Love them or hate them. But you must work with attorneys to run your association effectively. Here are six tips for getting the most out of your attorney-client relationship.
1) Get it in writing. “Make sure you have an engagement letter,” says Justin D. Park, an attorney at Romero Park & Wiggins P.S. in Bellevue, Wash. “It really protects both sides.” The engagement letter should identify at least two basics: what you’re hiring the attorney to do and how the attorney will be paid.
2) Designate a contact person. “The best relationships I’ve had with clients have been when they’ve had a clear contact person,” says Park. “Sometimes two or three people will contact me and say, ‘Do this’ or ‘Do that,’ and I don’t have a clear line of communication. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as everybody on the board knows who it is and the attorney knows exactly whom to call. Associations can even designate different points of contact for different purposes. For instance, there may be a board member responsible for dues collection. But if there’s a litigation, contacts go to another person.”