Five Things to Look For In A Construction Attorney
Any construction or remodeling project is a big undertaking. It can involve a lot of people, ideas, equipment, machinery, and materials. The contractor has an array of people that need to be pleased, from the client to crew, members, regulators to insurers. The best way a company can be protected with all these moving parts is by hiring a construction lawyer at the beginning of any project. While hiring a lawyer can seem like a daunting task, here are some things to look for in a construction attorney or construction law firm.
- Look for a construction lawyer with specific education and knowledge. It’s not enough that a lawyer be top of the class or a good court litigator. The issues that come up in construction are some of the most difficult and entangled that any person could face. The right construction lawyer needs to have specific industry knowledge of the all the relevant laws, experience with contracts and negotiations, arbitration experience, and knowledge of all the regulations and potential pitfalls of the industry.
- General and theoretical experience should be matched by real-life construction experience. Ideally, a construction lawyer doesn’t just know the law, but also has experience applying it in court and in the field. Laws and regulations are complex and sometimes even ambigous, so no amount of theoretical knowledge can compensate for real-world experience. While the most experienced attorneys are often the more expensive, that expense is the result of a proven track record of successful, knowledgeable navigation of construction law. Engaging someone without that track record could be an enormous and unnecessary risk.
- Look for someone with the right communication skills. A good construction lawyer should be busy. At the same time, he or she should be reachable and should present you with several options for communication and access. Be sure to find out in advance how often and under what circumstances a construction lawyer will be free to discuss a given case.
- Make your choice considering the return on investment. Any lawyer or law firm worth hiring will cost some money, and it can be tempting to put off that expensive until it seems unavoidable. But the reality is that a construction lawyer doesn’t just help companies navigate problems: a good attorney helps companies avoid the problems in the first place. The right kind of legal planning at the outset is actually a net savings if it keeps a project from running into litigation, legal trouble, or regulatory issues.
- A good construction lawyer should also be a good problem-solver. Every project involving the number of people, regulations, materials, and equipment that a construction project does is liable to be extremely complicated. More to the point, each project is unique. Each presents unique risks and rewards and its own set of unforeseen circumstances. A good lawyer should be capable of thinking quickly and adapting to sudden changes as they appear.
Construction lawyers need to be familiar with insurance, fees, permits, regulations, contracts, and a host of other construction issues. They need to be able to think on their feet, be good communicators, and have a reputation for reliable and successful work in the field. Find a construction lawyer like that and any construction project will be well on its way to being a success.
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