In coming weeks, you’ll notice a number of changes and improvements in the services you receive from VAR’s Legal Department. These enhancements will allow us to serve you better and more timely, and are driven by four member-focused objectives:
- To provide a dynamic suite of risk management services to our members, whose business success relies in part on the legal information we provide;
- To improve our timely responsiveness to broker inquiries, particularly related to the Legal Hotline;
- To enhance the variety and organization of VAR’s legal resources for members, particularly online, as a means of providing quicker access for our members to legal information when they need it and in a format they can use.
- To streamline Legal Hotline structure and processes to enable us to handle increasing call volume and provide a proper level of legal information to brokers.
These are the specific changes we’re implementing:
- The operating hours for the Legal Hotline are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Our pledge is to return any Legal Hotline call within 24 hours.
- For calls received outside of the operating hours of the Hotline, a voice mailbox is available, and those calls, too, will be returned within 24 hours.
- To enable us to handle a higher call volume, Legal Hotline questions may be received in writing, but all replies will be by telephone.
- The Legal Resources section of the website will be reorganized to be a first-stop for members who have routine legal questions, and we’ll be creating a robust “Frequently Asked Questions” section. (We estimate that as much as 70% of the questions we receive are routine in that we get the same questions from many different callers.)
- VAR attorneys will provide callers clear guidance on what the law says about the issue in question, but scrupulously refrain from offering legal representation to the caller.
Former State Delegate and DPOR chief Jay DeBoer has joined VAR as our Vice President of Law & Policy and will have responsibility for implementing these enhancements and overseeing our legal services. In addition to VAR staff attorney Blake Hegeman, we’ll soon be adding an additional real estate attorney to work with our Legal Hotline and provide risk management support and training to Virginia REALTORS®.
VAR legal staff will be available to provide in-person legal updates and other training (for CE credit in most instances) at your local association or company as schedules permit.