar foolish. You are choosing an attorney for results. Make sure that your attorney has the financial incentive to work your case efficiently and successfully.

How to Find an Attorney in My County Via the Internet

Simply typing in the phrase “find an attorney in my county” in your favorite search engine won’t give you your desired results for the most part. “Find an attorney in my county” is a very broad term because there are millions of counties world wide. The search engine won’t know where it is exactly that you need a lawyer. You would be better off typing in a phrase such as “orange county attorney”, or “Sacramento county attorney”, or whatever county you need a lawyer in. And always include the quotation marks in your search phrase. That will give you results for the exact phrase that you are searching and nothing else. If you don’t include the quotation marks, the search engine will give you results for each word in the phrase, which is usually in the thousands or even millions of results and may not be what you really need.

Let’s get back to “how to find an attorney in my county” subject. You will get much better results when you search for the exact attorney of your need. For an example, if you need a divorce attorney and you live in Macomb county, you simply search for “Macomb county divorce attorney”. Also, don’t forget to check for the other expression “Macomb county divorce lawyer”. Attorney and lawyer is a same thing, but when the search engines are concerned, attorney and lawyer are two different words. You don’t know if the webmaster of the lawyer’s website has optimized the site for both words. For that reason you need to search for both. This search will produce only a few results that contain this specific phrase. This way you may get a website of an actual divorce attorney in Macomb county or you may get garbage results, or even no results at all. It depends on what the search engines have in their database for that search phrase. Whether they have websites from actual attorneys, or from advertisers targeting that search phrase, or from some scammers who are also targeting that search phrase by tricking the search engines.

To narrow down your search even further, if you type in “orange county attorney”, you may get results from orange county in Florida and orange county in California, or elsewhere in the world. So, it would be better to try “orange county ca attorney” or “orange county fl attorney”. Or better yet “orange county ca divorce attorney”. These are very narrow search methods that will produce very few results and straight to the point. But, since you cannot depend on the optimization of the websites, whether they have been done correctly or mischievously (that’s how search engines know which website is for what), you would get a lot more relevant results by splitting your search phrase. By all means, try your search first with the above search phrases because you would have only a few results to evaluate. The next search method will give you hundreds or even thousands of results that would still be relevant, but you need to spend some time weeding out the bad ones or the ones that you don’t need.

What splitting the search phrase means is to include the lesser populated search in quotation marks and the more populated phrase without quotation marks. For an example, if you live in Ramsey county and you need a DUI attorney, you can search for: “DUI attorney” Ramsey county. Also don’t forget: “dui lawyer” Ramsey county. So, you only put the type of attorney that you need in quotation marks and the county without quotations. The reason you get thousands of results with this type of search is that every DUI attorney website will contain the term DUI lawyer or whatever lawyer you are searching for. But it may not contain the county term because either the webmaster forgot about it or didn’t know that he or she needs to include it. So, when you do this type of split phrase search, you will first get all of the results that contain the term DUI lawyer (of whatever type of lawyer you’re seeking) from the websites that also contain the term that describes your county, and then the rest of the other websites within that county. You get more choices to choose from.

If the above methods don’t produce the attorney of your need (based on the optimization of the websites and the available sites in the search engine database), instead of wasting hours of endless search with no results, there are still easy ways to “find an attorney in my county” online.

Besides the above methods of typing in the county and the type of attorney in quotations, you can also use some free services to actually find the attorney for you. By the way, have you forgotten your yellow pages or whatever phone book you have in your county? That’s your best bet. But that’s the offline world. However, these types of services are also available online.

Any type of website that deals with locating businesses, such as anywho.com, truelocal.com, yellowpages.com, can find you an attorney in not only your county, but in your city. Just key in the type of attorney that you need under business category (i.e. immigration attorney) and choose your city and state. Also, you can try the lawyer directories such as martindale.com, findlaw.com, lawyers.com, that contain attorneys and law firms from the whole world. Lawyer referral services such as legalmatch.com, globallawyerreferral.com, your local and state bar association, can also find you a lawyer in your county.

Regardless of how you find your lawyer, remember that same principals apply while choosing your attorney. You need to make a list of qualifications you want in your lawyer and interview your prospect lawyers before you decide on who will represent you.

Disclaimer: The author and publisher of this article have done their best to give you useful, informative and accurate information. This article does not represent nor replace the legal advice you need to get from a lawyer, or other professional if the content of the article involves an issue you are facing. Laws vary from state-to-state and change from time-to-time. Always consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about the issues described in this article. Thank you.

How to Go About Selecting an Attorney For Your Case

How to Select a Personal Injury Attorney

While there are many factors that affect whether a client wins or loses a personal injury case, or affect the level of the settlement, selecting the right personal injury attorney makes the most difference in winning the case. So, how should one go about selecting a personal injury attorney who will get the best results, and the best settlement, for the case?

Most personal injury attorneys have free consultation. You, the client, should use the consultation not only to have the attorney assess your case, but also to interview the attorney to make sure your case will get the attention it deserves. The first indication as to whether you and your case will get the attorney’s full and undivided attention is how you are treated during the free consultation. Obviously, you should expect to discuss the case with an attorney, not with a paralegal, or other members of the attorney’s staff. After all, you are not hiring a paralegal; you are hiring an attorney to understand your case, research the facts of the case, research the law and win your case for you. You want to be able to talk to the attorney first hand, not through intermediaries.

Once you meet with the attorney, outline your case and answer whatever questions the attorney may have. You should then ask the following basic questions. The answers that you get should determine the level of comfort you have regarding the level of attention that the attorney will give you and your case:

1. Who will be handling and researching your case. Is that person an attorney or a member of the staff?

2. If your case goes to trial, will the attorney be fully involved in the litigation or would he outsource the litigation without any involvement?

3. Will the attorney be your contact at the attorney’s office? If so, will he be available during office hours as well as after hours? Would he give you access to his direct telephone, including his cellular phone?

It is a fact that at the offices of some personal injury attorneys, clients come in contact with paralegals and other office staff but never with an attorney. If the attorney responds that his “competent” staff will give their full attention to your case, get a clue. If the attorney is reluctant to give you his cellular number to contact him anytime you have a concern, get another clue.

Many of my clients have confided in me that the reason why they have not selected other attorneys before knocking on my door was the fact that they could not talk to an attorney. They were able to talk to a paralegal or other staff, but not the attorney.

If you are not able to talk to a personal injury attorney during the consultation, or if you do not feel comfortable that your case will be getting the full, undivided attention of the personal injury attorney, find another attorney. There are many good attorneys out there who are anxious to give you and your case their full, undivided attention.

Ramzy Ladah
Las Vegas Personal Injury, LLC
http://www.ladahlaw.com