Why Should You Cast a Wide Net When Performing Your UCC Lien Search?

This is a question we face all the time when discussing our search methodology with customers and other interested parties. What does casting a wide net even mean in this context?

Essentially, it means performing a search so that broad based results are produced, not narrow ones. That might seem counter intuitive since secured parties are required to file their UCCs with the exact legal names of entities and individuals as debtors, but the fact is that one cannot perform a thorough lien search unless this approach is taken.

Here’s why.

Not all liens are filed under the same debtor name rules as found in the Uniform Commercial Code; Federal and State taxing agencies are not required to follow the rules found in Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, for example, and neither are Judgment lien filers.
Therefore, it is important to conduct your debtor name searches in a way to uncover name variations in a particular index since they do exist and they can potentially affect your perfected security interest. That’s why we always say that a general rule of thumb for good business practice in performing a UCC Lien Search is to cast a wide net.

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When Searching Legal Entities in California, Do You Need to Also Search the Officers, Members and Trustees?

This is a question that comes up in the due diligence process and is an important one to consider as you fulfill your lien and corporate search requirements when qualifying new candidates for loans and also as you monitor your perfected security interests going forward. When conducting a search on a legal entity, such as a Corporation, LLC or Trust, should a search be conducted on the officers, members and/or trustees?

The answer depends on the relationship of the individual with the entity.

Generally, there is no need to search the officers, members or trustees of these legal entities. They are considered legal operating entities with the ability to conduct business on their own. However, if a business was ever operated by the officers, members or trustees as sole proprietors then a search may be warranted to uncover possible liens created against the assets by the sole proprietor. A rule of thumb to follow is to err on the side of caution and ask your seller(s) the correct fact finding questions to determine if the conditions that would warrant a search on the individuals in these instances is warranted.

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Does Article 9 Recognize Secured Parties’ Choice To Alter Their Relative Priority? Is Public Notice Required?

When recently presented with these questions, we found the answers from Darrell Pierce of the law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC , reprinted below:

“Article 9 recognizes that secured parties may choose to alter their relative priority by agreement. There is no need to file notices of subordination to make them legally effective, or to maintain the perfected status of either security party. However, for the purpose of informing searchers that a party who appears to be subordinate in fact has priority and superior rights, many secured parties like to indicate that a subordination agreement is in place in the public record. There are good and valid reasons to do this, and it is usually done by adding a subordination statement in the collateral box/field or in the Miscellaneous box/field, either on a UCC1 or a UCC3. It might also be done on an information statement.

I believe that, from the filing office’s perspective, the additional information is benign; maintained as part of the financing statement but not indexed. It does not affect the searchable index or the status of the financing statement in the filing office’s information management system (to use terminology from the Model Administrative Rules).”
- Darrell Pierce, Dykema Gossett PLLC

Why would this happen? One example is a secured party with a perfected security interest who no longer desires to extend credit to a debtor but nevertheless realizes further credit is required for its debtor to fulfill its original debt obligation. Do you know any other situations for which this applies? Share it with us now, we’d love to hear from you on this.

Need to file a UCC with a secured party subordination agreement attached or included? Consider partnering with a public records company which specializes in handling your UCC filings to eliminate rejections and assure jurisdictional acceptance of your filings.

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[Limited Time Offer] Free Georgia Online UCC Searches

FCS-Promo-GA-0415[Limited Time Offer] All Georgia state searches our users run on FCS online UCC searching, filing and portfolio management system through the end of April (4/30/2015) are free of charge. For existing clients, simply log in on starting Monday, April 1, 2015 to experience the benefits in action and take advantage of this opportunity.

Not an FCS online user? Claim your offer today by scheduling a demo and entering special code “GA0415″ in the comment field. Upon user registration and training, you will be able to search online Georgia searches for free until 4/30/2015.

* Additional fees may apply

UCC system demo

 

First Corporate Solutions Releases Online System Enhancements

Effective April 1, 2015, FCS registered online users will be able to experience the following system enhancements.

Perform-Filing-Number-Search-Final-Results2.

New Certified Search Option

  •  New Certified Search Request Capability
    Added to your search results screen to provide fast and efficient ordering of certified UCC searches.
  • Streamlined Ordering and Document Downloads
    Reduced number of clicks to order and download your copies.
  • New Email Option
    Added a new email option directly on the PDF viewer.

Not a FCS online user? Request an online system demo and access here.

Staying Competitive in Today’s Factoring Market

We welcome Asonia Credit Data to our blog today to discuss ways to stay competitive in today’s factoring market.

The factoring market is expanding rapidly, with an almost daily addition of new players. This steady influx of entrants has created a more competitive factoring market, with lower rates and tighter margins. Today, you have to do more with less income just to stay in the game.

Lowering Costs Is Key in a Competitive Factoring Market

Finding ways to save is a necessity to remain competitive in an era of shrinking profit margins. One way to do so is taking a thorough look at your current service providers to ensure your hard-earned dollars are being spent in the most effective way possible. When you do, consider all of the following:

  • Weigh cost vs. value – If you’re paying for services you don’t need or don’t really use, you’re not getting good value. For example, paying for 15-page credit reports when only one or two pages contain relevant information that’s usable for making credit decisions doesn’t represent a fair return on your money.
  • Comparison shop – If you don’t take the time to compare service providers on a routine basis, you may be missing out on the latest advances in technology that can significantly reduce your overhead costs. Although it’s a time-consuming hassle to vet new providers, making those inquiries could pay off in big savings.
  • Escape your comfort zone – It’s easy to fall into a familiar, comfortable routine with your service provider, especially when they’re deeply rooted in your day-to-day processes. When you’re stuck in that mindset you may be missing out on myriad opportunities to increase efficiency. If another vendor can help you streamline essential processes, you’ll cut costs and increase your profitability by making a switch.
  • Consider industry insight – Think about whether your current service provider really understands the industry. If you’re dealing with a vendor who’s entrenched in the industry, you can access invaluable intelligence that would be otherwise unattainable. An industry-smart vendor can provide alerts that give you a heads up on the latest scams, fraud schemes, and pitfalls, and those timely warnings can reduce losses and protect your bottom line.
  • Factor in customer service – If no one returns your phone calls, or you can’t get timely answers to questions or adequate training for your staff with your present service provider, you’re wasting both time and money. Cutting costs doesn’t mean settling for mediocre service. Look for an affordable vendor who’s willing to go the extra mile, such as making a phone call to a data contributor on your behalf, answering questions so you don’t keep customers waiting, or offering critical insight when you need to make a credit decision.
  • Demand accuracy – Access to transparent, dependable intelligence and high quality data is an absolute necessity for your critical day-to-day decision making, so make sure what you’re paying for is reliable, fresh and accurate.  Factors should look for services that provide for a complement of the most advanced algorithms, technologies and manual updates to scrub and verify data not weekly, not once a day, but all of the time.

At Ansonia Credit Data, we’ve developed business credit reports and credit management tools that meld cutting-edge technology with current and accurate data.

To learn how our innovative offerings can boost your productivity in today’s competitive factoring market, please contact Tinamarie Sulpizio at tsulpizio@ansoniacreditdata.com and take advantage of a free 10 day trial of our innovative business credit reports by clicking here.

*Disclaimer

Identifying Mechanic Liens for Liquor License Transfers: Why are they important?

When transferring a business with a liquor license there are a few considerations you need to be aware of in regards to lien searching. The California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) can deny a liquor license transfer to a new applicant if all conditions are not met. This reality is why due diligence for liquor license transfers is so important when searching for liens against debtors, especially Mechanics Liens, even though Mechanics Liens may not always be present in State and County search results you order.

First, here’s a little background on the California Business and Professions Code (BPC). The BPC governs the transfer of all liquor licenses with or without a business. Many times the liquor license will transfer concurrently with the transfer of the business assets and the BPC usually will take precedence over the Uniform Commercial Code in these instances. The BPC lists Mechanics Liens in the fourth priority creditor position, while the UCC does not specifically list Mechanics Liens. The BPC takes priority over the UCC in this example. When using a pro rata distribution you must pay the creditors in a specific priority order from first to last. Failure to do so puts the liability on the escrow.
In that case, discovering the Mechanics Lien is crucial yet can be missed in a search. Mechanics Liens are filed at the county level, so if you (or your service provider) are conducting searches at the state level only you could be at risk of missing a Mechanics Lien. And as stated earlier, missing a lien could jeopardize the successful transfer of a liquor license.

First Corporate Solutions incorporates the requirements of the code into our search logic so there are no surprises when it comes to escrow transactions. For more information, check out additional reference materials here.

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How to Manage Your Growing UCC Portfolio?

Is your UCC portfolio growing? As it grows are your UCC management processes growing with it? Can your current solutions scale up to support your success?

These are questions and challenges successful lending institutions face as they grow and expand. Solutions that made sense before are perhaps no longer optimal. Maybe UCC filing directly with the Secretary of State made sense when your portfolio was in only one state, but managing accounts and filing idiosyncrasies as your footprint expands state by state? That can be tricky and time consuming and ultimately not necessary as numerous proprietary UCC portfolio managers on the market address these issues perfectly and are designed to simplify and accurately streamline your UCC processes. They are designed to give you tools to help manage your growth and scale up with you as you succeed.

Ever missed the window for filing a UCC3 Continuation, and thus lost your perfected security interest? Today’s state of the art web based UCC portfolio managers are designed specifically to assure that does not occur and provide features that allow quick and accurate UCC3 creation and submission, freeing you up to address other important items. Do you manage your UCC portfolio in a spreadsheet? Why not explore the option that brings all of that UCC data into one portfolio manager in which you can create, submit, warehouse and manage your entire UCC process.

As hard earned effort turns into success and you begin to experience the growth you set out to accomplish, processes and operations need to grow with you to support it all. Web-based UCC portfolio managers do just that and allow you to spend your valuable time and energy on other critical items in your decision making and lending processes. If the time is right for you and your firm, set up a demo and see for yourself how they can benefit you.

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County Filings Got You Down? An Experienced Service Provider Could Be The Solution.

This week we’re looking at a case study we recently encountered involving County Filings. It helps to demonstrate that even in today’s e-connected world there are still many instances for which there is no substitute for experience and the personal touch. Check it out below as told by Daniel Silverburg, our County Services Manager.

We received a request to file a UCC-1 in Riverside County, CA, and with Riverside County also being the debtor, by one of our corporate reseller clients. We always start by reviewing recordings for any obvious recording issues and in this case we found that the legal description attached to the UCC was not a clear copy and would likely be rejected.

We notified the client and they asked if the document needed legal descriptions or if addresses were sufficient. Since it is up to each county to decide what they consider a ‘sufficient’ description, I asked our searcher to show the UCC-1 to the recorder and ask if the document was acceptable with the attached legal description, and if not could we replace it with addresses and APNs instead. The recorder said that the legal description was not clear enough to record and that addresses and APNs would be acceptable. However, the supervisor that reviewed the UCC-1 said that the county would not accept a UCC with Riverside County as the debtor. The searcher asked the supervisor to explain why the document would not be accepted but did not receive a clear response, such as a statute or other reason the supervisor would not accept it. She just said no.

Once we received a clean copy of addresses & APNs to attach to the UCC, I then asked the searchers to show the document to the supervisor again and see if it would record. Once again the supervisor said she would not accept a UCC-1 with Riverside county showing as the debtor. I immediately called her while she still had the copy in hand to review with her.

I know from experience that UCC’s are often used in an attempt to cause fraud. These UCCs stand out because they are not worded like normal UCCs. For example they may reference the U.S. Constitution or list the property owner as both a debtor and secured party. I also see the long growing trend to have recording clerks be vigilant against fraud, and to be very aware of any suspicious looking documents.

Knowing that, and that there were no obvious legal reasons for the county to reject this document, I next Googled the debtor, the secured party and a few keywords in the collateral description and found a site saying that the county was leasing solar panels from Bank of America (the secured party) to be installed in 14 government centers throughout the county. Armed with that information, I called the recording supervisor back, who was holding a copy of the UCC and expecting my call, and I pointed out the collateral, the secured party and what I learned about the county leasing solar panels.

That did the trick.

Once the supervisor understood the purpose of why we were attempting to file a UCC with the county as a debtor she had no problem accepting it for recording. By understanding the specifics of the situation, and by reaching out with the personal touch, I managed to get it accepted in a two minute phone call.

*Disclaimer

Do You Know the New CFPB Regulations in California?

We welcome the California Escrow Association – Education Committee to our blog today with a discussion of the new CFPB regulations in California.

HUD announced in a bulletin dated August 26, 2014 (see link below), in response to new CFPB regulations, that the requirement for collection of “Post Pay-off Interest” on FHA loans has been removed. The change has recently become a topic of discussion because it applies to loans that are “closed” after January 21, 2015. Keep in mind the word “closed” does not mean the same thing to HUD as it does to those of us in the escrow/settlement world.

In a nutshell, the revision to interest collection applies only to loans that are originated (or “closed”) after January 21, 2015. If the loan being paid off originated (or “closed”) prior to January 21, 2015, it will be subject to interest collection for the entire month regardless of what time during the month the loan is paid off.

Bulletin link: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=SFH_FHA_INFO_14-50.pdf

Here are two examples that should help make sense of the new rule and how it will affect FHA payoffs in the future.

Scenario #1:
Borrower applies for an FHA mortgage and the loan originated in 2014. In 2015 the borrower applies for a refinance and intends to pay off the existing mortgage that was originated/closed in 2014. The existing FHA mortgage to be paid off will be subject to interest collection for the entire month regardless of what time during the month the payoff is being made. This is because the existing loan originated/closed before January 21st, 2015.

Scenario #2:
Borrower obtains an FHA mortgage and the loan is originated after January 21st, 2015. Several months after the loan was originated/closed, the borrower decides to refinance the mortgage to reduce the interest rate. Since the existing loan originated/closed after January 21st, 2015, the loan will not be subject to interest collection for the entire month.

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Upcoming Changes to Real Estate Settlement Statements for California Consumers

We welcome back our blog contributor PJ Garcia of Beach Escrow this week to discuss the upcoming changes to real estate settlement statements for California consumers this week.

Did you know that the HUD-1 Settlement Statement (HUD-1) is being retired?  The Legislature specifically directed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to integrate the disclosures required under the Truth in Lending (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures (RESPA) laws.  The final solution by the CFPB takes effect on August 1, 2015 and applies to almost all 1-4 Family Residential transactions involving a new loan.  Get familiar with the term TILA, RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID).

Effective for any loan originated after August 1, 2015:

The GFE and initial Truth in Lending disclosure (TIL) at application will be replaced by the Loan Estimate (LE).

  1. The HUD-1 and final TIL will be replaced by the Closing Disclosure (CD) which must be verified as delivered to the consumer (borrower) three days before loan documents can be signed. Seller will receive a separate Seller CD.
  2. The term for Buyer/Borrower is now “Consumer”. (Seller remains “Seller”)
  3. Tolerances have been narrowed and are now called “good faith variations”.
  4. CFPB fines and penalties for violations range from $5,000.00 to $1 million, per day.
  5. Lender is liable for variations in excess of allowable tolerances
  6. The escrow holder may, upon its agreement and at the request of the Lender, assist in completion and delivery of the CD.
  7. So far, Bank of American and Wells Fargo Bank have announced they will prepare and deliver the CD.
  8. MULTIPLE DATES TO WATCH:  “Consumer” must receive the final CD three business days before “consummation” which is likely to be interpreted as execution of the lender’s NOTE.  Lender may, if necessary, deliver to Consumer a Revised CD to reflect only specific changes such as per diem.
  9. Changes that exceed the narrow APR tolerances require a new CD and waiting period.

The devil is in the details! We learned in 2010 that implementation of something of this magnitude is a process.  Lenders, escrow and title companies are working to get the forms ready for use and to digest the changes to be ready for the 8/1/15 implementation date.

Understanding how these new regulations will affect the timing of closings is critical.  Please visit the links in this article to view the forms and other pertinent information.

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Should the Buyer and Seller take their business transfer through CA UCC Division 6, Bulk Sale Code?

On occasion questions come from the escrow community on certain situations that escrow agents find themselves in, involving the transfer of business assets and navigating through the CA UCC Code, under Division 6, Bulk Sale.

The questions come in various forms, typically involving a business asset sale and transfer through escrow.  The transactions can involve business assets only or business assets with a Liquor License, but the scenario is always similar to the situation below:

“My Seller/Landlord has taken over a laundromat business and all assets in his commercial building for non-payment of rent by business owner and has continued to operate the business for 6 months.  At the time of possession the Seller/Landlord did not process the transfer of assets through UCC Division 6, Bulk Sale Code.  My Seller and new Buyer have entered into a sale/purchase agreement and have opened escrow to complete the transfer of assets under UCC Division 6, Bulk Sale Code.  Should I as Escrow Agent be concerned about the previous Seller’s existing liens and conduct a UCC Lien Search as an added precaution for the Buyer?”

As a good business practice and procedure for your escrow or title company, in handling personal property escrows, industry professionals suggest that you should always error on the side of caution and be transparent with your Buyers and Sellers in explaining the potential liabilities and risks of not taking their sale through the requirements of a bulk sale escrow.  Granted there may be occasions where bulk sale escrow may not be necessary and the best advice is to always suggest that clients seek legal counsel if they have questions of a legal nature.

For purposes of this blog, there are some red flags that should trigger when you run into these types of escrow situations to protect yourself as the escrow agent:

  1. If your current Seller took possession of the business, its assets and maybe a liquor license, what process did they go through to obtain the assets and can they provide documentation that the assets are free and clear of all past Seller(s) debts?
  2. If the current Seller cannot provide proper documentation to show that all debt of their previous Sellers was cleared at the time of their possession of the business and its assets, there may be lingering liabilities out there that can affect your escrow transaction from a creditor company or taxing agency.

The escrow agent should conduct a thorough UCC and Tax Lien Search on all Sellers’ names of record for the past 3 years prior to possession by the current Seller to provide a level of comfort to your Buyer to potential liabilities and items to be cleared through your escrow.

Asking enough of the right questions will help determine for the escrow agent how they should proceed through the escrow to properly identify potential liabilities and ultimately protect the Buyer, and help clean up the business accounts of the Seller.

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Latest Court Decision Highlights the Value of UCC Lien Monitoring Service

CapitolThe US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision last week that may affect how secured parties authorize third parties to terminate financing statements after a mistakenly authorized UCC termination statement cost the secured party $1.5 billion.. Read the Reuters report here and click here to read the decision.

This decision underscores the value of UCC lien monitoring services: where secured parties can monitor their own UCC’s for unauthorized or accidental terminations. Also, secured parties should always ensure that UCC-3 Termination Amendments are included in their search results, and then contact the secured party(ies) of record to confirm the termination’s authenticity.

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Have You Secured Your Position?

Our guest contributor, Natalie Follmer of RMP Capital Corp, shares with us this week how to perfect a security interest and secure your position as a secured lender / factor.

In the funding world, UCC financing statements are essential in doing business.  They are a vital piece to the puzzle and can cause major problems if filed incorrectly.   When it comes to perfecting a financing statement, there are many items to consider and it’s important to know where to start.

First off, perform your due diligence.  It’s imperative to research any existing UCC’s and search results can present a wealth of information.  When reviewing the results, a few questions you may want to ask include: who are the secured parties, who has priority position, what is the collateral, are they still funding, will they terminate, and will they subordinate?  Performing your due diligence and addressing the secured parties early on can prevent unpleasant surprises down the road.

Now that you’ve done your research and have cleared the secured party list, it’s time to submit your UCC.   The first part of this step is to know what your company’s policies are and always consult an attorney prior to filing.  Once you are sure of the requirements, you can then perfect your UCC.  The key word here is “perfect”, which means correctly filing the financing statement.  An unperfected UCC is as good as not filing at all (gasp!).   Knowing the proper way to secure financing statements is the biggest hurdle to overcome and thankfully there are many resources available to guide us through the process; with various tutorials, webinars, filing services and state websites, learning the correct way to secure your position is as easy as 1-2-3.

The last piece is to perform an “after filing search”.  You never want to fund until you confirm your UCC is in place.  This search should show your UCC and any others that may have snuck in.  You want to ensure your position isn’t compromised, so any new UCC’s should be addressed accordingly.

When a funding relationship comes to a close, you may be requested to terminate your secured filing.  This process is easy, however for your funded and documented clients, you’ll want to obtain contractual general releases prior to terminating your UCC.  Again, always consult with an attorney and know what your company’s policies are prior to releasing.

While it seems the steps above are rather simple, they play a major role in the funding industry.  It is extremely important, and highly recommended, to obtain proper education on financing statements.   Learning the right way will save you time, energy and stress in the long run.

Natalie Follmer, RMP Capital Corp.

RMP Capital Corp is an international provider of factoring services for small to medium sized businesses in a wide range of industries, funding for independent factoring companies, and risk management solutions for contractors.  RMP Capital Corp Makes Funding Your Business Easier! Click here to learn more.

 *Disclaimer

[Special Offer] Free Virginia Online UCC Searches

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First Corporate Solutions is pleased to announce the addition of Virginia UCC data to our UCC library of states, available for searching Monday, January 26, 2015. Document images will be added soon to complement our Virginia solution and provide efficiency not accessible at the Virginia SOS itself; as you may already be aware, the Virginia SOS does not have document images online and they must be ordered separately. Until the images are included we will retrieve them for you upon request*. 

Enjoy consistent search logic, advanced search tools, comprehensive report options and a supporting portfolio which allows you to save search results and reports forever and later retrieve that information any time in the future at no further cost.

[Special February Promotion] All Virginia state searches you run on our online system through the end of February (2/28/2015) are free of charge. For existing clients, simply log in on Monday, January 26, 2015 to experience the benefits in action and take advantage of this opportunity.

Not an FCS online user? Schedule a demo of our UCC searching, filing and monitoring system today. Upon user registration, you will be able to search Virginia for free until 2/28/2015.

* Additional fees may apply

Lien Searching of Indexes with Mixed Lien Types — Why Uncovering Name Variations is the Key

One effect of Revised Article 9 and its implementation has been to better clarify and standardize naming conventions for entering debtor names onto a financing statement. These conventions are not only a guide to successful completion of the forms in order to perfect a security interest, but also to successful searching for financing statements in the indexes in which they are filed.

But what about searching indexes that include other lien types which are mixed in with financing statements, other lien types like Federal and State tax liens? How do Revised Article 9’s naming conventions affect the searching of those lien types?

A key issue to digest in answering that question is this: when filing tax liens, taxing agencies—including the IRS—are not held to the same naming standards that secured parties are held to with financing statements. The result is that debtor name variations on tax liens enter into and exist in the searchable indexes at these filing offices, and while an exact name search may not uncover their existence, their effectiveness nevertheless remains and the potential threat to a secured party’s perfected security interest from these Federal tax liens with debtor name variations is very real. Case law has been pretty clear about that.

So what does all of this mean for any searcher, like a secured party looking to qualify the credit worthiness of a potential new customer, who is searching indexes which include mixed lien types?

It means the need to uncover name variations in order to locate any and all potential liens, remains a very high priority to successfully completing a search in these indexes, no matter what Revised Article 9 clarified and standardized with regards to its naming conventions for financing statements. Tax liens are not governed by Revised Article 9’s naming conventions, but the need to locate them and uncover name variations to accomplish this has never been more important.

When searching, be sure to utilize a search engine which provides tools that assist in uncovering name variations. In many cases that means contracting with a professional search firm to either conduct the searches on your behalf or to provide a proprietary search engine so you can conduct the searches yourself—but with a search engine that actually helps you find the liens filed under some name variation.

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Three Actionable Things Lawyers Can Do To Polish Their Online Presence

This week have have a guest post from LawTrades.com, a service that helps place lawyers with those in need. They will discuss a few actions that lawyers can do to help market themselves online.


Three Actionable Things Lawyers Can Do To Polish Their Online Presence

Word of mouth is great, it’s been the primary avenue for lawyers to find new clients. However, an increasing amount of people aren’t resorting to a word of mouth referral to find a lawyer for them. If they are, it’s a very limited segment of people and it will continue to shrink. As much as lawyers hate to admit, people are beginning their lawyer searches online. Most professional service industries are already online like ZocDoc, which helps you find a doctor or Bench.co for finding a bookkeeper for your business.

In a highly digitized world, it’s essential for lawyers to maintain an online presence. Maintaining an online presence helps your practice stay relevant. Here are four actionable things that lawyers should do to help them become relevant online.

Revamp Your Website.

Having a professional website that looks sleek and has modern functionality is a huge way to distinguish your firm from the rest. Most solo practitioners and small law firms have a standard website with a bio, contact information and their practice areas. One thing that causes client backlash is accessibility, you can change this with a booking system on your website which allows clients to schedule a consultation with you. Also, consumers are always searching for reviews because reviews matter. Invest in a high quality template to make your website look modern. This can cost anywhere from $50-$100. If you have typical pricing that you charge for certain projects such as contract review, or forming a business make the process easy for your client to complete by letting them purchase that service online.  We can help you out with all of this at LawTrades.

Content Market the Right Way

Posting on a blog everyday might accomplish very little because you might not necessarily have a large following on your blog just yet. Although I think there’s a lot of value in posting valuable content on your blog everyday, if you’re looking to reach a large audience with your content, then consider posting on platforms such as Linkedin Pulse or Medium. These platforms have an inherent viral loop; a solid post on any of these platforms can reach thousands of users within a matter of days. The content has to be valuable and you should take an active role in promoting the content. You can always link back to your website as well. Spending time on a quality post can really go along way since the potential audience reach is very large. It takes a lot of time to put together quality posts, but you can’t expect content marketing to return an ROI overnight.

Story tell on social media

Any person that you would want to use your firm’s services probably visits Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest multiple times per day. Do you have a presence on any of these platforms? If not, then you should start because this is a great way to start building your brand and engaging with new audiences that can use your services in the future. The biggest mistake that lawyers make on social media is that they fill their timelines with Tweets or Posts about free consultations. Lawyers are going for the “close” way to quickly and frequently without understanding the context of these platforms. That’s why lawyers look at these platforms as not being able to deliver a potential ROI. On these platforms, you have to bring real value, share interesting articles, quotes, pictures etc. By creating an audience that you can engage with about topics outside of the law, it will pay off in the long run when you attempt to go for the close in the future.

Although some attorneys are worried about the Internet draining money out of the legal industry, it’s important to note that lawyers can stay ahead of the game by becoming relevant online. It may take an hour or two out of the day but that’s what’s required to build an audience, provide value and then go for the close.


Law Trades | LawTrades.comashish@lawtrades.com

*Disclaimer

Tired of reverse UCC searches exposing your customer list?

Have you noticed a wave of calls from your customers to renegotiate the terms of their security agreement? Does it strike you as odd that so many are calling you all at once?

Perhaps it’s not odd at all but instead an indication that a competitor has obtained a copy of your customer list and is reaching out directly to each and every one of your clients on it.

“No way!” you might say. “How did that happen?”

Well, it’s easier than you might think. Every time a secured party perfects a security interest by filing a financing statement, one result of that filing is to reveal a secured party’s debtor, its customer, in the public record. We all understand the reasoning behind this process and the intentions of the Uniform Commercial Code with regards to perfecting a security interest, and it has nothing to do with exposing a secured party’s customer list to its competitors!

However that’s exactly what occurs and how a specific use of the public record has evolved.

Just like one can search a Secretary of State index by debtor name to determine if a potential customer has any current obligations and how those obligations are collateralized, one can also search the SOS index by secured party.

And what does a secured party search reveal? It reveals the debtors of a secured party within the index searched—a secured party’s customer list.

If this is happening to your firm, perhaps it’s time to consider a Secured Party Representative service. This service allows secured parties to perfect their security interests as before BUT with one important difference: the secured party’s name is no longer listed on the financing statement. So, when a competitor runs a secured party search on your firm’s name, your customer list is protected.

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How to Handle Cancellation Instructions in California?

We welcome our blog contributor PJ Garcia of Beach Escrow this week to discuss her view on cancellation instructions this week.

Cancellation instructions are always a concerning and sometimes controversial area. In the November Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) revision, California Association of Realtors (CAR) included some language that provides for unilateral cancellation of a sort which presents one of those controversies. Upon review of this language, the Escrow Attorneys and veteran Escrow Officers I have spoken to so far are effectively saying “Danger Will Robinson”! (and now I have dated myself).

There are many considerations for escrow agents in handling cancellation instructions. How individual companies decide to handle that remains to be seen, so I recommend checking with your escrow officer before advising your clients they can cancel unilaterally.

To cancel without a mutual cancellation instruction would require assessments and determinations on the part of the escrow agent that are really outside the scope of our role as a neutral fiduciary. These include consideration of the impact of forfeiture statues governing the liquidated damages clause. Please note that the liquidated damages paragraph is not listed in the Joint Escrow Instructions to Escrow Holder. Additionally, the Cancellation language in Paragraph 14G uses the term “notice”, but does not provide a process for that notice. Unlike Liquidated Damages, 14G does not require a specific acknowledgment, enhancing the “I didn’t see it” argument.

For your further information, here is an article on the subject of Liquidated Damages from the publication California Lawyer.

Contributor: PJ Garcia, Beach Pacific Escrow

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