For nearly 20 years, the Community Associations Institute (CAI) has recognized excellence in the practice of community association law through the Falls Church, Virginia-based College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). Of the tens of thousands of attorneys practicing community association law across the United States, less than 150 have been granted exclusive membership in the college.
In 1993, the charter class consisted of 20 attorneys acknowledged by their peers as having developed the field of community association law. This burgeoning area of law focused on all areas of the law affecting community associations such as enforcement of an association’s rules and governing documents, litigation, mediation, arbitration and contract renegotiation and renewal.
“CCAL is a designation that lawyers earn by way of having a sufficient number of years of experience in practicing, writing about or teaching Community Association Law,” says CCAL member Ronald L. Perl of Princeton, New Jersey, who teaches a Community Association Law course at Seton Hall Law School. “CCAL members are people that are at the top of the profession of representing community associations. I get calls from other lawyers all the time. Many refer matters to me when they have community association law issues that are beyond their level of competence or expertise.
Experts in the Field
The members of CCAL are considered experts in the field of community association law by their peers. The members distinguish themselves through the contributions to the development of the profession. Their service is demonstrated by a commitment to educate and empower boards and the 60 million residents of the 300,000 community associations across the country. In addition, CCAL provides a forum for the exchange of information among experienced legal professionals working in the community association field arena.
“I do get consulted quite a bit as an expert witness for other lawyers who need an expert in this field,” adds Perl. “When you look for a doctor they have a designation in their area or a specialty and you’ll feel more comfortable going to them. I think the CCAL designation shows that. It identifies people who have achieved competence in this area of the law.”