Facing Real Estate Litigation? How to Choose the Right Attorney
June 30th, 2022
Contributor: Gerrard L. Grant
Whether you’re a residential or commercial buyer or seller, there may come a time when you face a real estate dispute that must be litigated. Issues can arise in connection with eminent domain matters, breaches of contract, boundary disputes, adverse possession claims, and various other substantive issues. In such cases, it’s imperative to have the representation of an attorney to protect your legal rights and financial interests.
Selecting a Florida Real Estate Litigation Attorney can often feel overwhelming — and you might be wondering how to choose the right attorney for your real estate litigation matter. Below are some tips to guide you through the process.
1. Choose an Attorney Who Focuses on Real Estate Law
Just as doctors have specialties, every attorney has a particular area of law in which they practice. When choosing the right attorney to represent you for your real estate litigation matter, it’s important to retain one who focuses on real estate law. You may not want to use the same attorney for your real estate issue as you did for your personal injury case. Real estate litigation is a highly niche practice area and requires specific knowledge — and experience.
2. Ask for Referrals
Asking trusted sources for referrals is one of the best ways to find a good attorney. You might consider inquiring with a family member, friend, business associate, or another person with whom you are acquainted who recently required the assistance of a Florida real estate litigation attorney. Although every case is unique and will have a different outcome, you can still ask them what their experience was like working with the attorney. You might also consider contacting your local bar association or an attorney in a different field of law for a referral.
3. Select a Real Estate Lawyer Who Has Vast Litigation Experience
Critically, real estate litigation is not the same as real estate transactional work. Just because an attorney is well-qualified to draft contracts, provide strategic advice, and handle the closing process does not mean that they have the skill or experience to successfully litigate a case. While some attorneys handle both transactional issues and litigation matters, not all do — it’s crucial to ask your attorney about their experience in the courtroom to determine whether they are a good fit to represent you in your case.
4. Pick an Attorney Who Can Provide Personalized Attention
Communication is one of the most important aspects of the attorney-client relationship. You will want to ask the attorney how often you will hear from them and whether you will be working with them directly, or a paralegal. Since real estate litigation can be stressful and overwhelming, it is essential to have an attorney by your side who listens to your concerns and makes themselves available by phone or email to meet your needs.
5. Ask How They Approach Their Cases
Every case is different and it’s vital to have an attorney who doesn’t take a uniform approach to each matter. An attorney’s approach to your case should be specifically tailored to the facts and circumstances. It’s also important for a real estate litigation attorney to have a solid background in negotiation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Even if they are headed to litigation, some cases can be resolved through mediation or arbitration — reducing the amount of time and money that would otherwise be spent in litigation.
6. Be Sure to Understand the Fee Structure
When retaining an attorney, it is critical to understand the fee structure, including the hourly fee and the amount you must provide for a retainer. Typically, for litigated matters, you will enter into a retainer agreement in which you provide a certain amount of the attorney’s fees in advance — they will draw upon the retainer fee for their services and any expenses related to the litigation until it is exhausted. An attorney may charge a flat fee for routine matters that aren’t very complex. However, flat fees are very rare in litigated cases since there are so many variables involved.
7. Be Wary if an Attorney Guarantees a Specific Outcome
No matter how experienced an attorney might be and how successful their track record has been in the courtroom, a good attorney will never guarantee specific results. Guaranteeing or implying a certain outcome in your real estate litigation matter is a violation of the attorney ethics rules in Florida. Your attorney may discuss the pros and cons of your case — as well as their feelings regarding whether it will be successful on the merits — but they cannot make promises as to a particular conclusion.
Contact an Experienced Florida Real Estate Litigation Attorney
If you’ve encountered a real estate litigation matter, diligent counsel can make all the difference to the outcome of your case. At Waugh Grant, PLLC, our skilled legal team handles a wide variety of residential and commercial real estate matters in litigation and strives to secure the best possible outcome for each client. We welcome you to contact us at email@example.com or call (321) 800-6008 to learn how we can assist you.
Categories: Real Estate Law