Author Archives: Hallmark Abstract Service

About Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions in New York State and nationwide, underwriting through Chicago Title. HAS opened its doors in 2008 with two primary goals in mind! Number one was to create a title insurance company that would provide our clients with a superior finished product while affording them a seamless and stress-free process. Number two was to make the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service as easy and as pleasurable as obtaining title insurance for a real estate transaction could possibly be! From the sheer number of satisfied clients who keep coming back to Hallmark Abstract Service for their title insurance needs, I believe that we have accomplished our goals in the past, and we will continue striving to improve on them in the future! My Background In 1980 I earned an undergraduate degree in economics followed in 1984 by an MBA in finance with a concentration in the tax-exempt market. With this focus on the municipal market I became a municipal bond analyst at Shearson/Lehman Brothers tasked with following both general obligation issuers on the city and state level as well as housing bonds secured by mortgage pools. This experience at Shearson/Lehman Brothers followed by stints at PaineWebber and Citigroup provided a broad framework of understanding concerning the mechanics of mortgage debt in terms of prepayment experience, mortgage quality and the expected duration of a portfolio. Leaving Wall Street I started Exeter Commercial which funded commercial mortgage loans. Title insurance was a critical part of the underwriting and closing process. At the peak of the financial crisis, I recognized both an opportunity and need as many title firms, for a variety of reasons, closed their doors. Out of this, Hallmark Abstract Service was born.

In The Real Estate Industry Cybersecurity Is No Longer An Option, It’s An Imperative!

For title insurance companies in New York State, the issue of maintaining a high level of information protection through cybersecurity protocols is nothing new!

Back in 2016 the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) proposed and then implemented strict regulations ‘which aimed to protect consumers and financial institutions from cyber-attacks by requiring banks, insurance companies, and other financial services institutions regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (collectively “financial service companies”) to establish and maintain cybersecurity programs…

…The proposal stated that all regulated financial service companies in New York (a “Covered Entity”) must establish a cybersecurity program designed to identify, defend against, and respond to internal and external cyber risks. The full AGMB Alert, which includes many of the remaining requirements, is available at the following link:‘ (Source).

Cyberattacks, as we read in the papers almost on a daily basis, are real and unfortunately on the rise. The real estate industry is certainly not immune when in September 2020 First American Title had a major breach as described here, ‘Data Breach! New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Drops The Hammer On First American Title Insurance Co.!

The firm JacksonLewis Principal Jason C. Gavejian and knowledge management attorney Maya Atrakchi wrote the article below detailing approaches that need to be taken.

The article overview is that ‘No industry is immune to privacy and cybersecurity risks, and the real estate industry is no exception. Those in the real estate industry can protect against cyberattack by understanding the risks and vulnerabilities and developing a plan…

Is the Real Estate Industry a Target for Cyberattacks?

The industry appeals to cyberattackers in many ways. Real estate transactions contain significant amounts of personal information, including, but not limited to, financial data, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, passports numbers, insurance information, and passwords. Moreover, organizations increasingly are storing this information in the cloud, which may make it more accessible to hackers than ever before. In addition, real estate companies work with a variety of vendors, and each transaction may involve several parties, providing ample opportunity for an internal or external bad actor to wreak havoc. Finally, many real estate organizations are not yet prioritizing data privacy and security. A survey of the real estate industry by KPMG found that 30 percent of organizations had experienced a cybersecurity event in the last two years, and only 50 percent of organizations said they were prepared adequately to prevent or mitigate a cyberattack.

The cyber threats plaguing the real estate industry are real, and organizations should address the significant risk to their businesses. Strong IT safeguards are just one part of the solution. Administrative and physical safeguards also are necessary when developing a comprehensive data security program or plan. Such safeguards include, but are not limited to, access management policies, awareness training, equipment inventory, and vendor assessment and management programs. Even the best safeguards cannot prevent all cybersecurity breaches. Thus, companies should be prepared to respond to the inevitable: that they will experience a data incident or breach of some kind.

Understand Risks and Vulnerabilities

Not all real estate-related organizations are faced with an equal amount of inherent business risk of a cyber breach. That would depend on factors such as the type of business, the jurisdictions in which business is conducted, and the amount and nature of the personal information involved in the business (e.g., payment card data, Social Security numbers, and insurance information).

In addition, the level of risk can depend on how well an organization is prepared for the challenge. For example, members of the organization’s IT staff may be adept at systems management, but are they up to the challenge when it comes to the latest cybersecurity tools and attack methodologies to provide competent leadership and execution?

Develop and Practice an “Incident Response Plan”

Organizations can develop and practice an incident response plan before a breach occurs. Steps include the following:

  • Identify the internal team (e.g., leadership, IT, in-house counsel, and HR). These are the persons in the business who will direct the response to any data incident. They will make quick, informed, and prudent decisions that likely will be critical to the success of the response process and, possibly, the future of the business.
  • Identify the external team (e.g., outside legal counsel, forensic investigators, notification vendors, and public relations). Having external members of the team identified ahead of time and any applicable contracts negotiated and agreed upon can be vital to the success of any preparedness plan. When a breach happens, valuable time can be lost trying to identify, evaluate, negotiate with, and engage third-party service providers necessary for the response.
  • Consult with insurance brokers or cyber-insurance carriers to confirm applicable coverage or to discuss coverage options for cyberattacks. If coverage exists, notifying the insurance carrier should be one of the organization’s first steps in response to an incident.
  • Take into account all legal and contractual obligations that may affect the response process.
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the team members at key points in the response process: discovering the incident, investigation, coordination with law enforcement, remediation, notification, third-party inquiries, compliance, and reevaluation. This should include a well-defined decision-making process to facilitate good choices and avoid delays.
  • Practice, practice, practice. It is likely that members added to the response team do not have first-hand experience with helping to coordinate a data breach response. Unfortunately, even a well-drafted plan does not give persons charged with implementing the plan proficiency in executing it. Once the organization creates its plan, it should gather its internal and external breach response team members to simulate a breach in action to help members gain valuable experience navigating the issues in a breach response, as well as working with each other. Just like a fire drill, practicing the data breach response process will help ensure any data incident is addressed in an efficient and orderly fashion.

Create Awareness Throughout the Organization

It is important that organizations create awareness of the risk of cyberattacks and of cybersecurity risks. This can include the following:

  • Educate employees on how to recognize attacks and other forms of data breach.
  • Instruct employees on what to do immediately if they believe an attack has occurred (e.g., who to notify IT and how to disconnect from the network).
  • Instruct employees on what not to do (e.g., delete system files and attempt to restore the system to an earlier date).

Preparedness can make all the difference in the success of a real estate organization’s ability to handle a cyberattack. An incident prevention and response plan is only as strong as employee awareness. Employees must understand the risks involved in maintaining sensitive data (especially in an industry where the collection and storage of such data is necessary to complete transactions) and the basic steps they can take to prevent or mitigate a cyberattack.

JacksonLewis – With more than 950 attorneys throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we have the resources to address every aspect of the employer-employee relationship.









What Is Title Insurance, and How Much Does Title Insurance Cost? (Guest Author)


The article below, written by Audrey Ference at, provides an exhaustive and easily understood look at what title insurance is, why you need it, some of the basic types of policies a homebuyer might buy and more!

Of course, some aspects of title insurance will vary from state to state including the cost of a policy. In New York, while the actual title insurance premium will be the same regardless of the company being used, the other costs included on the title bill will vary widely.

Other than cost, some other factors critical to consider will vary from firm to firm as explained in the Hallmark Abstract Service article, ‘New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!‘.

Read the article and let us know if you have any questions, at or by calling us at (646) 741-6101.

What Is Title Insurance, and How Much Does Title Insurance Cost?‘, by Audrey Ference

Buying a home often entails also buying various types of insurance to protect your property, and one type you might need to get is called title insurance.

When you buy a home, you “take title” to it and establish legal ownership. A title insurance policy protects you against the possibility that someone else might have a claim on your home. In essence, it ensures that a homeowner and their lender will be okay in the event that the seller or previous owners didn’t have absolute ownership of the house. (It sounds crazy, but sometimes it turns out that the homeowner is not the only one with rights to a home!)

If you need a mortgage to buy real estate, your lender will likely require you to buy a title policy from a title insurance company. Although it’s a cost home buyers incur, getting a title policy from a title insurance company is critical to establishing peace of mind.

Let’s examine the ins and outs of title insurance, why home buyers need it, how much you can expect to pay, and how you can save on a title insurance policy.

What is title insurance?

Holding a title insurance policy means you and your mortgage lender are protected against any financial loss or title issues due to liens, disputes between prior owners over wills, clerical problems in courthouse documents, or fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures.

A title search will be performed by your title or settlement company to uncover any issues with your title that could give you legal troubles down the line.

The title company then insures your claim to the property’s title. If anything is missed during the search or there are lawsuits questioning your legal ownership of the property after closing, your title insurance policy will cover the costs of resolving the problem.

Why a title search is required with a mortgage

When getting a mortgage to buy real estate, you’ll find that most lenders will typically require that you get a title search before you close the deal with your escrow company. Basically this would mean you’ll have to hire a title company to search local records on your property. Some of the issues they’re looking for include the following:

  • Disputes between prior owners over wills: If your property was inherited and then sold by the heirs, there could be other heirs contesting the will and claiming ownership of your property.
  • Liens for unpaid property taxes.
  • Liens for contractors who worked on the home but were never paid.
  • Clerical problems in courthouse documents: Believe it or not, a simple typo can lead to title claim problems.
  • Fraudulent claims against the property or forged signatures: For example, if a group of heirs can’t get a holdout to agree to sell the home, it’s possible that someone will forge a signature on a quit claim deed.

While most homeowners will never need to use their title insurance, its existence offers protection against a potentially aggravating—and very expensive—financial loss.

Lender’s title insurance vs. owner’s title insurance

There are two types of title insurance: lender’s and owner’s. Almost every lender will require you to pay for a lender’s title insurance policy. This protects the lender—not you—from incurring any costs if a title dispute pops up after closing.

Owner’s title insurance is usually optional, but it’s highly recommended. Without it, you’ll be left footing the bill for all the costs of resolving a title claim, which could be thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even though it can feel like you’re hemorrhaging cash when you’re closing on a house, a title insurance policy is one of those things that can save you money in the long run.

“When you consider the benefits of title insurance and some of the unique aspects of title insurance relative to other kinds of insurance, it is clear why it’s risky and ill-advised to purchase real estate without a title insurance policy,” says Brian Tormey of TitleVest in New York City.

You can purchase basic or enhanced owner’s title insurance, with the enhanced insurance policy offering more coverage for things like mechanic’s liens or boundary disputes.

While your title insurance covers you for things such as mistakes in the legal description of your property or human error, be aware that it will have some exclusions—particularly in cases where violations of building codes occur after you bought your home.

How much does title insurance cost?

The average cost of title insurance is around $1,000 per policy, but that amount varies widely from state to state and depends on the price of your home.

Title insurance premiums can vary from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Some factors that can affect the cost of your premium include the title search, examination, and expected cost of any title defects.

“In general, each policy price is based on the purchase amount of the home or the total amount of the loan,” explains Tormey. “Title insurance is a highly regulated industry, so title insurance policy types and costs will vary from state to state. Each state’s Department of Insurance can provide information on the pricing regulations in their state.”

In some states such as Texas and Florida, title insurance premiums are fixed by the government, so you will pay exactly the same amount no matter what. Other states such as California and New Mexico have unfixed premiums, which means that buyers can shop around. Iowa actually underwrites the insurance itself, resulting in the lowest premiums in the country: $110 for properties costing up to $500,000.

Unlike other types of insurance, a title insurance policy is paid with a single premium during escrow while closing for your mortgage. If you’re buying a real estate resale or refinancing, you may be eligible for a “reissue” rate, which could offer a substantial discount off the regular premium—because the title policy is already in effect, and the title research has already been completed.

Here’s a calculator that can help you figure out the cost for your area and purchase price.

How to save on title insurance

In some states, title insurance premiums are the same no matter who you work with, but in the majority of states, you can save money by shopping around. Even in states with highly regulated title insurance industries, there are ways to save. Here are some ways to lower your title insurance costs.

  • Shop around. If premiums are unregulated in your state, find the company that offers the best deals. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing customer service to save a few dollars: Resolving a title issue can be stressful, and you want a company that will help you through the process. Read reviews and talk to your real estate agent for recommendations.
  • Bundle. Some companies will offer a discount if you bundle your lender’s and owner’s policies.
  • Negotiate add-ons. Even if the premium itself is fixed, there are almost always other fees built into your total premium price. See if there is any wiggle room with those items. They may be optional, or the insurance company might be open to discounting them.
  • Negotiate with the seller. Closing costs are always open to negotiation, and picking up the tab for the title insurance might be worth it to a seller who’s highly motivated to close the deal. But be wary of using this tactic in a competitive market.


If you are buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

Find out why that is here.

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC…You Buy, We Protect!

Questions or Comments?

Please contact us at or (646) 741-6101 

Visit our website here, and learn about the Hallmark Abstract way of doing business here!

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Feeding Frenzy For Suburban Residential Property – All Good, Or Bubble-like?

Exodus of population from dense environments has led to a scarcity of inventory and a sharp escalation in residential real estate prices in the suburbs…Can it all be sustained?

Pandemic has caused property in less dense locales to be in high demand and short supply, leading to sharp increases in prices. Add to the mix extremely low mortgage rates and the potential may exist for a bubble to be forming!

That’s certainly the case for the suburbs around New York City.

But what about some other areas around the country such as Washington, D.C. and its suburbs?

There’s a website by the name Wolf Street that covers stories concerning ‘Business, Finance and Money’ and, if you don’t currently subscribe you most definitely should (Wolf Street).

The article below concerning the current state of the real estate market was written by Melissa Terzis, and is a great read…

When the Market Defies All Logic, it’s Time to Take a Deep Breath: My Observations as Real Estate Broker’

When the Market Defies All Logic, it’s Time to Take a Deep Breath: My Observations as Real Estate Broker

The new Real Estate Bubble has arrived.

My phone doesn’t stop ringing. I’m a Washington DC Realtor staring down a spring market with a couple dozen buyer clients on my roster. It’s not a secret that the pandemic shifted real estate in ways almost no one imagined. Initially, when world shut down in March, I was still working. I had just a few clients but they had seriously high intent. The sellers also had high intent, because no one wanted people in their house just for fun. The market was pretty efficient. The tire kickers saw themselves out the side door and everyone who was left wanted to make a deal.

Things have changed. Several times things have changed, but it only intensified with each chapter. Every time we think we reached a new low, the desirable housing inventory drops lower and more buyers appear. Everyone is back out there again, with masks, gloves and 2.75% interest rates. The Real Estate Bubble 2020 arrived!

Buyers have forgotten what they used to want, what they used to require before they would buy – walkability, proximity to restaurants and public transportation. No more “I’d just die if I moved to the suburbs.” Now everyone is moving out of the city, in some 2020 version of white-flight. Where no one wanted a pool a year ago, now everyone wants one.

Equally as mind-blowing is the fact that some of the ugliest houses that had no showings and no offers just a year ago, are flying off the market. Agents are reporting that some such homes have had over 130 showings and 25 offers – within a matter of 3-4 days.

How did the wish list of the past decade experience such whiplash?

I’m always so surprised how much people live in “today.” Today there is a pandemic. Today we don’t want to live in a city. Today there are sub 3% interest rates. Therefore, today, I must buy a home.

What happens tomorrow though? I have several friends who have already had their two doses of the vaccine. It’s coming for all of us.

When I ask people why they are moving out of the city, the expectation of working at home indefinitely tops the list. I’m willing to believe some employers will embrace the ways of work from home as a viable alternative. Arguments can easily be made that working from home increases productivity by eliminating the opportunity for water-cooler chatter, as well as reducing rental costs for office space.

But not all workplaces lend themselves well to working from home.  Not all employees will want to do this forever. Some people actually enjoy the human interaction. After several years of this, we may begin to see yet another lifestyle shift, where we learn just how much people require that human connection. We may also see employers adjust salaries of employees who formerly lived close to work and have relocated to a more remote area with a lower cost of living.

What about the cities from which people fled? Living in New York City has long been considered a huge accomplishment thanks to Frank Sinatra. “If you can make it here you can make it anywhere.” What about Los Angeles? People aspired to move to these cities for decades and then abandoned them in a flash.

Last year, the DC Real Estate Market saw a steady increase in demand for houses. The initial months were slow as mostly everybody bowed out of the market as mentioned. By early summer, what we lost in a spring real estate market had finally arrived. What would have occurred in March and April just shifted to May and June. As everyone realized this wasn’t just a few weeks that the world would be offline, they started making plans for new living environments.

Many employers at the front end of the pandemic were telling employees that working from home would continue for the foreseeable future and this made people comfortable enough to pull the trigger on selling their city house and moving to a country house.

There was no August slowdown like in years past. The pace continued unabated through fall and when I thought we would get a break, that there would be peace on Christmas Day, I was also wrong. I received 11 showing inquiries to see homes on Christmas. Then I knew we were in trouble. This unrelenting demand will see its day.

When the market begins to defy all logic, it’s time to take a deep breath. Things only change when there is some sort of panic.

We’re in January. Month 11 of the Pandemic. As houses hit the market in neighborhoods no one glanced twice at last year, the buyers are out in full force. Two dozen offers on a 1970’s center-hall colonial with no discernible upgrades in a neighborhood where houses like this historically sat for 2-4 months before selling? I don’t believe it.

I could be convinced this is legit if houses that were highly valued during normal times became even more highly valued. That’s not happening. Some of the highly desired neighborhoods are just cruising along, business as usual. It’s houses that no one wanted a year ago escalating $100,000 or 20% over list price that scare me.

I worked for a National Builder until 2007. I lived 101 version of this class. We all failed. The 201 version has more twists and turns. No mortgage fraud but a pandemic. The same handwriting is on the wall because it’s still the same teacher.

What should you do if you want to buy but you want to be smart? Here are my suggestions:

One, look critically at the house you want to buy. Don’t just go back 90 days like an appraiser would – go back two years. See what the neighborhood homes have been selling for. Is the underlying value there or is this just an inflationary pandemic bubble?

Two, save money and don’t buy at the lowest interest rates. Does it mean you wait until they get back to 6%? No. You only need ¼ point increase and suddenly, a bunch of people exit the market. Sellers get less traffic, less offers and everyone’s expectations realign.

Three, go where people aren’t. In most markets, I tell clients the best way to protect yourself is to go for a house that’s been overlooked by others, maybe sitting on the market a few weeks/months and needs some work. You can make a good deal on homes like these. Right now, the DC Real Estate Market is delivering amazing value on condos. Very desirable condos are sitting on the market right now.

I’m not saying not to buy. But be smart about it. Stay away from bidding high on houses that suddenly fell into favor. Buy something that has been in consistently high demand in the past. Look back years and decades to get a gauge on the demand – not just months or weeks. And look ahead years as well, because living for today and making panic-induced investment decisions based on what’s happening today is something you will have to live with for a while.

OK, it’s getting a little crazy: Massive shifts due to working from anywhere and the Pandemic. But some of those shifts started well before the Pandemic. Read... “Exodus” Havoc: Rents Plunge in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Other High-Cost Cities, but Soar 50% in Newark in 18 Months, with Double-Digit Jumps in 20 Cities


If you’re buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

If you have any questions contact Hallmark Abstract at or at (646) 741-6101

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

Coming to New York in June 2021: A New and Simplified Power of Attorney Form!

Thanks to legislation from New York’s Governor Cuomo, in June 2021 a new and hopefully improved New York State power of attorney form will be released!

Stay tuned…


If you’re buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

If you have any questions contact Hallmark Abstract at or at (646) 741-6101

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!


United Van Lines Study – Why are so many people moving out of New York State?

United Van Lines releases its annual study documenting where, why and in what numbers Americans are moving!

One overriding reason for moving in 2020 of course had to do with Covid-19, as concerns over big city density drove many to find less-dense locales in which to live.

But, for a state like New York, cost of living and quality of life issues also have played a significant role.

In 2020 the study found that inbound movement comprised 33.1% of traffic, while outbound moves to ‘greener pastures’ was 66.9%.

(If the chart is unresponsive visit here)

Primary Reason for Moving – New York State

INBOUND                                                         OUTBOUND
9.09%                  retirement                              25.26%
6.22%                  health                                          5.15%
35.41%                family                                        22.68%
8.61%                  lifestyle                                      18.04%
40.67%               job                                               34.19%

Health reasons played a somewhat limited role as the rationale for moving away, with lifestyle and retirement showing the largest increase inbound vs. outbound.

Striking in the study is the continuing trend of New York being among the states with the largest exodus of people…

Among the top inbound states were South Carolina (64%), Oregon (63%), South Dakota (62%) and Arizona (62%), while New York (67%), Illinois (67%), Connecticut (63%) and California (59%) were among the states experiencing the largest exoduses.

Read more of the study results at the United Van Lines study here, and use the chart above for information about specific states.


If you’re buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

Read why that’s true here:

If you have any questions contact Hallmark Abstract at or at (646) 741-6101

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC…You Buy, We Protect

The Hallmark Abstract Service Edge…

Real estate businesses and law firms need to take the steps that are available now, in order to escape the coronavirus penalty box early!

Pandemic has ravaged the world, and many businesses have become mired in a struggle for simple survival!

For others survival isn’t the question, but their businesses have and remain in a year-long penalty box of limited initiatives and possibilities.

Business development activities as we once knew them have been relegated to Zoom meetings and networking events on 16″ screens, with the faces of participants domiciled in tiny squares!

Of course while that has been our reality since February/March 2020, options absolutely exist for those wanting exposure in the marketplace.

Hallmark Abstract Service strives to offer solid alternatives to real estate industry professionals including attorneys, real estate agents, mortgage loan originators and others!

The Hallmark Abstract Service Edge

  • Expand your reach to current and potential clients through Hallmark Abstract Service podcast vignettes,
  • Expose your knowledge as an industry leader and subject matter expert through a real estate-related article (250+ words) that you write for the Hallmark Abstract Service blog. Articles typically receive 2,000+ unique views and additional exposure across social media and Google,
  • Express your competitive edge by offering clients and prospects the free and on demand Hallmark Abstract Appallowing homebuyers and home sellers (and real estate industry professionals) to perform many critical functions. These include creation of a title bill, Buy vs Sell analysis, Loan Estimate Quote, Seller Net Sheet and much more,
  • Earn more of a presence across social media on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook by leveraging the strength of Hallmark Abstract accounts across all three mediums!

Are you interested in learning more about the ways that Hallmark Abstract can help bring the markets attention to your practice or company?

Contact Hallmark Abstract CEO Mike Haltman at, or by calling (516) 741-4723.
If you’re buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

Read why that’s true here:

If you have any questions contact Hallmark Abstract at or at (646) 741-6101

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC…You Buy, We Protect!

Virtual Business Development Group

Are you looking to jumpstart business development in a company that’s focused on:

– P&C Insurance
– Digital Marketing
– Health & Wellness
– Public Relations
– Promotions
– Phone and Internet Systems

This business development group, meeting virtually on Zoom for the foreseeable future, will help in a big way!

Contact me at and I’ll provide all of the details about a group that in 2019/2020 had $1.5MM in closed business among members.

Michael Haltman, CEO

If you’re buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…
New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!
Read why that’s true here:
If you have any questions contact Hallmark Abstract at or at (646) 741-6101
Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

Attorneys (and everyone else) Leveraging LinkedIn!

Lawyer marketing techniques

For attorney’s and law firms in New York State, advertising is perfectly fine as outlined in the New York Rules of Professional Conduct! However, certain additions and disclosures are required to be made!

New York Rules of Professional Conduct at Rule 7.1 through Rule 7.5 ‘explain what information is prohibited, what information is permissible, and what information is obligatory…Although the rules in the State of New York are restrictive, an attorney can stay in full compliance while still having an extremely effective internet marketing campaign’. (Source).

Readers of an attorneys blog, articles and websites or, viewers of much attorney advertising on television, will often see the phrase ‘Attorney Advertising’ invoked.

Lawyers Leveraging LinkedIn is Important!

Profiles on LinkedIn will also typically have the phrase “Attorney Advertising’ somewhere in the text. But, this DOES NOT mean that attorneys should avoid using LinkedIn as the phenomenal tool that it is for networking, business development and for presenting themselves to potential clients as knowledge leaders and as an individual possessing a high level of expertise over a certain topic or specific piece of subject matter.

As someone who runs a networking group once said, Do Not Keep Your Business A Secret!

Hallmark Abstract Service is happy to be able to present an excellent article from the firm Good2BSocial titled…

LinkedIn for Lawyers: 10 Steps to The Perfect Profile by Talia Schwartz

With over 722 million users worldwide, LinkedIn’s social network reigns supreme for professional networking. Any lawyer who hopes to attract new clients and be known as a thought leader in their practice area can benefit from having a strong presence on LinkedIn. Success for a lawyer depends on conveying to prospects and clients that you’re at the top of your practice area and LinkedIn can help you do just that.

The first and most important step to ensure that your profile is optimized for the platform is to fill out each section completely. The more information you add, the more powerful, robust and complete your profile is. Here are some tips and best practices to help you improve your LinkedIn profile and reach All-Star status:

1. Know your audience.

Are you most interested in finding new professional opportunities for yourself, or promoting your practice within your firm? Perhaps you’re hoping to better position yourself as a thought leader in the legal space so that you can speak at conferences or on podcasts. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, think through who you’re hoping to reach to help you with those goals. From there, you can better tailor your profile so it speaks to your target audience.

2. Add a background photo to make your profile stand out.

Your LinkedIn background banner photo should reinforce who you are and visually support the written portions of your profile. Some people skip this step, but a compelling picture can add a lot to your profile.

Remember, LinkedIn is all about branding. With the right messaging, both visual and text, you can create a better impression to clients, prospects and referral sources.

3. Add a professional headshot photo.

LinkedIn reveals that professionals using a quality headshot photo are 14 times more likely to get found on the platform. If you don’t have one or choose not to use one, you’re likely missing opportunities.

4. Make your headline more than just a job title.

There’s no rule that says the description at the top of your profile page has to be just a job title. In 120 characters or less, use your headline to give prospects an idea of who you are, what you do and what you bring to the table. Try to make it catchy without being gimmicky, and be clear about the legal specialties and expertise you offer.

5. Tell people how to reach you.

Add plenty of contact info. You can include your work phone number, but also add items like social handles, a link to your personal blog, and your firm’s website. The easier you make it for people to get a hold of you, the more likely they are to do so.

6. Use the summary portion as an elevator pitch.

You’ve likely perfected your professional “elevator pitch” over the years. LinkedIn offers a place for you to share this information on your profile. You can also add other content to create a more robust summary. Be creative and consider including a brief video or presentation, along with photos and links to other sites.

7. Highlight your expertise.

This tip seems like common sense, and LinkedIn is designed to showcase professional experience, yet many people skip adding this information. Be clear and concise, as you would be on a resume, but be sure to include any experience that is relevant to potential clients. In today’s digital world, where pretty much anyone can post anything online, it’s more important than ever to establish credibility. Highlighting your past accomplishments and areas of expertise is one way to do that.

The summary section of your profile is likely to be the most lengthy, so follow these best practices: break up text with bullets and basic formatting, so that it’s easier to read; include keywords and phrases to better help you be found online, and (of course) carefully proofread and correct any spelling or grammatical errors.

8. Leverage testimonials.

Let your network speak on your behalf! LinkedIn offers the opportunity to feature endorsements and recommendations, and you should take full advantage of these. Ask past clients or colleagues to write a brief review of your work together, or endorse you for particular specialties. It’s best if you can return the favor, so be considerate about who you ask to help in this area.

9. Make sure you can be found.

You can customize your LinkedIn url to a shorter and more accurate link. This makes it easier to add to your email signature or business cards, as well as more natural for people to remember.

10. Engage and build relationships.

Did you know that there are currently over 2 million active groups on LinkedIn? There is something for everyone, which makes it easy to converse with people in your industry, share content, and learn new things. Join relevant groups and share insights or links to interesting content (including some of your own).

Remember that the goal is not to simply self-promote but to build new relationships and provide thought leadership. While you’re at it, why not create blog posts through LinkedIn Publisher, or start discussions by posting compelling articles on your profile page? There are lots of different ways to be active on LinkedIn and doing so will ensure you’re top-of-mind when people need your services.


When used properly, lawyers can grow their practice using LinkedIn. But with all of the lawyers trying to get noticed on LinkedIn, it’s important to craft a professional and marketable LinkedIn profile. Taking the time to optimize your profile and engage with others will help you stand out from the crowd and garner attention from your target audience.

Talia Schwartz is the Director of Marketing at Good2bSocial.  She provides strategic vision and direction for the company’s digital marketing campaigns. Talia also leads the company’s social media efforts and develops brand content that is conversational, engaging and adds value to the firm’s audience and its clients.

If you’re buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

If you have any questions contact Hallmark Abstract at or at (646) 741-6101

Hallmark Abstract Service…You Buy, We Protect!

For Real Estate, New York is a Lien Theory State! What Does That Even Mean? (Video)

In a lien theory state such as New York, the property buyer/mortgagor continues to hold the deed to the property until the loan is satisfied, or fully paid back to the lender!

At that time, a Satisfaction of Mortgage should be recorded.

This scenario differs from title theory states in which a Deed of Trust is issued naming the lender as the beneficiary of that trust until the mortgage is fully paid off. At that time, a Deed of Reconveyance is recorded. The Deed of Trust is held by a third party trustee.

Lien theory state versus title theory state also brings the different types of foreclosures into play should the borrower not pay the mortgage…They are the Judicial Foreclosure (lien theory state) vs Non-Judicial Foreclosure (title theory state) and the time frames and work required for the foreclosure process to conclude are quite different.

During the financial crisis judicial foreclosures could take 4-years or more, while in non-judicial states the process would go much faster.

This video was created by the firm Proplogix and it provides a great explanation of the lien versus title theory state question…

If you are buying residential or commercial real estate in New York State remember…

New York Title Insurance IS NOT All The Same!

Find out why that is using the url below.

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC…You Buy, We Protect!


Hallmark Abstract NY title insurance

Hallmark Abstract Service

Oy Vey! Is VUI-202012/01 On Its Way From The U.K. To America?

Are Virtual Real Estate Closings (and empty closing tables) in New York On Their Way Back?

SummaryNew York hopefully never gets there (shutdown) due to the new coronavirus strain in the U.K., but if we do Hallmark Abstract Service is ready!

The new even more contagious coronavirus variant may/could result in new shutdowns across New York State if not contained at the U.S. border!

For attorneys, homebuyers, real estate agents and mortgage brokers however, there is no need to worry about closing your real estate deals!

Hallmark Abstract Service LLC prepared for remote closings in March of 2020, and we stand ready now should it become necessary!

Read ‘New York Real Estate Closings – Virtual is a Reality!‘ here,

Learn more about Hallmark Abstract Service using the link below.

You Buy, Hallmark Abstract Protects!

Hallmark Abstract Service:

Mike Haltman, CEO
Hallmark Abstract Service