Working With Attorneys

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How do you choose your lawyer?

Most of my clients retained me without me ever meeting the board. To be honest, it is easy for me that way. I’m not spending time driving or preparing for the meeting. Instead, I spend time serving my existing clients.

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The Attorney Client Privilege in Community Associations

Few legal concepts rival the complexities surrounding the attorney?client privilege in community association matters. The confusion about these complexities, and the resulting misunderstandings, do not discriminate, roping in attorneys, board members, members, and managers alike. This article will shed some

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Choosing association attorney is important decision

Selection of association legal counsel is one of the most important decisions a community association board of directors will make. Engaging legal counsel can have long-term implications for your community. Getting the best possible attorney for the association will have

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In a crisis, condo board needs its own attorney

My sister and her husband own a condo in a development where a deck recently collapsed. The resident on the deck suffered a broken back. Now there is conflicting information about what repairs need to be made to all the

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Best Practices for Retaining Legal Counsel

Associations may need a lawyer for many reasons: lawsuits, compliance questions, etc. If your HOA finds that it requires constant legal advice, it may be a good idea to consider retaining legal counsel.   Read the article………….

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Handling Litigation: When Lawsuits Strike Close to Home

No one likes a lawsuit. Whether filing one or finding yourself on the receiving end of one, they can cause stress, anxiety and an upending of daily life. They can be expensive, take months—even years—to resolve, and often result in

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Choosing an Attorney for Your Association: Narrowing the Field When Looking for Legal Representation

Not every condominium or homeowners’ association is going to run afoul of the law—the happy truth is that litigation and legal trouble are relatively rare occurrences. But even the most upstanding board of trustees in New England must navigate a

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Is Your HOA or Condo Community Manager Covered by the Attorney-Client Privilege?

For attorneys who practice community association law, there has been ongoing discussion at national HOA/condo legal events about whether a community manager is covered by the attorney-client privilege. In general the attorney-client privilege shields communications between an association and its

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Protecting Your Biz: How do community associations legally cover themselves?

Community Associations, just like businesses, need to ensure that they are legally protected at all times. They are responsible for governing the community, ensuring that owners and/or tenants follow the rules and the covenants, conditions and restrictions that are set

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Drafting Enforceable Settlement Agreements and Avoiding Pitfalls

Settlement in big ticket litigation is extremely common. Nationally, about 95% of civil cases settle before going to trial. There are a number of benefits of settling a case, including eliminating the uncertainty of a result presented by trial on

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Who’s the Client?

The question sometimes comes up, usually from a homeowner or group of homeowners, concerning who the attorney representing the association in a matter actually represents. Some years ago, the California Court of Appeal provided a clear answer.  Read the article………….

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When To Call In The Professionals To Advise Your Board

Common areas of a community are vitally important. Not only do they ensure a better quality of life for residents, they also help the resale value of properties. So it makes sense that two of the most important duties of

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Attorney-Client Privilege: Are Attorney Communications Received By, or Copied To, An Association’s Manager Privileged?

A recent Florida appellate decision reminded us of the importance of understanding attorney-client privileges when communicating with community association clients through their manager. Under the evidence code, a client has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent any

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Things to Consider When Hiring a Lawyer for Your Community Association

Hiring the right lawyer to represent your Community Association is an important decision. Does the law firm and lawyer you are interviewing specialize in Community Association Law? How long have they been actively representing community associations? How long have they

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Why Do Most People Hate Paying Legal Fees?

It happens on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. I receive a question from a blog reader and the question is not general in nature; in fact, the question seeks legal advice (often on a fairly significant matter that involves potential

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So Your Association Changed Attorneys…Now What?

An association has decided to change its legal counsel and transfer all existing matters to its new lawyer. The management company sends the request to the prior law firm only to be told that a retaining lien has been asserted.

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Importance of HOA Contracts

Each year, thousands of homeowner associations across the country engage in complicated renovation projects that run the gamut from siding replacement to roof overhauls to dryrot repair to new decks and fences. Aside from the complexity of the tasks themselves,

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An Example of When to Contact Association Legal Counsel

The other day, I was contacted by an acquaintance who asked for my help changing his condominium’s no-pet policy. He explained that he was a board member, and that their condominium’s “bylaws” banned all pets. My first question was whether

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The Roles of the HOA and Legal Counsel

WesternLaw Group’s newest article, “The Roles of the HOA and Legal Counsel“, was published in Common Interests (CAI Rocky Mountain Chapter, July 2015). Written by Brian Denlinger. Available here.

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Childress Immune From Malpractice Suit, 11th Circ. Affirms

The Eleventh Circuit on Friday upheld the dismissal of a condominium association’s malpractice suit over law firm Childress Duffy Ltd. Inc.’s handling of a hurricane coverage action, finding that the firm’s decision to not use a particular witness at trial

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How to build an effective community association team

Community associations are run by volunteer boards, but even the best ones can’t do the job alone. They need a team of professionals to guide them through the thorny maze of communal living.    Read the article………

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Recovering Attorney Fees in Litigation: How to Avoid a Defective Proposal for Settlement

Many parties engaged in litigation are primarily concerned with resolving their disputes through the most cost-efficient means. In the early stages of litigation, clients pose some version of the following question: “Who is going to pay my legal fees?” Under

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Words Matter: Is your Board precise with its terminology?

When you go to your doctor, it is helpful if you can accurately describe your symptoms so he or she can properly diagnose the problem. The same holds true when a volunteer board of directors meets with its legal counsel.

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Property Managers and the Attorney-Client Privilege: Does your Community Association’s Management Agreement cover Communications with the Association’s Counsel?

A successful community association is often dependent upon a cooperative working relationship between the association’s attorney, the board of directors and the property manager. Many condominium and homeowner association boards are dependent on the property management company to run the

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The Value of Your Homeowners Association Attorney

There are several individuals that bring value to your association. Your volunteer board, your manager, your interested members that may serve in other capacities, and your supportive and assessment-paying membership. Vendors also can bring great value to your association in

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The Art of Picking Professionals: To Choose or Not to Choose

Running the day-to-day business of a condo development or an HOA of any size—be it a sprawling, multi-building community, or a single self-contained building—requires not just a functional board but a team of competent outside professionals. These professionals keep things

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Actions to Take When Your HOA Board is Faced with a Lawsuit

You’re being sued, what do you do? You know that being faced with a lawsuit is a serious matter and absolutely should not be ignored. That being said, there are some important actions you need to take as an HOA

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Service of Process – What is it?

For a court to have authority to make legal decisions and enter a judgment against someone, the court must have both personal and subject matter jurisdiction over that person. Subject matter jurisdiction involves the court’s ability or power to hear

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Avoiding Lawsuits: Dealing with Friends, Foes and Finances

Wouldn’t it be great if all problems in a building were handled so smoothly and succinctly? If at the settling of a disagreement, everyone became friends and lived happily ever after? Sure it would— but it would also involve some

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This Interest May Be Common, But It’s Still Privileged Re: California Evidence Rules

In an opinion issued yesterday, the California Court of Appeal ruled that litigation meetings held by a homeowner’s association counsel with individual homeowners did not result in a waiver of the attorney-client privilege. Seahaus La Jolla Owners Ass’n v. Superior

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If You’re My HOA’s Attorney, You Represent Me, Right? (No, Not Quite.)

As a community association attorney, I attend a lot of homeowner meetings to discuss legal issues and provide education to boards and owners. I enjoy the opportunity to meet the people who live in my client’s communities. It’s always great

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This Interest May Be Common, But It’s Still Privileged Re: California Evidence Rules

Section 954 of the California Evidence Code establishes a privilege “to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication between client and lawyer”. A “confidential communication between client and lawyer” is defined in Section 952 of

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The Association’s Attorney Should Be A Good Listener

I was recently interviewed by a condominium association board that wanted to replace the association’s attorney. During that interview, one board member made a startling comment. She remarked that, in her opinion, the association’s attorney did not listen to the

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HOA’s members need not testify about their own side’s strategy meetings (CA)

Lawyers for organizations may feel both shudders and relief on reading a recent appellate decision protecting attorney-client privilege for the members of a La Jolla homeowners’ association. Shudders, that a local court’s discovery order would have required individual homeowners to

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Attorney Invoices: To Disclose or Not To Disclose

Can the Board disclose our attorney fee invoices to the general membership in an effort to be transparent? While the motivation is appropriate, and transparency is important to a healthy association, disclosure of the attorney fee invoices may create more

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HOA’s and Contingency Cases

A more apt title might be “Why Lawyers Don’t Take HOA Cases on Contingency.” I am frequently asked to take HOA and condo cases on a contingency, but these cases are not the types of cases lawyers can litigate on

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Consider these items when deciding on a Community Association Attorney!

Selecting an attorney is one of the more significant decisions made by the board of directors for a community association. Often times, the association makes its decision based upon price alone. Although “price” is a valid factor to consider, there

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Weigh pros and cons of association lawsuits

When bad things happen to a community association, sooner or later someone is bound to say, “Let’s sue.” Sometimes going to court is the best and perhaps only way to resolve a serious problem. Usually it isn’t.   Read more…..

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Essential Documents in a Collection Trial

Has your association been involved in a collection matter that went to trial?  Very few of our collection cases make it to trial, but when they do, it can be unnerving for board members and managers because it may be

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Discovery – It’s Not Just a Channel

Although Discovery is a very interesting cable channel, it is also a broad all-encompassing term to describe the fact-finding process in a lawsuit. Lawyers are literally discovering facts, evidence, witnesses, and case theories utilizing a variety of discovery tools. Without

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You May Have Recourse When a Court Denies Your Board Attorneys’ Fees

Collections have become an area of increasing concern for condominium associations, as some unit owners struggle to pay their common charges on time and in full. As unit owners’ debt continues to rise, associations are left with few options to

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So You’ve Been Sued — Now What? Handling Lawsuits

Lawsuits are usually not an association’s go-to method for dispute resolution. Expensive and time-consuming, they can quickly turn into a financial burden and may create strained relations in the community. Unfortunately, in some cases there’s no other way out. Last

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Homeowner Has No Right to Lawyer at Association Meeting—CA Court of Appeal

A property owner’s right to attend a meeting of a homeowner’s association does not necessarily include the right to send a lawyer to represent the owner at the meeting, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.  Div. One yesterday

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Working with an HOA/COA Lawyer Part III: Budgets and Boundaries

One of the more difficult tasks as a home owner association or condo owner association board member is to decide priorities and budgets.  You are, after all, spending not just your own dues, but you are also spending dues of

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Essential HOA Professionals

The board of a homeowner association is charged with making informed decisions. To make informed decisions requires consulting with knowledgeable professionals when the topic exceeds the board’s experience. Professional relationships that every HOA board should have include an attorney, CPA

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Hiring Professionals – A Winning Approach

One of the key questions facing volunteer community association boards is, “When should we hire a professional to assist us?” This question oftentimes will apply to professional management companies, construction professionals, vendors and service providers, accountants, attorneys and    

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Notice of Lawsuits in an HOA: What Must Be Disclosed?

Sometimes owners get suspicious or concerned and think the board is hiding something from them. Here is an email from an owner that does not believe threats of lawsuits should be kept a secret. Here is what he has to

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Trusting your Professional Service Providers

Homeowners associations are comprised of people from all walks of life, and for that very reason their boards of directors often consist of individuals who bring various levels of knowledge to the administration of the association      Read more……..

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Working with an HOA Lawyer Part I: The Hiring Process

Finding the right lawyer for your Texas owners’ association is not always the easiest task, particularly for volunteer Board Members that have little experience with property management. This post is an attempt to provide a framework, from a lawyer’s perspective,

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Working with an HOA Lawyer Part I: The Hiring Process

Finding the right lawyer for your Texas owners’ association is not always the easiest task, particularly for volunteer Board Members that have little experience with property management.  This post is an attempt to provide a framework, from a lawyer’s perspective,

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