That’s the title of a discussion I ran across on one of the many Home Inspection Group Forums on LinkedIn. The difference of opinion and experience expressed by inspectors who responded to the query was all over the map.

One inspector who has never refused to perform an inspection for a lawyer has never had a lawyer client so much as glance at the inspection agreement before signing it. A second inspector had a couple who were both lawyers crossing out clauses in the contract that they could not abide. The inspector stood his ground and, when the lawyers also refused to budge, he walked.

Another respondent actually likes working with lawyers because, he says, they understand the need for limitations and are generally thoroughly impressed with the comprehensiveness of his work product, notwithstanding those limitations. And, he added, you can’t overlook the marketing value of having a satisfied client whose endorsement is likely to carry considerable weight.

Yet another began his career in the highly litigious Lala Land and for years had avoided lawyers by pleading schedule overload and alternatively quoting very high prices. About 4 years ago, he relented and did an inspection for a “big shot attorney in the entertainment industry.” So he was extra careful in conducting the inspection and took even more photos than usual. And as night follows day, three months later the lawyer contacted him, contending that he had missed several issues but would accept $600 to settle his claim. The inspector referred the attorney to the SOP, told him that the areas in question were inaccessible and therefore he was not responsible. Several threatening email messages later from both the attorney and the real estate agent, the lawyer gave up. Once bitten, the inspector now refers attorney prospects to his competitors.

So what conclusions can one draw from those four widely and wildly disparate experiences?

It’s been my experience that attorneys abandon meritless claims faster than laymen when it is pointed out to them that the inspection has limits, that it is visual and that it is non-invasive. They are also keenly aware of the enforceability of contracts. And contrary to the popularly held belief, it does cost lawyers a great deal of money to pursue claims even when they are representing themselves. Unless, of course, they place no value on their time.

Bottom line: I don’t think it’s a good idea to be turning down business in any economy but most especially in the one we’re currently experiencing. And your client’s profession will not transmute his unmeritorious claim into a meritorious one.

So don’t avoid the lawyers. Some of my best friends are.

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