Category: Legal Branding

The Importance of Law Firm Branding and Mission Statements
Legal Branding

The Importance of Law Firm Branding and Mission Statements

Branding is essential to a successful legal marketing campaign. Your brand explains your law firm’s value and attracts your ideal clients.

A law firm’s brand is its public identity and personality. A brand is not the services you offer. Instead, it describes how and why you provide these services.

When you are defining your law firm’s brand, a mission statement can be helpful.

How to Draft a Mission Statement

How to Draft a Mission Statement

Think critically about what makes your law firm special. While your brand can include your practice areas, it must focus on the value your firm adds.

As a firm, brainstorm over the following questions:

  • Why do you practice law?
  • Why did you choose your area of expertise (criminal law, personal injury, etc.)?
  • Why are you better than your competitors?
  • Why do your clients love you?

Focus on what makes you exceptional. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and don’t be too humble. The more specific your responses, the more detailed a mission statement you will create.

Once you understand your mission or brand, turn it into a narrative. Infuse your content and design choices with your message. Explain why your practice and your clients matter deeply to your firm.

Why Create a Mission Statement?

A Mission Statement Helps Set You Apart From Other Law Firms

Why Create a Mission Statement?

On the surface, law firms can be difficult to differentiate. But, a mission statement can help set your law firm apart from the competition. Your firm’s history, motivations and culture are unique. A mission statement should explain your culture and outlook to clients.

Generally, clients don’t care how big or old your law firm is. While they are interested in your practice areas and location, these characteristics rarely differentiate you from your competition. Culture sets you apart. Clients want a firm that matches their personality and goals.

For example, imagine two different business-related firms. One has a strong brand identity while the other does not. The non-branded firm’s phonebook ad announces:

“Our Community’s LLC Team. Founded in 1980. Free Consultation.”

A potential client sees that this firm helps with business creation, but not much else.

The branded firm’s website states:

“Our community thrives when small, local businesses are successful. We are a small business and experience the same challenges. We guide, educate and collaborate with our clients through every stage of a business’ life. Let’s build something together.”

The branded firm also boasts a business law blog and a client portal. Together, this firm gives prospective clients a better understanding of how it treats its clients and practices law.

A Mission Statement Educates Your Clients

When clients choose a law firm, there is an emotional component to their decision. Clients often choose lawyers because their early conversations built trust and rapport. A strong brand and marketing strategy can build trust even before the client contacts you.

An accurate mission statement is also the foundation for your clients’ expectations. Honest communication and accurate expectations are the key to strong attorney-client relationships. Don’t tell your clients you are compassionate and patient unless you really are. If you’re not disposed to long appointments with a lot of handholding, own it.

Mission Statements Can Guide Design Choices

As a law firm, you also don’t want a website or marketing campaign that looks like everyone else’s. Logos, images, and color choice all have emotional impact. Your visual elements should be as consistent with your mission or brand as your written content.

For example, people often connect colors with feelings. Red is associated with power while blue is often linked to peace or calmness. Together, Americans associate them with patriotism. What colors represent your law firm best? (For more information, see our article on visual branding.)

When you are developing print or digital materials, consider how your imagery reflects your brand or mission.

Mission Statements Can Guide Design Choices

If you a struggling to brand your law firm, try creating a mission statement that expresses your firm’s individuality and value added. Marketing professionals can also help refine and build law firm brands.

How Client Reviews Help Law Firm Branding
Legal Branding

How Client Reviews Help Law Firm Branding

Do you go to a movie or restaurant without checking its reviews? Thanks to social media, our purchases are often influenced by reviews and ratings. Today, reviews are an important part of legal marketing.

Hiring a lawyer is a big decision. Many potential clients rely on word-of-mouth and reviews to help with their decision. A happy client is a law firm’s best advertising.

Your law firm may be familiar with review-based websites like Martindale and Avvo. But, you can use client reviews in a more active way. Your clients’ opinions and experiences can be a powerful way to extend brand identity.

Reviews on Third-Party Sites

Reviews on Third-Party Sites

Sometimes, clients will voluntarily post a review. These reviews often appear on third-party sites like Facebook or Yelp. These reviews can be sporadic and unreliable.

Everyone loves a positive review! But, your client’s positive review may lack detail and marketing value. Which of these reviews do you prefer?

  • “My lawyer was great!”
  • “My lawyer kept fighting, even when things got tough. She always listened to me. I was surprised how quickly the other side settled! I have already sent friends to my law firm for help. Thank you.”

Both clients were happy with their lawyers. Clearly, the second review gives more information to potential clients. You can’t edit a client’s online review. But, you can encourage happy clients to post detailed online reviews.

If you receive negative reviews, write a prompt and empathetic response. Encourage the unhappy client to meet with you, and work to resolve the issue. While you cannot make everyone happy, prospective clients will notice your quick and courteous response.

How to Create a Client Questionnaire

How to Create a Client Questionnaire

You should also create your own client questionnaire. At the end of a case, send each client this questionnaire. Information from a client questionnaire can be used both internally and for marketing purposes.

A client questionnaire is simple to make, and should ask open-ended questions. Potential questions include:

  • What did our law firm do best?
  • How would you describe your relationship with your lawyer?
  • How would you improve our law firm’s services?
  • Would you hire our law firm again? Why?
  • Would you refer friends and family to us?
  • Would you like a free subscription to our email newsletter?
  • Can we publish your review on our website?

If you want to publish reviews, you must get the client’s permission.

Client Reviews Can Show Strengths and Weaknesses

When you use a client questionnaire, you should analyze the responses, and look for trends.

Internally, these client reviews can be used to highlight a law firm’s strengths and weaknesses. If a staff member is providing exceptional service, it should be recognized and rewarded. Similarly, if clients regularly complain of communication delays (or other problems), you should improve your processes.

Your clients’ experience should always be consistent with your marketing message.

Client Reviews and Website Marketing

Client Reviews and Website Marketing

Again, a well-branded law firm’s reviews will reflect its mission or identity. You can use these reviews to extend your brand.

Prospective clients value reviews. If the reviews are consistent with the law firm’s message, they build trust. So, publish client reviews that express elements of your brand or mission.

For example: A personal injury firm prides itself in both its compassion and fierce representation. These characteristics are the pillars of its marketing message.

On its client review page, the firm has published these comments:

  • “I always knew I could call my lawyer for help. The firm helped me through my darkest hour—and negotiated a great settlement!”
  • “The insurance company couldn’t push my lawyer around. I was in good hands. He never stopped fighting for me.”

These client reviews match the law firm’s message—and are particularly persuasive because they come from clients.

A well-designed law firm website should include published client reviews. Give your prospective clients insight into your firm culture and mission through client reviews.

Use Buyer Personas to Get Better Legal Clients
Legal Branding

Use Buyer Personas to Get Better Legal Clients

Lawyers know their clients, right?

Lawyers think about their clients every day. You understand their daily challenges. You guide them through complicated legal processes. You celebrate their successes and victories. But, do you ever see your clients as buyer personas?

In today’s competitive legal market, lawyers and law firms need to think strategically about client marketing. Buyer personas can bring your law firm the best possible clients.

What is a buyer persona?

Marketers build “buyer personas” when developing a marketing or branding strategy. A buyer persona describes part of your client base and helps you create targeted marketing messages.

Each of your law firm’s buyer personas has different goals and perspectives. A message that convinces a father of a disabled child to hire you for an SSI appeal may differ from than that of a business professional facing a drunk driving charge. Your marketing plan for these two personas should be different.

Your client base contains multiple buyer personas. You need to understand who they are. Once you identify your firm’s personas, you can create branded messages that speak to them.

How to Identify Law Firm Buyer Personas

How to Identify Law Firm Buyer Personas

Since you work closely with your clients, it should not be difficult to identify your firm’s buyer personas. It does, however, take some time.

First, go through your law firm files, and build demographic profiles. Use the data you already have to spot trends.

  • Do you clients tend to be men or women?
  • What are the average ages?
  • What are their average incomes and educational backgrounds?
  • Why did your clients hire you, and not your competition?

Your intake interviews probably contain a lot of this information.

You should also consider who you want your clients to be. Do you want higher income clients? Do you want to expand a practice area? Or, do you want to extend your law firm’s geographic reach? You will create profiles for these desired clients too.

Finally, you need to do market research. If your intake interviews are lacking information, ask your clients for more information. You can send a client survey, or perform a follow-up interview.

You will also want to evaluate your competitors. Examine their marketing materials. Do other law firms target different buyer personas?

What Does a Buyer Persona Look Like?

What Does a Buyer Persona Look Like

Next, build profiles that summarize your client demographics. Your buyer personas may resemble these:

  • Name: J.Q. Public
  • Average Age: 45
  • Job: Skilled laborer/electrician, union steward
  • Goals: Resolve workers’ compensation dispute and protect financial stability.
  • Fears: Losing home and other assets, not getting back to work, tension at home.
  • Attitudes: Not tech savvy, but okay with email. Prefers face-to-face meetings. Experienced with union negotiations and basic employment law.
  • Name: Marta Smith
  • Average Age: 60
  • Job: College Professor
  • Goals: Needs help with estate planning.
  • Fears: End-of-life expenses.
  • Attitudes: Travels often for research. Prefers email and video conferencing. Likes long-form explanations.

Again, your law firm should always have more than one buyer persona.

How to Use Buyer Personas in Law Firm Branding

Now that you have buyer personas, both for your current and desired client base, apply them to your marketing strategy. Think about how you have successfully marketed to a buyer persona in the past. Build a strategy that speaks specifically to each persona.

A marketing strategy for J.Q. Public may include:

  • Both digital and printed workers’ compensation brochures.
  • Discussion of your ties to labor unions.
  • A targeted email campaign about workers’ rights.
  • Offers to run free workers’ compensation and FMLA training sessions at union steward meetings.
  • In-house family law and bankruptcy referrals.

In comparison, Marta Smith’s marketing may involve:

  • A detailed estate planning blog.
  • An electronic client portal, allowing easy access to documents and information.
  • E-books and downloadable forms.

Modern marketing focuses on building a buyer’s trust and confidence. By using buyer personas, law firms can convey expertise, and help build that trust.

Do You Need Marketing Help?

Do You Need Marketing Help?

Lawyers’ time is valuable. Many law firms do not have the time or resources to handle their own branding and marketing. If you need help, contact an experienced professional.

Legal Branding

You Should Have This Conversation with Your Spouse Before Filing for Divorce

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The average divorce rate in America is 50 percent of first marriages and 67 percent of second marriages. With such staggering statistics, it is easy to see why the divorce courts are full. However, what you do not see is the numerous statistics that talk about the couples that divorce and remarry the same person again. According to a survey, two out of every divorced couple will remarry or rekindle their romance. They say that breaking up is a hard thing to do, and according to the numbers, you should ask yourself these three questions before calling a divorce lawyer.

  1. Am I Still In Love?

Though love is not the only thing that matters in a relationship, if you still love this person, then you need to reconsider. There are other options available to work through troubles. Many couples have had great success with marriage counseling. Do not be so willing to throw away the love of your life, especially if there is something that can be done. Many people will not even try counseling or any other options. They just assume that when it is over, it is over. However, it is when they are away from each other, for a few months, that they change their tune. You can save yourself a great deal of heartache and money to find this out before you are divorced. Find out why it is not working, and fix it.

  1. Can I Live Without Them?

You form comforts around knowing the other person is going to be there. You know that when you are in trouble they will come running. Some people try a trial separation to see how things go. In many cases, it is hard to live with them, but it is impossible to live without them. Being apart for a season may help put things into perspective.

 

  1. Am I Ready To Move On?

Everyone must get to that place where they are ready to move on. Can you live with seeing your ex-husband or wife with another person? Most people will date new people and move on with their life. However, it is often the case that the previous relationship cannot handle this. If there are children involved, it can make it especially difficult. You will be tied to this person for life. Seeing them with their new wife or husband will be a reality you must face. Are you ready to move on to a life without them? If not, find out why.
If you can honestly answer all of these questions in favor of a divorce, it is best to get an attorney to help. Having a lawyer to handle the divorce will take some of the pressure from you. They will represent your interests in dividing the marital assets, and they will ensure that you get a fair deal. Be careful about filing a divorce without a lawyer, especially if you have assets. You need someone on your side to handle the paperwork, and they will also be a shoulder to lean on during this difficult time.

Legal Branding

To Mom: How to Keep your Kids Safe While Playing Sports

What You Can Do to Keep Your Active Kids Safe While Playing Sports

It is important for children to be physically active, and sports are a great way for your kids to get the exercise they need. Sports are also helpful for a child’s teamwork skills and social and cognitive development. Even with these many benefits of sports, there are potential hazards, especially the risk of a physical injury. You can take these three actions to keep your kids safe while they play sports.

Provide Your Child with the Proper Equipment

An important first step in keeping your kids safe while they play sports is providing them with the proper equipment. If your child is young and new to a sport, it could be tempting to purchase a secondhand face mask or helmet. However, this could put your child’s life at risk. An old helmet could have interior damage with the protective foam. Some pieces of equipment, such as shoes and helmets, should be purchased new and upgraded as your child grows. Other pieces of equipment, such as a baseball bat or a tennis racket, could be purchased secondhand with no risk to your child’s health or safety. Make sure that your child is assessed for fit by someone who is experienced. The fit of a soccer cleat is different than the fit of a rock climbing shoe.

Check Out the Sports Facility

Many kids’ sports games take place on a public field. Try to take a walk around the field before each game or practice and check for obvious hazards such as a hole or a loose drain cover. Some kids play sports at a facility, such as in an indoor basketball court or gymnastics center. You may wish to check on the facility’s inspection results and licensing status before enrolling your child in lessons or a sports league. Old, dated equipment, peeling paint, loose bolts or rust are all signs that the facility may not be providing safe equipment for your child to use. If the facility where your kids play sports is not up to code or has not been recently inspected, consider contacting a Manhattan injury attorney. You may be able to protect your child’s rights if the facility where your child plays sports was not properly maintaining its equipment or grounds.

Make Sure Coaches and Trainers Are Certified

Anyone coaching a child’s sport or providing training to a child in a sport should be certified by the governing authority of the sport. For example, Little League baseball coaches should be in good standing with the league. Check on whether or not the coach and staff are certified in CPR and first aid. Stay during your child’s practices and games. Watch your child for signs of fatigue. According to the WebMD website, a child is more likely to experience an injury if he or she is already tired and worn out from frequent or intense practices, training sessions or a particularly long game. If you see that your child has had enough, do not hesitate to step in and say something. It is better to deal with an annoyed coach than an injured child.

Keeping Kids Safe

Preventing an injury is much easier on you and your child compared to dealing with the aftermath. Commonsense on the field can prevent many sports injuries, as can wearing the right equipment and training with an experienced coach. If your child does experience an injury, it is important to seek care first and consider taking legal actions after that.

Legal Branding

Three Signs a Loved One Suffers from Domestic Violence

Every relationship is different, and not every couple can get along perfectly all the time. It’s difficult to watch a loved one struggle in an unhappy relationship and let them work it out on their own. However, when disagreements escalate into domestic violence, the situation changes. Many victims of domestic violence need help to escape their abuser. In North Carolina, contacting a Raleigh Domestic Violence Attorney could give your loved one the insight they need to recognize the fact they are in a destructive relationship. Following are three common signs that a loved one might need intervention and help to escape from a domestic violent situation.

Isolation from family, friends, and other support systems

Domestic violence is a crime of isolation. The abuser needs to maintain complete control and power over the victim, and that isn’t possible if the victim has a support system in place. Slowly and subtly over time, many abusers cut their victims off from their family and friends until they reach a point where there is no one they can turn to. Isolation from friends and family keeps the victim dependent on their abuser emotionally, financially, and often physically. If your loved one has quit their job or schooling and slowly over time cut ties with everyone they were once close to, this may be a sign that there is domestic violence and the victim has reached the point where they are unable to reach out for help.

Loss of self-esteem and self-confidence

Emotional abuse is a form of domestic violence where constant belittling and criticism wears away at the victim’s self-esteem. Humiliation, name calling, and constant insults are all ways the abuser controls the victim and chips away at their self-confidence. Denying the abuse ever took place is another tactic the abuser uses to make the victim question their own sense of reality and whether they are being too sensitive or overly dramatic.

Abusers can shift the blame for the abuse back on to the victim. Abusers can make their victims feel responsible for their situation. They may be embarrassed and feel shame that they are not “good enough” to prevent their abuse. Many victims feel like they deserve the abuse or they instigated it. This also makes it hard for them to reach out for help when they feel like they could have prevented it if they could just be a better person.

Showing fear of their partner or the situation

No one should live in fear of their partner or their partner’s reaction. If your loved one is walking on eggshells around their partner for fear that they might say or do something that will set them off, this could be a clear sign that they are abused. Often victims do not know when or what will trigger their partner’s temper, so they live in constant fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Many abusers use intimidation to control their partners. Threats to hurt pets, children, or their victims are all ways to exert control. Abusers can even threaten to hurt themselves as a way to punish their victims and make them feel like everything is their fault.

Summary

Most relationships do not start out as abusive. The abuse starts slowly and builds over time to the point when often the victim doesn’t even recognize that they are being abused until it gets physical. If you suspect a loved one is in an abusive relationship, intervention could be their only hope.

Legal Branding

Minding These Precautions Will Keep You Safe While Shopping in Times Square

Times Square is a favorite destination for shoppers. While visiting, not only will you be able to shop at a variety of outlets, you will be able to tour historic sites and enjoy diverse entertainment options. While Times Square is an impressive place to visit, it can also be potentially dangerous. As it is a bustling area, you as a shopper have many potential hazards to watch out for. Even if you do your best to avoid some of the dangers in Times Square, you may still fall victim of an accident. If you experience a New York sidewalk injury, you have legal options you can pursue. Meanwhile, when shopping in Times Square, be sure to mind these precautions.

Stay Away from Construction Sites

Several news outlets have reported falling debris in Time Square, injuring pedestrians as they walked by. In 2013, a plywood construction wall fell on two women. Two other pedestrians were injured when a 10-foot metal beam fell from 100 feet above them.

While shopping in Times Square, be aware of all construction zones. Take note of where construction is actively happening and where construction is currently on pause. It is especially important to be aware of the surroundings immediately around you as well as what is happening in the buildings above you. Keeping your distance from these sites will keep you safe.

Be Extra Careful Near the Subway Tracks

In 2015, a man was rescued by police when he fell onto the tracks in the Times Square subway station. Although he was conscious, the man stated that he “had no idea what had happened.” This is concerning because it means that this could happen to anyone at a moment’s notice. As you arrive in Times Square to begin your shopping or as you get ready to leave, do not get too close to the tracks. This should protect you from this particularly dangerous type of slip and fall.

Be Aware of Traffic

The Wall Street Journal reported that there were fewer traffic injuries in Times Square since the city built a pedestrian plaza in 2009. However, that does not mean that the area is perfectly safe from these types of accidents. In 2015, two tourist buses collided, injuring 14 people. While this does not mean you should avoid these tourist buses at all costs on your shopping trip, be aware of where the traffic is. Follow pedestrian rules when walking around the city.

Visit During Slow Tourism Seasons

Times Square gets crowded. New York City is a largely populated city and a common tourist destination. With more people around, you will have less visibility of damages to sidewalks and other tripping hazards. You are more likely to bump into other tourists and shoppers as well. If you are planning a shopping trip to Times Square and would like to visit at a less populated time, the quietest time of the year is January through February. However, you must contend with the cold and the additional slipping hazards of ice and snow. Avoid the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas if congestion is a problem for you. You may want to try planning your shopping trip in Times Square in the early fall to experience a happy medium.

Don’t let some of these hazards scare you away from visiting an exciting city full of a lot of shopping potential. Enjoy your time in Times Square. If you are aware of your surroundings, you are sure to have a satisfying and safe experience.

car accidents
Legal Branding

Steps to Take Following an Automobile Accident

car accidents

One of the most devastating things some people ever have to go through is an automobile accident. Some accidents are less severe than others, with just the car being damaged in the collision. Other accidents affect the drivers and passengers who may need to go to the hospital for medical treatment. Getting into a car accident is horrifying, but there are ways to correct the issue and move on so that you can heal from the experience.

What to Do at the Time of an Accident

If you get into a car accident and are able to get out of the vehicle, you need to call local police and exchange insurance information with the other driver. Oftentimes, the police officer will take details of the accident so that you can use this as proof to the insurance provider of what happened. You’ll notice on the back of your insurance card that it states you should never assume responsibility of an accident. This is a safe bet even if you feel you were actually the one at fault. Let the insurance company determine who was at fault for the accident. The moment you assume full responsibility, you’re the one left holding the bag. If you were injured in an accident, you need to wait for medical professionals to come and assess your situation before trying to get out of the car.

Dealing with Car Damage

Car damage is dealt with through the insurance companies. The insurance company will send out an inspection expert after you get into an accident. They’ll assess the damage and give you a specific amount they’ll cover for the damages sustained. You can save money by taking your car to one of their insurance auto shops, but you can go to any shop you like and still get reimbursed. If you were at fault for the accident, your insurance premium could go up because you are now responsible for repairing not only your car, but the other driver’s car as well.

Getting a Car Accident Attorney Involved

For anyone injured in an automobile accident, you need to consider getting a car accident attorney involved. You can find an attorney by visiting the website of TJ Smith, where you can learn about your legal rights following an automobile accident. Car accident attorneys work with victims to ensure that they get the compensation that they need. Oftentimes, when you’re in an accident, you are off work for a period of time that could affect your income and quality of living. You might have medical expenses that your insurance provider won’t cover and don’t know how to pay for these bills. In these cases, an accident attorney will work to get you money so that the accident is just a minor problem and not something that overtakes your life.

Learning How to Heal

Once you receive compensation and have had your car repaired, it’s time to move on. If you were the one at fault for the accident, it might be a smart idea to take a defensive driving course to brush up on your driving skills. If you were hit by someone who was driving recklessly, you need to realize that it’s safe to drive and to not be afraid to get back out on the road. It’s not uncommon for a car accident victim to be hesitant to get behind the wheel again. Therapy can help people in this situation, but the real issue is that you need to just get back out there and drive. One bad experience shouldn’t deter you from enjoying a life of convenience and happiness.

 

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Legal Branding

Understanding and Dealing with Medical Malpractice Situations

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Medical malpractice is common. It is important sometimes for you to be your own doctor. Sometimes the doctors just do not get it right. Why is this? They trained for years in their professional and have likely worked with thousands of patients. Why is it that they still make mistakes? Well, the basic answer is that we live in a world that has not been perfected. Whether in ill intent or by basic misunderstanding or common mistake, it does happen, and sometimes it happens to you or someone you know or love. This could be a mistake that is life altering or even life ending. When this happens, when the treatment given was incorrect and even fatal, what happens next?

There was a patient you was visiting America from her work in Africa. She came down with a fever of 105.4 degrees and was asked to go the Emergency Room. After losing function to most of her organs, they had diagnosed her with malaria, but not the correct strand. The doctors told her family it was too late that their loved one would not make it through the night. They would not take that as an answer. They decided to contact the top doctor in Washington D.C. for infectious disease. It was his expertise that led the doctors working with her malaria case to realize they had not been treating the right strand. They needed to be treating falciparum malaria. As soon as they got her on the right medicine her symptoms started clearing up immediately. Had they waited through the night as they had planned to just see what happened and expected her not to make it, it is very likely she would have died. This is all simply because the doctors had not diagnosed her correctly. This did not have a tragic ending, but some stories do.

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So, had it had a tragic ending, what could the family have done? Would there have been hope to have some sort of retribution for the tragedy that would have occurred? Could they have even figured out that the doctors were to blame for the death that would have otherwise been preventable? This is where it could be wise to hire a lawyer. This incident was a local Pennsylvania incident in which the patient was being treated at the Reading Hospital. You can contact a PA personal injury lawyer for more information about how we may be able to help if you find yourself in a similar situation. Find justice and resolve for the situation you and your family are going through today. You do not have to walk alone with no solace. There can be hope even in the midst of your pain and tragedy. This is not a challenge to be walked through alone. You and your loved ones deserve to know that everything possible has been done to provide you with the resources needed to make it through this time and to be assured that something similar will not happen to another person.

Source: This article was written and published by Gladiator Law Marketing.

Legal Branding

Property Owner Rights When At Risk of Foreclosure

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If your home is at risk of being foreclosed, you are probably having a hard time coping with the stress. In these trying times what one needs the most is information. It also seems that the right information is hard to find when you most need it.

The question that must be foremost on your mind right now is: what are my rights as a property owner, now that I have received a notice of foreclosure?

 

What is Foreclosure?

As you may already know, the legal process of foreclosure occurs when you, as a borrower, start to default on your mortgage payments. One payment missed can snowball into several missed payments. This could lead to your lender threatening to sell off your home or mortgaged property to pay the mortgage balance.

Foreclosure often leads to loss of homes. As a result, there are state laws in place to regulate the process of foreclosure. These laws protect the homeowners with certain legal rights. Learn more about the foreclosure litigation process in your state, and how to sue your lender alleging unlawful lending practices and wrongful foreclosure,

 

What Are Your Rights As a Property Owner?

Your lender will send you a list of your options after they send you the foreclosure notice. While a short sale is an option, you may also have the choice of the deed in lieu of foreclosure or a modification.

The process of foreclosure can take anywhere between five months to three years. During this time you can exercise several rights. Remember, your home is still your own at this time. You have every right to protect it.

Right to catch up with arrears: If you have the means, you may be able to negotiate with the lender to let you catch up with your mortgage arrears. If you have a regular income you can come to an arrangement to pay off the arrears with fees and interest. After you have caught up, the rest of the mortgage repayments will carry on as usual.

It is best to stay in your home during this time as it improves the chances of winning the negotiations based on the property being your primary home.

Right to pay off the full mortgage: you can also pay off your mortgage and take back your home. You get to keep your property and the lender gets the money that is owed.

Right to defend the foreclosure: you have the right to hire a lawyer to defend your home. As a property owner, it is advantageous for you to delay the foreclosure as long as you can since your home is at stake. Make sure you seek legal defense within 20 to 30 days of being sent the foreclosure notice. If you do not, you may end up waiving your right to a lawyer. Also, have a reputable real estate company evaluate your property.

The most important thing is to not panic. Fully inform yourself of your options and fight the foreclosure as far as you can.