How to qualify a title attorney?

4 Replies

Lots of posts on how to qualify GCs but what about a good attorney?  Referrals are great (and any are welcome in the San Antonio, TX area) but what should I want to know?  The practice areas I want are:

- Real estate (title stuff, real estate contracts)

- Business Law (GC contracts, incorporation etc)

Being an attorney myself when I hire other attorneys I just try to figure out their work style, expertise and look at their educational and professional background. Referal is even better. I have seen lots of attorneys who have expertise but couldn't respond within 2 weeks to simple stuff and I've seen some attorneys with basically no expertise too.


Originally posted by @Corbett Brasington :

Lots of posts on how to qualify GCs but what about a good attorney?  Referrals are great (and any are welcome in the San Antonio, TX area) but what should I want to know?  The practice areas I want are:

- Real estate (title stuff, real estate contracts)

- Business Law (GC contracts, incorporation etc)

When I first read the heading, I thought you were talking about title attorneys - as in, one who has a fee office or was an underwriter for title insurance.  There are lots of different areas of practice (and I say "areas of practice" because the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is the gatekeeper for lawyer's use of the word "specialization").  There's residential and commercial real estate law, business law, consumer law, securities law, commercial law, corporate finance law, etc. etc. etc.  Then there's the transactional (deal-making) and litigation (deal-breaking) dichotomy within each area.

There are some basic vetting that apply to all industries and some thoughts that are applicable to only lawyers.  

For the basics: good, fast, or cheap - pick 2 out of 3 but you won't get all 3.  I hope you've heard this adage before.

For lawyer-only: We are paid for our time. On average, law firms are 1 to 4 lawyers ( and most are solo practitioners). These two facts combined mean that every minute spent being "interviewed" is a minute of lost revenue.  Some of us offer paid consultations at a discounted rate to our typical hourly.  Most of my colleagues poorly delegate and rely on themselves to get a task done (taking longer).  Those of us who delegate well have staff and increased overhead (increased costs).  The good about larger firms is you don't rely on the skills/experience/availability of one person.

Best way to find a lawyer is to get referrals and pay for consultation on an active issue.  If you encounter me in the wild (a networking event), I am usually happy to spend 5 minutes to get to know you and you me.  If you start pumping me for free legal advice, I will probably politely disengage.

I hope this helps you find and interact with lawyers.

Promotion
BiggerPockets
Hard Money Lending Directory
Find Hard Money Lenders in Texas!
BiggerPockets Lending Directory
Find Lenders Now!

Check the Bar web site for complaints or actions against them.  Google their name for comments on their past performance.  If they're a litigator, check the Clerk's web site in the areas they practice and see how many times their name appears and look at how the cases resolved to get an idea of their proficiency.

I recommend compiling a list of questions and interviewing lawyers with the same list. You'll start to see good responses vs poor experiences. Poor just means not a fit for your goals. I do free 15 min calls to determine if the client is a good fit for me and it has little to do with price or job--mostly expectations and long term goal alignment.

As an investor, I try to look for long term alignment and potential for repeat deals. I want vendors I can be lifelong clients of--improves our trust levels.