January 27, 2016

Hello from the Law Office

I take pride in providing my community association clients with quality legal services.  However, I can't help associations that don't seek help. Some association boards seem reluctant to incur legal expenses of any kind unless a lawsuit is received or threatened.  This is penny wise and pound foolish.  When questions arise regarding how to amend, interpret, or enforce the association's governing documents, it is almost always advisable for the board to ask the association's attorney if the majority's desired course of action raises any legal issues. State law and the association's governing documents are filled with duties and restrictions that many boards (and owners) only learn about when they consult an attorney for the first time.  Boards need an experienced guide to navigate that legal minefield, and only attorneys have the necessary expertise to serve in that role.

The perceived high cost of legal services is often cited as the major impediment to obtaining them.  However, this ignores the reality that clients always have the ability to limit the amount of time spent by attorneys on any given matter. If a board is concerned that involving the association's attorney will inevitably lead to a large bill, then it should impose fee caps and look for a more efficient attorney, not forgo legal advice entirely.  Money spent ensuring that the association follows the law and its governing documents is money well spent.

Finally, a few words about time.  When association boards do seek legal guidance, they often contact their attorneys only a short time before the proposed actions or meetings. This prevents those attorneys from giving those matters the considered attention that they deserve and compels them to instead provide the best responses possible under the circumstances.  Association boards that provide their attorneys with a longer period of time to evaluate their situations will almost always receive superior legal services as a result.