By Jan Bergemann

Published February 8, 2019


Board members should always remember: A good attorney can save them lots of money while a bad attorney can lead to financial ruin of the association.


An attorney who always finds “interpretations” that supports the board members’ desire is outright dangerous, because what certain board members want is not always in accordance of the law.


A good board needs an attorney that tells them exactly what’s right or wrong – and not what they hope to hear to push their private agenda.


Furthermore, it’s important to have a specialized attorney practicing community association laws since many years as an attorney. Remember, ten years ago, during the economic melt-down in our nation, many attorneys lost their regular clientele – and suddenly you could find on the website of a divorce attorney the note that he/she is specialized in association law (just as an example).


Many of the older board members are still looking for an attorney “nearby.” Don’t forget: The times when the client had to show up at the attorney’s office for a conference are long past. Nowadays business is done by cell phone, computer or telephone. No more long travels to the attorney’s office. Technology has replaced the personal visits – saving a lot of time and/or money.


Good community association law attorneys are charging a pretty steep hourly rate, but deservedly so. While an experienced attorney knows his/her way around in community association law and case law created by court and/or arbitration rulings, an unexperienced lawyer has to do a lot of research in order to find all the necessary information to come up with optimal results to questions and/or responses to lawsuits – meaning the bill of an unexperienced “specialist” will in the end be much higher than the bill of an experienced attorney who charges a much higher hourly rate. Remember: Research takes a lot of time – meaning billing hours.


All in all: Attorneys are a typical example why a system that allows a profession to regulate itself doesn’t work. Even attorneys have to admit, that the system created by the BAR punishing attorneys doesn’t really work. An attorney once said to me: “In order for the BAR to take serious action against an attorney requires that this attorney either shoots his client in his office or embezzles a Million Dollars from a trust account. Any other violation just ends with a slap on the wrist!”

Scary thought, isn’t it?

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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