Good Tasting Dog Food (aka lawyers.com)

by Jon Lin on October 17, 2009 · 0 comments

in Web 2.0

Dog Food Bowl
Image by JnL via Flickr

I’ve never been a big fan of the expression “eating our own dog food.”  Tech companies in particular (see Google and Oracle) tend to overuse it to show that they believe in their products so much that they are willing to use it for themselves.  Recently though, I had the chance to try some of Martindale-Hubbell’s own dog food.

Over the past few months, my wife and I had been casually shopping for a new apartment.  As a first time home buyer, it was a scary prospect committing large sums of money in bad economy, but rates and prices were low so we figured we get acquainted with the market.  We found an apartment we liked and threw in a low offer to see what would happen.  After a few counteroffers, the sellers accepted our offer!

After the initial excitement, reality quickly set it.  We got by without a broker, but I needed a lawyer and fast.  I got recommendations from all sorts of places – friends, the sellers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, online discussion forums, etc.  Many people try to find the cheapest lawyer to do the transaction, but my parents had lost out on tens of thousands of dollars on an apartment sale in the past because their lawyer didn’t uncover some important risks.  I was willing to pay up for the right person.

So where did I turn to vet all of these referrals?  Being a good corporate citizen, I of course turned to my sister site, lawyers.com.  If I couldn’t even find the lawyer on there, they were eliminated from consideration.  I then looked closely at the practice areas that the lawyer added to their profiles.  If residential real estate was not central to what they did, they were also eliminated.  I did not want someone who dabbled in a number of different matters and just did real estate on the side.  Of the remaining lawyers, 2 of them were AV Peer Review Rated.  I contact both of these lawyers and after speaking with some references for each, I ended up hiring Donna Glasgow.

Although I interact with lawyers more often than most people looking to hire a real estate lawyer, that still didn’t make me feel any more comfortable with the process.  While I was aware that lawyers.com had guides to help you understand your legal issues, I had never actually visited one of these guides myself.  They had one specifically called Buy and Sell a House.  I expected to find info primarily about the legal aspects of the home buying process, but instead I found dozens of useful articles covering the basics of real estate and an overview of the entire process, from deciding whether buying is right for you, to dealing with real estate agents, obtaining mortgage financing, to closing, and of course, to hiring a lawyer.  Bottom line is that I would have benefited greatly from checking this out well before even thinking about hiring a lawyer.

It may ultimately take years for me to know whether I made the right choice in hiring Donna, but so far so good, in no small part thanks to lawyers.com.

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