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Finding the Right Real Estate Lawyer: An Interview with John Locallo and Vincent Oppedisano of Amari & Locallo

By John Locallo & Vincent Oppedisano

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Leonard F. Amari and Joseph F. Locallo, Jr. founded Amari & Locallo in Chicago more than twenty-five years ago. Our client base in Cook County grew quickly, and we expanded our practice to the collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, and ultimately across the United States. We have become one of the most respected law firms in the real estate tax assessment field. We have saved our clients millions of dollars in real estate taxes by providing aggressive and highly competent representation while maintaining a strong focus on client services.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We represent our clients in a wide variety of real estate tax issues, including assessment reduction complaints in front of county assessors and boards of review, assessment reduction lawsuits, certificates of error, division/consolidation petitions, personal property tax returns and audit defense (for clients outside the state of Illinois), real estate tax exemptions, real estate tax incentives, and defense of undervaluation complaints.

Finding the right real estate lawyer can seem very overwhelming for a first timer, what is any advice you have for them?

Reputation is paramount. For somebody who has no experience dealing with lawyers, the Internet can be a very useful resource. A quick search of the lawyer or law firm's name using a major search engine such as Google will typically yield the law firm's experience as well as any speeches, publications, honors, and qualifications of the particular lawyer. Avvo.com's lawyer ratings can also be a helpful resource for those considering a particular lawyer.

When it comes down to it, what are the five most important things you need to know about your real estate lawyer before hiring them?

Overall experience as an attorney, professional reputation, concentration in the specific area of law for which legal services are being sought, responsive communication to clients' needs, and history of success in the particular legal area.

How does the state legislation of Illinois influence real estate law as it pertains to hiring one?

It is always important for a lawyer to ensure he or she is aware of recent changes in the law. The law is a profession in constant flux; new developments occur all the time. At Amari & Locallo, we have to continually monitor newly enacted and even proposed Illinois state legislation and local ordinances to know how our clients' real estate taxes may be affected.

In your opinion, how important are testimonials and recommendations from others when choosing a real estate lawyer?

Testimonials and recommendations are very important. A lawyer's reputation is vital. Individuals attempting to choose a lawyer should ask other lawyers who they recommend or ask family, friends, and business associates which attorneys they use for the particular service the client is seeking. Those who know the lawyer and their quality of work best are those who have actually worked with that lawyer in some capacity before.

How much experience do you think is necessary for a real estate lawyer to have?

The more experience, the better. Lawyers with the most experience will tend to be the most knowledgeable in their field. Of course, we would never have any experienced lawyers if younger lawyers with little experience were not allowed to practice law. A less experienced lawyer can still provide highly competent representation, but it is important that he or she is supervised by lawyers with extensive experience in the legal area at issue. For example, at Amari & Locallo our younger associate attorneys are always supervised by more senior associates and partners with the firm.

Is it possible to consult with a real estate lawyer free of charge prior to making your decision about them?

Most lawyers will provide potential clients with a free consultation before the client decides whether to hire the lawyer for his or her legal needs. We at Amari & Locallo will provide you with a free, no-obligation analysis of your property's real estate taxes. You can request a free analysis by visiting www.amariandlocallo.com/analysis/ and submitting the 'Free Tax Analysis' form, or by calling our office.

What is the best way for people to contact you or your business?

Call us at (312) 255-8550 (Chicago office) or (630) 307-3700 (Bloomingdale office). You can also visit our website here and submit the 'Free Tax Analysis' form or e-mail one of our attorneys individually at the e-mail address listed on his or her bio page.

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John's practice focuses on representing owners, property managers, and tenants in the...

Phone: (312) 255-8550

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