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Trends in Real Estate Law

Trends in real estate occur due to major changes in society from increased local populations to the passing of new real estate laws. All buyers, sellers and investors should understand that real estate trends are volatile and could change at anytime.

Interest rates will remain stable

Mortgage interest rates have remained stable for years with little variation. Whenever the rate changes, it’s a small fluctuation that does not become too high or too low. Since 2021, the average rate has been 3.1% for an average, long-term, fixed-rate mortgage loan. For 2022, the rate is expected to rise slightly but not skyrocket.

Housing prices will increase

Housing prices have increased in 2021 since 2020. The prices are expected to continue rising in 2022 but more slowly than in 2021. Several reasons include fewer home sales and fewer homes on the market so that fewer buyers needed housing by the end of 2021.

Increase in foreclosures

Real estate experts predict the return of homes to the market through foreclosures. The financial industry stalled on foreclosures and wage garnishments due to financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemics. In 2022, there is an expected surge of foreclosures and auctions when more restrictions are lifted.

However, the increase in foreclosures will not result in a housing crisis as seen in 2008. Any major problems are expected to affect homeowners who have been struggling to pay their mortgage since 2021 or for years beforehand.

Rise in Rental Rates

In 2021, rental demands have increased in major cities, and more rental places are being built in suburban areas. In 2021, the U.S. median rate for rent increased by 12.1% due to the increased demands. However, this increase in rates is not predicted to be sustained in 2022.

The new year is also expected to bring a return to evictions, which are increasing every month. Even so, the rates remain low and are similar to the rates before the pandemic occurred.

Predicting trends for 2022

Real estate trends are constantly changing every year. Several factors include changes in the economy, changes in the mortgage or banking industry and the effects of a recent pandemic. Every year, real estate buyers and sellers should review these trends to decide how they should make their next big decision.

What to Expect in Real Estate Law in 2022

The real estate industry is among the most litigated sectors. The coming year will be no exception as a number of legal issues will be resolved in courts.

In New York, for example, Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced a proposal to fix problems with housing supply. Her proposal is to change laws that regulate the density of housing.

The current law in New York limits the floor area ratio of a dwelling to 12. The city of New York wants greater autonomy to address issues of housing density. It’s something of a controversial issue because some believe density is a safety issue while some landlords argue that allowing more people to live in smaller spaces is better for their bottom lines.

Expect this to be an issue in New York and other parts of the United States.

Observers are watching a new case in Virginia that pertains to members of the military.

A new Virginia law would expand the state’s prohibition on discrimination against military members in residential areas.

The Virginia Legislature is considering a law that adds “military status” as a group protected by the Virginia Fair Housing Law. This law currently only protects veterans. The new law would include a larger class of military members, such as active-duty personnel.

Another real estate issue that will be litigated in 2022 is the Force Majeure Clause. Force Majeure is a term that means “an event or effect that cannot be reasonably be foreseen or controlled.”

The way it works in real estate is the Force Majeure can be used to excuse the meeting of an obligation by a particular party when that party is prevented from its obligated action because of unforeseeable circumstances. It must be something that is obviously outside the control of the obligated party. In other words, it is an “act of God.”

COVID-19 has become a major factor in this regard. Because of the many complications produced by the pandemic, many landlords had trouble completing projects they were obligated to do, such as implementing structural upgrades to their properties and for the benefit of their tenants. Things like labor shortages and supply chain disruptions are examples of roadblocks faced by landlords.

Force Majeure has become a big issue in the COVID era. Thus, this will be the subject of many real estate cases in the courts for 2022.

Should your company hire a full-time lawyer?

Every business needs a lawyer at some stage of its development. It’s important to know if a lawyer is needed at all times. This is not the case for small businesses but common for corporations. There are several facts to remember when deciding to hire a full-time lawyer.

Constant threat of litigation

The most obvious reason to hire a full-time lawyer is because the company or organization is constantly under threat of litigation. Large companies and corporations have millions of customers and receive millions of complaints every year. If they’re sued and lose, they have to give millions of dollars in individual or class-action settlements.

In addition, dissatisfied customers often leave negative reviews about the company online. Lawyers are useful at reviewing complaints and improving the company’s reputation. They can file a countersuit against customers who try to commit fraud.

It’s too late after the lawsuit

Hiring a full-time lawyer from the beginning is recommended. It may be too late to hire one after the lawsuit begins. The best time to hire one is at least six months before the business is sued. It’s necessary to allow enough time to research the most qualified professionals in the area and check their credentials.

Also, a lawyer prevents a disaster from happening in the first place. He or she recognizes the early signs that a lawsuit will occur and takes actions to stop it. Lawyers also regularly give advice on how to comply with local, state and federal business laws. With a legal expert’s advice, a business owner avoids fines, the loss of a business license and other penalties.

High-cost legal expenses

Lawyers charge expensive hourly fees for their clients. If they work full time or overtime, their legal fees will not be affordable for every company. Smaller businesses need to hire part-time lawyers or consult legal advice only when it’s necessary.

Hiring a full-time lawyer depends on numerous factors from the business’s risks to the owner’s fear of litigation. A lawyer will benefit any business owner by providing a full range of legal advice based on years of experience. However, there are expensive fees attached to every service provided. It’s important to fully understand if and when it’s necessary to put a full-time lawyer on the staff.

Tips for Preparing for the LSAT

Taking the LSAT is an arduous but essential step for anyone who wants to go to law school. Students want to know how to use LSAT preparation in hopes of a higher score. These tips can help students plan their LSAT preparation journey and get off to a strong start.

Dedicated Study Time

One tip for LSAT preparation is to schedule time for studying. Students need at least a three-month preparation period. Dedicated students should schedule time in their calendars just for LSAT preparation. Students who are only a few months away from their test date need to schedule a few hours each day, adding up to twenty to twenty-five hours a week. Students with test dates further off have a bit more leeway.

LSAT Prep Materials

Many different types of LSAT prep materials exist, and finding the right one or mix of materials is key to effective studying. Depending on learning styles, time available, and price points, different options may be more effective for a given student. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) provides free full-length practice tests and free materials through a partner organization. Some brands use actual questions from previous years, and each brand typically has a study plan and access to complimentary materials. Students should make sure to compare the options before committing.

LSAT Prep Class

LSAT prep courses are officially designated in-person or virtual classes that walk students through the preparation process. While some universities offer these, most courses are from a specific LSAT preparatory brand. Students purchase both the materials for the class and pay for the instruction. This can cost a considerable amount of money, but some students find it worth it. Students should check out reliable sources to make sure that the company offering the course is legitimate.

Self-care and Studying

Finally, studying for the LSAT is stressful, so students should plan time to take care of themselves. Especially after full-length practice test days, it is a good idea to plan something fun. Even watching a movie, getting together with friends, or integrating a meditation practice can help ease the anxiety that comes with LSAT prep so that students can focus better.

Taking the LSAT can create a lot of pressure, but the payoff is worth it after acceptance into law school. Time and effort for the LSAT should complement the time and effort that students put into their other application materials. The more effort students put in upfront, the better.

Understanding Pro Bono Work in Real Estate Law

Taking on a pro bono case is recommended to every lawyer at some point in his or her career. It’s a way for lawyers to give back to the community and satisfy their work experience requirements. There are plenty of good reasons why professionals should consider working pro bono in real estate law.

Practice Before Stepping into the Real World

Pro bono work allows lawyers to gain experience and learn more about practicing legal work if they’re not ready to handle real cases. For an exceptionally difficult case, a lawyer doesn’t have to charge any fees and risk a lawsuit if the plaintiff is unhappy with the final bill. Working pro bono also allows a lawyer to spend more time reviewing the case, without charging any fees, and develop his or her professional skills.

Take on a Diverse Range of Cases

Practicing law pro bono gives lawyers access to a wider range of clients and cases. They can work for clients who realistically could not afford their services and take on newer, more interesting cases. For instance, real estate lawyers who are used to working for high-income property owners can work pro bono and handle real estate problems that affect lower-income rural or urban property owners.

Benefit a Community in Need

A working-class or small town community that is at the center of a class-action lawsuit may need pro bono workers. Struggling property owners who are battling aggressive corporations are people who need free to low-cost legal services. Any lawyer who cares about the rights of land and property owners should consider working without profit in mind. It’s a way to benefit a group of community that is in dire need of representation.

Build a Positive Reputation

Working for the community allows a lawyer and law firm to build a positive reputation and accumulate good reviews. Reputation is the most important factor for every legal provider when finding new clients and retaining the old clientele.

Lawyers are beneficial to the entire community, but they often work for the more privileged segments of the population. Both lawyers and low-income clients benefit from pro bono services that are provided in real estate law. A lawyer shows true integrity and dedication by committing to pro bono legal services.

Making Your Business More Competitive

There’s no denying that the digital revolution has increased the competitive nature of commercial business, but it has also given entrepreneurs and small business owners more resources. Digital marketing has exploded in recent years, providing free, low-cost, and premium marketing solutions to fit every budget. The following tips will help you use these resources more effectively to grow your business.

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

When you created your business plan, one of the things you will have done was to analyze your competitors to determine how you can enter the market. You should still be watching your competitors to see how they are marketing their brands and what effects they’re having on consumers. This will help you determine strategies for competing in that same market. You’ll also avoid making common mistakes by observing how and when your competitors’ marketing attempts are failing.

Learn About Your Customers

Over time, data analytics can help you determine your key demographic groups so you can target them with your marketing campaigns. Even after you know which groups are most receptive to your products and brand, you should still be looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction. Email surveys to past customers, pay attention to what your customers are saying on social media, and respond to customer inquiries and complaints. These resources can help you fine-tune your approach in maintaining a higher level of customer satisfaction.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of SEO

Search engine optimization or SEO is an essential tool to every business owner and entrepreneur. It’s a free resource you can use to increase the visibility and reach of your website by helping you rank higher in organic search results. Once you know how to use keyword phrases, authoritative links, and other SEO practices, you can create content that will help search engine crawlers recognize your site as a reliable source. Your site will gain more relevant traffic, and that will lead to higher conversion rates for your business.

If you feel frustrated or confused by the vast choices in digital marketing, you’re not alone. An established digital marketing team can help you explore the options available to you as you stay within your marketing budget. Working with a professional marketing team can help you grow your business through the consistent use of state-of-the-art marketing tools.

Staying On Top of Your Self-Care While in Law School

Law school is an intense time in which students must learn and analyze a large amount of information. Meanwhile, the additional opportunities for students outside of classes are highly competitive. With all of the stress from law school, students need to understand how to maintain their mental health to avoid burnout. Self-care is an essential part of maintaining a healthy study-life balance. These tips help law students engage in self-care to keep focused.

Prioritizing Sleep

Law school demands long hours of study, and it is easy to sacrifice sleep to meet those demands. One of the simplest tips for a self-care routine is to sleep an adequate number of hours each night. Getting enough sleep helps keep stress down, and a clear mind helps with studying. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults need to sleep for seven to nine hours each night.

Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness is a meditative practice that involves bringing awareness to the present moment. This way students do not focus on their worries for upcoming exams or papers. Mindfulness meditation as self-care can decrease anxiety and improve mood. Students can also do it in short increments, such as between classes or right before an exam begins. Even a few minutes of quiet inner reflection can help calm the mind.

Personal Projects

Another way to engage in self-care is to schedule time to work on enjoyable projects that are not part of coursework. It is easy for students to focus solely on studying while in law school but pursuing an interest outside of school can help students take a break from their stress. It also helps students work on skills not addressed in their programs. Depending on their interests, students could set aside time for reading, hiking, crafting, or volunteering. Evidence suggests that cultivating interests outside of work helps build confidence and mental strength. The same fundamental principle can apply to law school. Turning this time into group activities can also provide self-care by interacting with friends and family outside of law school.

Self-care has many benefits for students, especially those pursuing a law degree. Simply put, self-care means prioritizing the self. Taking the time to engage in activities that are healthy and nurturing can help law students keep calm and do their best.

The Socratic Method Explained

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates lived and died in Athens about 2,400 years ago. His remarkable teachings have remained vital throughout the centuries, however, because his wisdom has proven to be profound, timeless and universal.

Among his most famous teaching methods is named after him –- The Socratic Method.

To understand what this is, consider what Socrates believed to be true about all human beings. He said that everyone already has all the knowledge they need inside of themselves. The answers we all seek are buried within our own psyches.

For Socrates, true learning was not just looking outward to seek answers by reading learned texts or by listening to brilliant teachers. Rather, the philosopher encouraged his students to turn inward and attempt to draw forth the vast wisdom that already exists within one’s own multi-layered consciousness.

To make this happen, Socrates developed a method in which he would start asking his students questions. Then he would relentlessly continue to ask more and more questions based on the answers the students provided. The answer to each question is like a “doorway” that leads to ever-deeper layers of knowledge.

The question-answer process between student and teacher is called the dialectic. The latter is defined as “the process of discussing or investigated the truth of opinions.”

Note that there is both a practical and metaphysical element to The Socratic Method.

The practical aspect is the interaction of the teacher-student dialectic. As for the metaphysical part, Socrates maintained that every man (and woman) is guided by his or her inner “daemon.” This is a divine spirit, oracle or some sort of semi-personified source of wisdom that can take the form of an “inner voice” one can get brilliant answers from if you cultivate the skill to do so.

Modern psychology has embraced this concept as well. For example, the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung developed a method he called “active imagination.” Today it is sometimes called “Jungian active imagination.”

To practice active imagination, a person is encouraged to sit in a relaxed state. You then start to encourage yourself to imagine that you are having a conversation with some “wise person.” For example, you might pretend that you are having a conversation with Albert Einstein, Elanore Roosevelt or even Socrates himself.

You then ask your “wise figure” a question and attempt to “imagine” what his answer will be. Many people are surprised when their “imaginary guide” begins to speak back to them with novel responses to questions that appear to be more than just one’s own imagination making things up.

Resources to Build your Knowledge of the Legal Industry

Increased digitalization and automation have affected how legal services are offered. The legal profession has been going through a moment of profound changes. New technology and globalization have transformed the entire global economy, with tech companies and startups domineering international markets. Hence, traditional businesses should either innovate new strategies or get out of the market. The legal industry is facing an identity crisis to keep up with the changes. Below are tips that offer resources to build your knowledge of the legal industry.

Digitalizing Legal Education

Due to increased digitalization and innovation, lawyers and law students must adopt the new skills for future lawyers to meet their client’s needs effectively. Innovations in legal education have resulted in the emergence of new programs and courses matching the global landscape complexity. Therefore, students are equipped with the techniques and tools required to offer effective legal services in the digital era. Both established lawyers and law students must view education as a continuous process so that they can constantly update their computer science and knowledge to remain relevant in the changing commercial world.

Being T-Shaped Lawyers

Future lawyers should combine a deep understanding of the law with soft skills and other technical knowledge. A T-shaped lawyer is a term explaining a combination of these concepts because the vertical bar in T stands for core knowledge in legal matters. In contrast, the shorter horizontal bar represents an understanding of various disciplines such as data security, technology, and business. Therefore, T-shaped lawyers are better positioned to solve their client’s problems and collaborate with other professionals due to their capacity to combine knowledge in various disciplines.

Learning Coding Language

One of the essential competencies is the ability to code. Currently, most lawyers know how to code. The skill is most important for the legal, technical team developing legal applications and software. Although the skill may seem unnecessary to in-house lawyers, it is an advantage to their competency while advising their clients. While future lawyers may not be responsible for turning over the firm’s backend, appreciating the programming gives them a better standing in the digital commercial landscape.

In conclusion, lawyers need to adopt technology because it offers greater returns by reducing time spent on low margins and repetitive actions. For instance, when dealing with minor insurance claims, it is time-saving to automate standardized contracts or implement chatbots to respond to client’s concerns efficiently. The systems effectively work in other industries like retail and banking and can work in the law industry.

How Has the Legal Industry Recovered from the Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the legal industry particularly hard. Lawyers have retained their work but have experienced a severe backlog of cases and increased deadline pressures. One year later, the industry is recovering well from the effects of the pandemic and more effectively than other industries have.

Case Management Systems

Court systems across the U.S. have faced an overloaded backlog of civil and criminal cases. To reduce their workloads, prosecutors and other court officials are only sending the most urgent and highest priority cases to court.

Some courts have formed case management teams and projects to sort through the clutter. They have created goals for how many cases they want to do each week along with timelines for when to complete their goals.

Legal Software Programs

Most legal assistants now use business software programs to manage their cases. Software is useful at organizing large amounts of data and information. When there are surges in court cases, using advanced software is not an option when it’s necessary to sort through thousands of cases.

Software also helps a law firm to review important business metrics about the impact of the pandemic. These metrics include the number of court cases that have become backlogged, the number of urgent cases, the loss in profits, etc. Overall, technology is needed to overcome the legal industry’s challenges in dealing with COVID-19.

Steady Influx in Cases

The inflow of legal cases in all practice areas has remained high. The number of cases in real estate, wills and intellectual property have increased steadily. This proves that certain areas of law are in full recovery mode, which means that many lawyers are guaranteed work now and indefinitely. Every month, most practice areas are continuing to show increases in new caseloads.

Recovery in the legal field will continue to rise across most U.S. states. When the pandemic first hit, lawyers were required to stay at home temporarily, and cases became backlogged. In most states today, the number of cases have returned to normal baseline levels that were present before the pandemic hit.

The recent pandemic has spurred the American court systems to implement stronger disaster recovery programs. Even so, lawyers, judges and court clerks have quickly resumed going to work. Overall, legal professionals have recovered well from the crisis by learning to manage their time and priorities well.