Lawyers often play a big role in outlining a road map for investors looking into developing a property — making a streamlined process for a more efficient and lucrative investment journey.
ClarkeKann Lawyers' James Nickless and Ian McKnight, together with Smart Property Investment's Phil Tarrant, lists three things for developers to look for in a law firm that could provide them the best service possible:
1. Law firms with end-to-end approach
The right law firm will be able to handle every single important matter throughout an investor's strata journey—from property development, banking and finance, litigation, and other aspects.
"There are some firms that are boutique in the property development space, but then, once the development's up and out of the ground, they don't really do anything from there. And there are other firms that do a lot of things like levy recoverment and by-law enforcement and all those sorts of things, on the back end, in the litigious side," James said.
"You want a firm that does the whole ambit so that throughout your whole strata journey, whether that starts as a developer, [or] goes on as a lot owner and [who] might deal with site acquisition in the future, you've got skill sets within that firm, that can handle every single matter."
2. Lawyers who admit their limitations
While investors will obviously be looking for the best of the best, Ian and James believe that truly good lawyers will have the courage to say that there are aspects of a particular matter that is better handled by experts outside the firm.
"I think experience is important, too. I mean, no lawyer knows everything, and it may well be that there may be an aspect of a particular matter for which you need to go outside the firm even," Ian explained.
"I think a good lawyer will admit that. He might need to go to a barrister to get a particular point clarified. He might need to go to a particular expert in another area of the law."
"While the wide range of the firm is important, again, it's a case of knowing who to look for, when to look for them... to bring about a complete package," he added.
3. The best law firm, not the cheapest
In building a financial team, investors must pay attention to the quality of the service that can be provided by the law firm.
"I would say that you shouldn't really price shop on lawyers. Just because they're the cheapest, doesn't make them the best. Sometimes you need to pay good money for good advice," Phil said.
Tune in to Ian McKnight and James Nickless' episode in The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the rules behind strata, the politics involved with the owners' corporation, as well as their tips and tricks to ensuring buyers receive the right advice at the right time.