While some condos and co-ops are lucky enough to have lawyers serve as members of their board, the majority of boards don’t have an in-house legal expert. They often reach out to their attorney to answer questions, vet documents and send the occasional stern letter to a contractor or recalcitrant resident.
The problem is that sometimes, boards will reach out too often, calling attorneys about things they should already know. However, lawyers know boards aren't comprised of a bunch of psychics—there can only be one Miss Cleo, after all. So, to answer boards' frequently asked questions, and to save both boards' and attorneys' phone call time, we polled some area lawyers to come up with a list of the “Top 5 Things Attorneys Wish Boards Knew.”
Who You Gonna Call?
Often times, boards make the mistake of taking legal matters or other administrative tasks into their own hands in an effort to save funds. However, this is a misstep that can lead to financial woes much greater than the cost of professional counsel.
“Take advantage of your professionals—your attorney, your accountant, your managing agent, your engineer—they're there to help,” Eric Goidel, a partner with the Manhattan law firm of Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel, P.C., says. “Spending a few dollars on quality services will yield dividends and insulate board members from liability claims.”
Jeffrey Reich, a partner with the New York-based law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, LLP, agrees.