Real Estate

How to find a competent lawyer?

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  • Aug 23rd, 2019 11:44 am
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[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2015
60 posts
28 upvotes
Toronto, ON

How to find a competent lawyer?

My agent referred a couple real estate lawyers for me but I don't really feel they are competent. Normally how do people find a good real estate lawyer?
I want to get a lawyer that isn't just a rubber stamp and can actually do research and know their stuff (e.g. go through status certificate and explain key notes to me).
I don't have a wide social circle so I can't rely on my friends to refer one to me.

(BTW I'm in downtown Toronto if anyone can suggest a good lawyer around that area).
17 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 16, 2015
2489 posts
2140 upvotes
Canada
Lol the actual paperwork and title search etc will be done by the assistants. The lawyer will just meet you once when everything is ready to go through stuff and sign things.
To the moon
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 9, 2015
60 posts
28 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Redsanta wrote: Lol the actual paperwork and title search etc will be done by the assistants. The lawyer will just meet you once when everything is ready to go through stuff and sign things.
Yeah that's my impression. Do all lawyers do this now? Then maybe I will change my question, how to find a competent lawyer assistant that can actually talk with me, go through key notes in documents?
Deal Fanatic
Feb 22, 2011
9485 posts
11680 upvotes
Toronto
I think most people are referred by someone they trust. I have only used one for the last 4 purchases, was great and advised me in detail, once even to reneg on a deal which meant more work for him for the same pay. His office is at Coxwell and Eastwood.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2007
8043 posts
4023 upvotes
Ask around and best to get a referral from someone you know. There are a lot of lawyers out there but it takes a bit of work to find a good one. It's also good to ask the lawyer a few questions before you decide to proceed with them just to get a sense of whether they will meet your expectations.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 26, 2007
5954 posts
1430 upvotes
???
Op pm me if you want a referral. However he’s located in Richmond Hill. Highway 7 and Leslie area. He’s thorough (he personally goes through all documents I send him, has his legal staff to reply and in the in person meeting he goes over it all with me again and address any questions or issues I may have) and I’m happy with his services. Also while he’s not always readily available his staff is and they work promptly to address and questions or issues I have.
Sr. Member
May 3, 2013
643 posts
199 upvotes
Toronto
OP, I think you are expecting too much of a real estate lawyer. Their job is to ensure your interest in protected and that the agreement of purchase or sale is executed as described. If there are specific issues in the agreement that stands out, the lawyer will point that out. All the lawyers I've dealt with does a thorough review of the status certificate to highlight key points and bring up any issues. The status certificate package could be hundreds of pages as it would include all the declaration, description, and by-laws. As a buyer, your main interest is in the first 2-5 pages specific to the unit and summarizing the condition of the condo's financial situation and if there are outstanding expected expenditures. Even those pages, anyone can review it as it has minimal legalese.

All lawyers I've seen will summarize the financial points, but will not make any stance on it. Meaning, they won't say whether or not the current reserve is sufficient. They would state if the condo has been audited. These auditors should be the experts in ensuring maintenance fees can cover current and future expenses. It is not the lawyer's job to make this conclusion.

The lawyer also won't go thru the declaration and description with you, unless you have specific questions. You can ask if Airbnb is allowed, if smoking is allowed, etc, and the lawyer will confirm those, but going thru those docs section by section, I doubt any lawyer would do that with the client.
Member
Feb 15, 2018
327 posts
395 upvotes
As a general rule I say avoid generalist lawyers who do everything from divorce to injury claims. I have found that the more specialized a lawyer is the better they are in that area.
Jr. Member
Oct 14, 2010
196 posts
111 upvotes
Toronto
Search Harriet Altman on this site. She has been recommended by a lot of people, and based on that we used her very recently.
She just closed an investment condo for us. We found her to be reasonably priced, answering her own phone, and easily reachable.

Our closing had a protracted back on forth due to the seller and his agent messing up the APS. This led to extra work beyond the regular boiler-plate real estate closing. Although she had to put in extra work due to this she did not charge us anything extra. We really appreciated that.

The lawyer we had used for our own house closing, shifted all of our work to a paralegal, and nobody (i mean not even once) ever returned our calls or replied to emails. EVER.

This closing was a much better experience. Her charges are about what you would expect, but the service and support is way better than the regular lawyer.

good luck!
Deal Addict
Jan 26, 2016
1706 posts
1594 upvotes
Toronto, ON
vaportech wrote: Op pm me if you want a referral. However he’s located in Richmond Hill. Highway 7 and Leslie area. He’s thorough (he personally goes through all documents I send him, has his legal staff to reply and in the in person meeting he goes over it all with me again and address any questions or issues I may have) and I’m happy with his services. Also while he’s not always readily available his staff is and they work promptly to address and questions or issues I have.
phill ??
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 2, 2010
15193 posts
4924 upvotes
Here 'n There
sha8192 wrote: My agent referred a couple real estate lawyers for me but I don't really feel they are competent. Normally how do people find a good real estate lawyer?
I want to get a lawyer that isn't just a rubber stamp and can actually do research and know their stuff (e.g. go through status certificate and explain key notes to me).
I don't have a wide social circle so I can't rely on my friends to refer one to me.

(BTW I'm in downtown Toronto if anyone can suggest a good lawyer around that area).
How do you, who I assume is not a lawyer, know that before they have even performed the legal work for you? Going by personality? clothes? hair style?
Sr. Member
Nov 9, 2017
652 posts
67 upvotes
Redsanta wrote: Lol the actual paperwork and title search etc will be done by the assistants. The lawyer will just meet you once when everything is ready to go through stuff and sign things.
My lawyer didn't want to meet. The assistants insisted I just pickup the paperwork. I wanted to give him a run for the money so I insisted I must see him which was a good thing because if anything goes wrong you can hopefully remember what the lawyer said in person. My point being they source out everything and not always want to even meet with you.
Sr. Member
Nov 9, 2017
652 posts
67 upvotes
sha8192 wrote: My agent referred a couple real estate lawyers for me but I don't really feel they are competent. Normally how do people find a good real estate lawyer?
I want to get a lawyer that isn't just a rubber stamp and can actually do research and know their stuff (e.g. go through status certificate and explain key notes to me).
I don't have a wide social circle so I can't rely on my friends to refer one to me.

(BTW I'm in downtown Toronto if anyone can suggest a good lawyer around that area).
If this is for real-estate lawyer and it's a condo or something that is an average house then any lawyer with CHEAPEST fees would do. I guess you can check to make sure they have insurance...no one probably does.
If this is any other legal matter there is no one lawyer that is good. Lawyers personalities are different and so are their grace and tenacity. Each case requires a different strength trait. There is no such thing as lawyer 100% works for me thing...
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 15, 2016
6737 posts
2323 upvotes
Can anyone recommend a real estate lawyer in Edmonton?
Deal Addict
Mar 27, 2015
1440 posts
529 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
Ask your dentist, family doctor, mental health professional, accountant, etc. People socialize with those in the same income bracket, so those professions will likely know someone. A top-notch doctor will know a top-notch lawyer, etc.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 7, 2007
8043 posts
4023 upvotes
vivibaby wrote: Can anyone recommend a real estate lawyer in Edmonton?
If you are just buying or selling a home, I think the transaction should be fairly straightforward and you should be okay with finding a regular lawyer who specializes in real estate. If the situation is more complex, you may need to do some further research. You can also google canlii.org to find names of lawyers who have won cases in your particular area to get a better idea of their track record but it is only one aspect of the research required to find a good lawyer. You can google "how to find a good lawyer" to learn more about the steps you can take to make sure you are being diligent.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 6, 2002
8587 posts
1487 upvotes
Vancouver
I’ve always enjoyed the service from Feld kalia. Did 4 transactions for the family and myself. They are at richmond and sherbourne.

Www.wearelaw.ca
Autocorrect sucks

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