Tips for Keeping Legal Costs Low Trimming Your Building's Budgetary Expenses

 In today’s economy, co-ops and condos are looking for ways to cut costs wherever they  can, and many are turning to examining their legal bills. The problem is  two-fold: first off, you don’t want to compromise your relationship with your attorney or secondly, sustain  risk high costs resulting from negligence, misinterpretation of documents, or  other oversights.  

 Bruce Cholst, a partner with the Manhattan-based law firm of Rosen Livingston & Cholst LLP, says that every co-op and condo needs a law firm to help them  navigate everyday legal issues such as contracts, sublets, and collection  actions, as well as less-common ones like full-blown lawsuits.  

 Paying By the Hour

 “The vanilla standard in this field is the hourly rate concept,” Cholst says. “Sometimes we will offer a flat fee on certain projects where we can gauge the  amount of time based on our experiences and we’ll take the risk.”  

 The truth is even if there’s no big lawsuit to straighten out, legal fees can really add up for a building.  

 “The financial pressure is on everyone at this stage and I believe that attorneys  understand that the building cannot continue to pay for services they are not  fully utilizing,” says Adam Berenson, vice president and partner of Manhattan’s Dermer Management. “We generally recommend a building commit to a building attorney and use them  almost exclusively; there is of course special instances when you would make an  exception to this. This generally keeps everyone happy.”  

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