Richard Vetstein’s Mass. Real Estate Law Blog Selected In ABA Journal Top 100 List

PRLog (Press Release) – Dec. 12, 2012 – FRAMINGHAM, MA. — Editors of the ABA Journal announced they have 
selected The Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, authored by Framingham, Massachusetts Attorney Richard D. Vetstein as one of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience.

The Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog was the only real estate publication selected out of thousands of entries for this prestigious nomination.

“Each year, our choices become tougher. Blogging has become such a staple of
 professional communication that keeping up with our own directory of more than 3,500 
blogs by lawyers, judges, law professors or even law students is more formidable than
it’s ever been,” said ABA Journal Editor and Publisher Allen Pusey. “Some of them
have become such permanent, even required, fixtures in our everyday reading that we’re
introducing the ABA Journal Blawg 100 Hall of Fame to recognize those blogs and
bloggers that have set the standards for this vast, vibrant network for legal news and
commentary.”

“I am very honored and humbled to be selected for this recognition,” said Richard D. Vetstein.  “My blog is a great platform to keep my clients and the public educated on recent changes in Massachusetts real estate law.  I’ve been fortunate that Massachusetts courts and lawmakers have been extremely busy with real estate issues these last several years.”

Now that the editors have made their picks, the ABA Journal is asking readers to weigh
in and vote on their favorites in each of the 6th Annual Blawg 100’s 15 categories. Go
to http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100 to register and vote. Voting ends at close of 
business on Dec. 21, 2012.

About Richard D. Vetstein and the Vetstein Law Group, P.C.

The Vetstein Law Group, P.C. is a law firm based in Framingham, MA, servicing clients in real estate, real estate and business litigation, construction, condominium, and zoning law. Richard D. Vetstein, Esq., the Firm’s Founding Partner, is a nationally recognized real estate attorney, having contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Financial Times. Mr. Vetstein can be followed on Twitter(@richardvetstein) and Facebook.

Richard Vetstein Featured Guest Blogger For Inman News Agent Reboot

I’m thrilled to be writing the guest post for the Inman Future of Real Estate Marketing Blog highlighting the Agent Reboot Conference in Boston held yesterday on October 13, 2010. From the buzz surrounding the conference here at the Hynes Convention Center, it’s clear that Boston area agents are embracing the power of social media, and that Boston is well on its way to becoming the next “Hub” for social media savvy agents!

Click here for a full recap of the Inman Agent Reboot Social Media Conference.

Richard Vetstein Featured In Article On Ibanez Foreclosure Mess

Reporter Steven Altieri of the real estate trade journal Banker & Tradesman recently published an article on the Ibanez foreclosure case, Impending SJC Ibanez, Title Ruling May Invalidate Thousands Of Foreclosures, Why Real Estate Attorneys Expect The Worst, And What It Means To The Industry.

Since we’ve written about the case extensively here, Steve asked for my views about the impact of the case and recent matters I’ve handled with Ibanez title defects:

Framingham real estate attorney Richard Vetstein recently represented a family who had bought a house out of foreclosure about a year ago, then invested in excess of $100,000 in improvements to the property with the intention of selling it to their daughter. But before they could complete the sale, a title issue came up and put the transaction on hold.

In Vetstein’s client’s case, when the original owner was foreclosed upon, the mortgage company did not have a properly recorded assignment. To clear the title, Vetstein had to track down the original owner in Alabama, and persuade him to sign over the deed to the property.

“They can close now that the title issue is solved, but in a lot of cases that [is] not going to be able to be solved,” said Vetstein. “We were lucky, that’s what it came down to.”

Steve asked me how I would handicap the appeal of the case:

Vetstein, who has blogged on the Ibanez case at length, thinks the court might uphold the Ibanez decision.

“Given the current constitution of the court and their tendencies of recent years to be kind of moving towards some pro-consumer decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised if they upheld the land court probably by a slim margin,” Vetstein said. “And so for people who are stuck with an Ibanez issue, that is in essence the worst-case scenario.”

Indeed, it’s unlikely that a “pro-consumer” verdict upholding the Ibanez decision would actually help consumers on the whole. Home buyers or investors who thought they had gotten a good deal and a clean title on a foreclosed property will instead be saddled with hefty legal bills and an inability to sell their property.

Lastly, Steve asked if the Ibanez ruling has created an business development opportunties for real estate attorneys:

“I don’t know of any real estate attorney using Ibanez as a business development opportunity, mainly because solving these title defects, if at all, is incredibly difficult and in some cases impossible,” Vetstein said. “It’s a ‘lose-lose’ in many situations.”

One aspect of the case could potentially provide plenty of work for attorneys. Should the SJC uphold the Ibanez decision, Vetstein reasons that there will be many claims against the foreclosing lenders and the foreclosure attorney, for failing to convey good title.

“There will also be claims for rescission of these transactions,” he added. “There is a class action against lenders and foreclosing attorneys which could encompass many millions in potential damages.”

Banker & Tradesman is a great publication. If you don’t want a paid subscription, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Richard Vetstein Quoted In Boston Globe Article About Recent Developers’ Rights Case

Post image for Richard Vetstein Quoted In Boston Globe Article  About Recent Developers’ Rights Case

Boston Globe reporter Jenifer McKim read my blog post, Four Toed Salamanders And SLAPP Suits, and decided that it would be a great topic to write about. Her superb article, How A Salamander Raised A Rights Issue, was published today, and I was fortunate enough to be quoted:

Richard Vetstein, a Framingham real estate lawyer, said the decision was a victory for developers in a state that has an especially tough permitting process.

“Whether it is zoning, whether it is wetlands, you name it, vernal pools, you can invoke some pretty serious regulation and have a property get bogged down pretty quickly,’’ said Vetstein, who wrote about the salamander case on his Massachusetts Real Estate Law blog.

The case is very interesting, pitting free speech rights against developers’ rights to build.

Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog by Richard Vetstein Cracks Top 100 Blog List!

As reported through PR NewsWire, the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog is now ranked #95 of all legal blogs according to Avvo.com and Alexa rankings! As far as I can tell, this puts us NumMassachusetts Real Estate Law Blogero Uno in Massachusetts for all substantive legal blogs focusing on Mass. law.

Much thanks to all of you — our readers — who have made this blog so much more than I could have ever imagined. In the next few months, this blog will see more contributors, more guest bloggers, and will even get a bit of a design face-lift. So stay tuned…

As shown on Boston CityBiz list.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., March 9 — The nationally acclaimed The Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog created by real estate attorney Richard D. Vetstein was recently ranked #97 in a ranking of all North American law blogs by Avvo.com. The Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, averaging 15,000 monthly page views, has proven very popular to home buyers, sellers, consumers, realtors and lenders due to its easy to read articles on timely topics affecting Massachusetts and national real estate law.

Attorney Richard D. Vetstein, Founding Partner of the Vetstein Law Group, P.C., set out to launch the first ever legal blog dedicated solely to Massachusetts real estate law. Through the blog, Attorney Vetstein offers timely legal commentary, updates and checklists to help consumers, realtors and lenders navigate the intricacies of Massachusetts real estate law. Recent popular posts include:

— Short Sales Get Boost From New Obama Short Sale Rules

— The Catch-22 Impact Of New Fannie Mae Condominium Lending Regulations

— There’s Nothing “Standard” About The Massachusetts Standard Purchase And Sales Agreement

— New Stricter FHA Condominium Lending Regulations and Guidelines Sure To Slow Financing And Chill Sales

— Massachusetts Land Court’s Ibanez Decision Invalidates Thousands Of Foreclosures

Attorney Richard Vetstein’s blogging follows a greater trend of attorneys using blogs as a key component to their business development and marketing efforts. “I truly enjoy blogging. It helps me become a thought leader and expert on the latest trends in real estate law. Plus, as the founding partner of a small law firm, blogging is an incredibly cost-efficient tool for business development and marketing,” said Vetstein. “In the legal services industry, blogging is a win-win for the attorney and the consumer. People get access to basic legal information without charge, and good lawyers further enhance their reputations and hone their writing and analytical skills,” Vetstein adds.

About Richard D. Vetstein and the Vetstein Law Group, P.C.

The Vetstein Law Group, P.C. (www.vetsteinlawgroup.com) is a law firm based in Framingham, MA, servicing clients in real estate, real estate and business litigation, construction, condominium, and zoning law. Richard D. Vetstein, Esq., the Firm’s Founding Partner, is an avid blogger and proponent of Web 2.0 technology for business development and marketing. Richard Vetstein is also a contributing blogger on the Real Estate Now Blog of Boston.com. Mr. Vetstein can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Richard D. Vetstein Quoted In Lawyers Weekly USA About Friending Clients On Facebook

Client, Facebook friend – or both?
by Sylvia Hsieh
Dolan Media Newswiresfacebook_logo

BOSTON, MA — As more lawyers create personal Facebook pages, the decision about whether to include clients as “friends” is just a click away.

Many younger, social media-loving lawyers advocate friending as many people as possible to grow your online presence. They see nothing wrong with including clients on a personal Facebook page.

Richard Vetstein, a real estate lawyer in Framingham, Mass., counts up to 30 of his clients as Facebook friends.

“Most of my clients I consider my friends. I don’t see a big issue with it,” said Vetstein.

But pre-GenX attorneys, some of whom may still be wondering when “friend” became a verb, are more cautious about mixing their professional and personal lives.

Traci Capistrant, a family law attorney at Capistrant & Wong in Minneapolis, Minn., declines friend requests from clients on her personal page.

“The reality is I don’t necessarily want them to see all my personal information, nor do I want to see theirs,” she said.

For lawyers like Capistrant, the networking benefits are outweighed by various ethical issues, including security and overly-personal interaction with others, such as opposing counsel.

A Florida ethics opinion recently advised judges to “de-friend” attorneys who appeared before them because it gave the appearance of bias.

Getting friendly…

Showing clients a glimpse of your personal life can make them more comfortable with you and expand your network to draw in potential new clients.

David Barrett, a practicing litigator in Boston who also coaches lawyers on using social media, encourages lawyers to use Facebook strictly as a networking tool.

Solos and small firms with few marketing dollars have used Facebook to level the playing field against larger competitors.

Vetstein, for example, has generated business from Facebook “friends”: one whose sister had a dispute over a purchase and sale agreement and another who became a client after striking up a conversation about the Boston Celtics.

However, just as you may cement your rapport with clients on Facebook by finding common interests, you may just as easily turn them off.

“On Facebook you are more likely to reveal your personal ideologies because of information-sharing, discussions or joining certain groups. It can ruffle a client’s feathers,” said Barrett.

Even if your clients overlook your political associations, they are less likely to forgive fraternizing with opposing counsel if they can see that you are “friends” with the other side’s attorney.

“If my client can see that I’m chummy with the other side, he or she may think, ‘Can you really be tough when you’re clearly buddies with the other attorney?'” said Capistrant.

One option is to categorize friends into those who can see your personal information and those who can’t.

Capistrant chose to use another method. She built a page for her firm in addition to her personal Facebook page so that she could keep clients separate from her family and friends.

“When a client tries to friend me on my personal page, I decline and then invite them to my firm page,” she said.

However, there are some downsides to creating a Facebook page for your firm.

Because Facebook prohibits duplicate pages for the same person, a lawyer who wants to have a business presence must create a separate entity page, which arguably defeats the purpose of showing your personal side.

You are also not able to connect with new people whom you do not already know, because you cannot invite friends to visit your business page through the Facebook platform; instead you must send an e-mail to invite someone to become a “fan.”

An advantage to having clients as Facebook friends is monitoring how they are using the site.

Barrett once noticed on Facebook that a client he was representing in a custody case was a member of a Bob Marley fan club that had a marijuana leaf as its logo.

“I’m like, ‘You [have to] take those off your Facebook page.’ It could have been used as evidence at least by giving the appearance of drug use. So clients can benefit [from friending their lawyers,] too,” said Barrett.

…But not too friendly

Even Facebook enthusiasts who friend their clients say they would never, ever communicate with clients through Facebook.

When Vetstein gets a message on Facebook from a client, he tells him or her to contact him through e-mail or by phone.

“I just don’t trust the security,” said Vetstein.

Weak security is just one risk. In addition, Facebook communications are not your property and arguably no longer privileged.

“You don’t own the platform. Facebook owns the content that’s on there. Do you want Facebook to own your attorney-client communications?” asked Gina Rubel, a former trial attorney and owner of Furia Rubel Communications, which advises lawyers on public relations.

Lawyers should also be careful about the content they post to their Facebook page.

For example, publishing a big win in a case violates some state ethics rules, because clients who see the posting can be misled into thinking that a win implies future performance, Rubel noted.

Another thing that could mislead a client straight to the ethics board is if he sees his lawyer spending more time on Facebook than on his case.

“You can see when other friends are on Facebook, so if you have clients who feel you’re not attending to their matters quickly enough … it would hurt your argument that you don’t have time for their legal case,” said Barrett.

Although there is an option to appear “offline,” many lawyers are not paying attention to their settings, said Barrett, who should know, as his 3,500 Facebook friends include about 3,200 lawyers.

Lawyers may also not be aware that certain games on Facebook, like the popular Mafia Wars and Farmville, make automatic postings on your wall and in your news feed.

For a lawyer trying to maintain a professional image, it can look ridiculous to ask friends to join your Mafia group or to announce that you’ve completed some advanced level on Farmville, said Barrett.

Richard Vetstein’s the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog Top in Class

The Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog has quickly become the highest ranking legal blog focused solely on Massachusetts substantive law according to Avvo.com and Alexa.com rankings. As reported in BizJournals, the blog has proven very popular to home buyers, sellers, consumers, realtors and lenders due to its easy to read articles on timely topics affecting Massachusetts and national real estate law.

Much thanks to all of our readers!

Richard D. Vetstein

Richard Vetstein Guest Blogging on Boston.com's Real Estate Blog

Beginning with my introduction today by real estate broker extraordinare and Boston.com blogger, Rona Fischman, I will be guest blogging on Boston.com’s Real Estate Blog.bostonRealEstate

I will be answering questions on timely topics affecting Massachusetts real estate law, including home improvement projects, condominiums, landlord-tenant issues, and more.  I am thrilled for the opportunity.  Stay tuned for more.

Rich