Construction projections can often be sizeable undertakings that involve dozens or even hundreds of crew members, millions of dollars’ worth of expenses, heavy machinery, and a wide array of materials. Construction projects also usually involve contracts, permits, fees, insurance policies, and other legal requirements.
What this all amounts to is the fact that those who participate in construction projects often stand to benefit by hiring the right construction attorney. Construction attorneys can help contractors, construction companies, and other professionals who work in construction to cover all legal bases and make sure that they do not accidentally expose themselves to formidable risk.
Here are some top things to look for when selecting a construction attorney for your next project.
Education and Knowledge
When you are hiring a construction attorney, it is crucial to make sure that the person is not only qualified and reputable, but also has specific industry knowledge for your sector and region. This means that the person should know the ins and outs of your area of construction, and also should know all the relevant laws for the field. If the attorney has a degree from a well-respected law school in your state, then this is even better.
Experience in Construction
Because the laws and legal requirements surrounding construction projects can often be complex and even appear ambiguous, it is a good idea to make sure that the attorney you are considering has a extensive experience both in the field and in the local court system. A track record of success is a good indication that the construction attorney has a good reputation and also knows his or her way around the industry.
Although new construction attorneys without significant experience may come across as bright and cost-effective, a lack of experience can sometimes translate to unnecessary risk for your construction project. Experience is often the best teacher and attorneys with more experience are more likely to possess a broader understanding of the field and how to operate effectively as a construction attorney.
Qualified for Your Specific Construction Project
It is usually best to look for construction attorneys who have a history of dealing with cases that are similar to yours in your state. This way, the construction attorney is likely to be familiar with all the laws, regulations, and other details that are important to know for your case.
There may be particular fire regulations, labor issues, state building codes, state contracting procedures, insurance issues, and many more things that are specific to your case based on state and municipality. You want to make sure that your attorney is well-versed on all information that you or your company will be dealing with. This is why a history of dealing with identical or similar cases can be so helpful.
Return on Investment
Attorney costs can exceed hundreds of dollars an hour depending on the case, making it easy to want to cut costs in your representation. While a seductive option, making your decision based on price alone can lead to overlooking one crucial component: return on investment. The right construction attorney can avoid costly hiccoughs down the road for your project both in money and time. This is especially true if your project is particularly expansive or complex, and your lawyer will have to do a lot of work on your behalf. Proper legal planning for your construction project can help offset initial costs.
As a result, it may be worth your while to start your construction attorney search as close to the price ceiling as you can afford, because lawyers who charge the most often have the most experience, the best education, and a track record of superior results.
Communication Skills and Accessibility
Even if your lawyer is busy and carries a large workload, you still deserve to be able to communicate with him or her without a headache. This means that while you are going through your construction attorney search, you should discuss what the communication options and standards for accessibility are for each attorney you consider.
Try to get an idea of how frequently the attorney will be available to discuss your case at your request. Can they only be reached by email? Do you have to set an appointment? Can they be contacted on a direct phone line? You need to know the answers to these questions. An ideal construction attorney will be available for you to communicate with him or her in the manner that best suits you.
Superb Problem-Solving Ability
Throughout the course of the work that your construction attorney does for you, they will likely have to solve a number of difficult problems and answer a variety of complex questions. Every construction project is unique and unforeseen issues or complex situations can arise suddenly, making problem-solving abilities a crucial characteristic for your eventual attorney.
Your construction attorney should be prepared to deal with the challenges of representing a typical case like yours, however he or she should also be able to solve unique problems as they organically arise throughout your project’s lifecycle. This is something that may be difficult for you to evaluate before you hiring the person. However, it is something that you will probably be able to see relatively early into the attorney’s work with you.
If it becomes obvious that your construction attorney cannot solve problems and adapt to changing circumstances, then you may stand to benefit by seeking a new one.
Good Standing with the State Bar
If your attorney has a history of professional violations and disciplinary actions taken against him from your state bar association, then this can be a warning sign. You do not want to hire a construction attorney who has a reputation for making ethics violations, or who has a history of rule-breaking.
Instead, look for a construction attorney with a clean record and a great reputation. If you do this, then it can significantly increase your chances of finding the right construction attorney for your project.
The Search for Your Construction Attorney: A Worthwhile Endeavor
Finding a great construction attorney can be a difficult and tedious process. However, considering how much is often on the line with construction projects, it is an important endeavor and should be approached as such. The right construction attorney will be able to help you navigate all the construction contract requirements, legal jargon, laws, codes, regulations, and other facets of your construction project that you will undoubtedly arise before project completion.
A great construction attorney can also help you avoid any legal trouble that you may otherwise steer into by accident. This is particularly significant considering the variety of risks associated with construction projects. Nearly $1 trillion worth of construction occurs in the U.S. every year. If you or your company is planning to contribute to this construction, then looking for these seven attributes of great construction attorneys can help you find a great match for you.