If you are a person that has ever had to go through a real estate transaction, then you might already be familiar with the role of a real estate lawyer. These specialized lawyers are there to help guide you through the legalities of a real estate business decision. Real estate lawyers rarely need to get involved in a regular personal home purchase or sale, but if someone is a real estate investor, then they will likely have a frequent and reoccurring need for the services that a real estate lawyer can offer. We spoke with an expert law office, The Hickey Law Firm, in the field of real estate and asked about the top questions or considerations that a businessman should be asking to any law firm that they are considering using for their real estate needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are interviewing law firms to hire a real estate lawyer.
- Not all law firms are experienced with real estate law. Just because a lawyer is licensed to practice law does not automatically make them an expert in the ins and outs of real estate transactions. Look for law firms that specialize in this particular type of practice. Also make sure that they are local or at least have experience in your state laws as the laws that guide real estate transactions can vary from state to state.
- Look for experience. It is okay to ask a lawyer how long they have been practicing law. It is also okay to inquire about how long before that they received their law degree. You want a lawyer that is going to be at ease with all of the many different types of situations come up in real estate transactions. You also want to feel at ease taking their legal advice. If they just started practicing real estate law after a 20 year absence working in a different field, then you may not be as comfortable working with them and you may want to continue your search.
- Ask about their billing practices. You will want to know up front how your lawyer plans to work their fee schedule and how they plan to bill you. It would be unfortunate if you were to find a nasty surprise in your mailbox later in the form of an unexpected bill. Know their fees ahead of time to avoid this. Many lawyers bill on an hourly basis and will have set fees for the work that they will do.
- Find out who will actually be doing the lawyer-ing for you. Many law firms will have smaller projects handed down to their paralegals or junior attorneys that are getting ready to pass the bar exam. While there is typically not an issue with this, many people end up working more often with that lower level person that is handling their case as opposed to the lawyer. Make sure that you are comfortable with that person as well as the lawyer in general before signing on with them.