The Value of a Knowledgeable Construction

Report
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Among the most important advisors to a
construction firm are:
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Professional surety bond producer
Knowledgeable construction/surety attorney
Construction-oriented certified public accountant
Business banker
This presentation will focus on
knowledgeable construction/surety
attorneys.
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Attorneys who focus their practice on construction
and surety law.
They represent contractors, subcontractors, owners,
design professionals, suppliers, sureties, and other
construction industry stakeholders.
They function as invaluable legal advisors and
business advisors.
They are licensed in the jurisdiction(s) in which they
practice.
Contractors should have a strong relationship with a
trusted construction/surety attorney.
Be sure your construction attorney is knowledgeable
about contract surety bonds; not all are.
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Construction contracts: The core of construction law
is the law of contracts and the legal relationships
between the parties on a construction project.
They should also know about construction financing,
construction management, dispute avoidance, dispute
resolution (mediation, arbitration, and litigation),
surety bonds and insurance, construction defects,
liens, government permits and inspections, agency
relationships, labor and employment law, and
business organizations and corporate law.
In other words, a construction/surety lawyer needs to
be familiar with all those areas of the law important to
the construction and surety industries.
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Serve as a trusted legal counsel and business
advisor to your business
Draft, review and negotiate contracts, including
surety bonds and indemnity agreements; analyze,
resolve, prosecute, and defend contract claims;
resolve disputes through mediation, arbitration;
or litigation, among many other things
In short, provide advice and counsel to the client,
negotiate fair contracts, seek solutions to client
problems, and guide clients through their
business matters and disputes as successfully and
cost effectively as possible.
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Assess the legal risks that arise from the terms and
conditions in construction contracts and surety bonds
and the proper way to allocate and handle those risks
Help the client understand what its rights, obligations
and duties are in all contracts
Help the client avoid and manage disputes and
problems
If necessary, represent the client in dispute resolution
procedures
Do not be penny-wise and pound-foolish: it is far
better to pay an attorney up front to negotiate a good
contract than to pay an attorney later to represent you
in a dispute under an unfavorable contract.
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Mutual trust
Clear communication
Commitment
Responsiveness
Availability
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What is your background and experience in
construction law, including the law of surety bonds?
How long have you practiced construction/surety law?
Explain your knowledge of and experience with
general conditions, change orders, delay impacts,
warranties, mechanic’s liens, indemnification, the
Miller Act, bid bonds, performance and payment
bonds, insurance, progress payments, releases,
dispute resolution, and governmental resources for
small businesses (among others that are important to
your business).
How active are you in construction and surety industry
bar associations and trade associations, such as local
and state bar associations?
What is your fee structure? How often will I be billed?
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Will you be working on the matter yourself or will
you involve associate attorneys and paralegals as
well? If so, how will the work be divided and
billed?
What is your estimate of how much this will cost
me? (Attorneys often cannot give an exact amount,
but they should be able to offer an estimate.)
How will you keep me informed of developments?
(You want to be sure that your attorney keeps you
timely informed of the status of your matter.)
Do you offer free construction/surety newsletters
and/or seminars to your clients?
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Check with the state bar association in your
state to obtain a listing of attorneys who
practice construction law.
Seek the advice of your professional surety
bond producer, who can serve as a valuable
referral resource.
You may wish to contact the relevant state bar
association to ensure that the attorney is
currently licensed and, although this is
unlikely, to assess if he/she has been subject
to disciplinary proceedings.
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