Yes. Next question.
Just kidding! Of course, there’s more to say about this! The most common reason associations hesitate to retain an attorney is concern related to the cost. It is always wise for board members to be budget-conscious. However, figuring your attorney’s retainer into your regular annual expenses is like buying some peace of mind along with your lawyer’s services. The benefits of having an attorney on retainer for your community association outweigh the cost.
Having an attorney is worth adding a line to your budget.
Having an attorney on retainer gives your association an advantage should any issues arise. If you wait until you urgently need an attorney, you have less of an opportunity to hire the best representation for your needs. This means you might end up paying more for a lawyer who is available, even if community association work is not something they specialize in. When you already have an attorney retained, they are familiar with your property and able to address any litigation or pre-litigation issues quickly and efficiently. Not only will this save your association money, but it also saves your board members valuable time and stress.
Annual meetings, elections, and contracts.
Putting your association lawyer on retainer means you will have access to legal counsel for routine things without worrying about an expensive hourly bill as a result. Having your attorney review vendor contracts before they’re signed can save you money as well as proactively prevent problems. Including their attendance at your annual meeting to preside over board elections and any other routine business at that meeting is a great way to be sure all the legal procedures are followed. Having your attorney chair your annual meeting as a matter of routine can also prevent conflicts within your board or between the board and the members. This is also a good time to address any changes you might want to make to your CC&Rs, which would need to be reviewed by an attorney before they are implemented.
Finding the right attorney for your association.
Take the time to meet with prospective attorneys in person. We are vendors, too. Discuss the specifics of the retainer agreement and what your association’s expectations will be. This gives you an opportunity to review the cost of retaining a lawyer. One good way to determine how much your association should budget is to look back at the past few years. See how much was spent in legal fees and for what reasons. Going over what your past needs have been with prospective attorneys will give them a better idea of what your needs are likely to be and how they can best serve your association.
I have extensive experience with community associations and would love to help yours. Please reach out to the Fernandez Law team today to discuss your association’s needs.
We offer legal assistance in all matters of condominium association law, homeowners and community association law, real estate litigations and transactions, residential and commercial closings, and insurance law.
We pride ourselves of our level of commitment to our clients. We love what we do, and we do it with utmost care and professionalism.