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If you have big dreams about the beautiful and sunny state of Florida, along with its huge real estate potential, and thought this would be a great place to build a law firm as you set out on your career, you might want to rethink it. In May 2010, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled banks no longer need an attorney during loan and mortgage closings.

LawCrossing.com founder A. Harrison Barnes says what initially began as a lawsuit claiming banks were practicing law illegally each time they closed a loan without an attorney present to handle the documents has now become an interesting legal quagmire. Some say the ruling is good for homeowners since legal fees are no longer considered part of the closing costs. But is it really benefitting homeowners? The LawCrossing.com founder says there are legitimate reasons legal representation is important in mortgage closings. For one thing, the title searches associated with ensuring land and property is free of encumbrances protects the buyer. When lawyers are a part of the closing process, the odds of potential problems is minimized too, says Barnes. “Often, bankers and loan officers are busy focusing on the financial aspects and they’re not experienced in the legalities associated with closings; or at least, not to the extent an attorney is”. Attorneys provide invaluable support for both parties. The legalities of the contract itself, the appraisals and even home inspections are often reviewed by an attorney prior to the closing. “Lawyers are the ideal people to have around so that non-biased advice can be given during the contract signings”. This will likely be a move that captures the attention of other states, too, says A. Harrison Barnes. Especially with the major mortgage meltdown of less than five years ago, covering the bases now is more important than ever.

Most in the Sunshine State have accepted the ruling, but many loan officers, mortgage companies and banks must now ensure they’re in state compliance and it may be they’re doing so without the benefit of an attorney. A. Harrison Barnes points, “It’s important to keep in mind, too, that just because legal representation isn’t necessary during loan closings, there remains an important role for legal minds whose specialties are in real estate law.

For now, it doesn’t look like the ruling will not be appealed; however, it’s also just recently been ruled on, so anything can happen. Right now, homeowners are more than happy with having fewer dollars in closing costs; it could be that some will realize the absence of an attorney will cost much more than legal fees at the time of closing.

For the latest in legal jobs throughout the state of Florida, whether it’s in real estate law or family law, be sure to visit LawCrossing.com. Here you’ll find thousands of jobs for attorneys, paralegals, court reporters and other roles filled throughout the legal profession, as well as articles and even help with your resume.

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