Musings on Necessary Evils and Construction Lawyers

“Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m a construction attorney.”

While this sounds like an AA (attorney’s anonymous) introduction, this admission is not a step on the road to recovery (despite the recent discussions slamming an attorney’s role in the construction world). This is in fact my introduction to those of you who are new to Construction Law Musings and a re-introduction to those that have been reading a while (thanks by the way). My introduction is in fact made with pride as one that takes his counseling and risk management roles (not to mention my role as a mediator) very seriously.

I firmly believe that lawyers have a place in helping contractors, subcontractors and even owners to run a construction project more smoothly. Call us necessary evils, but a good construction lawyer can and should help a construction professional obtain a well drafted contract or well negotiated (as opposed to litigated) resolution to a dispute. By properly counseling our construction clients before, during and after a project, our clients can save money and we don’t even have to be visible in the process.

Even in the unfortunate event of a payment dispute, the assistance of an experienced construction lawyer may be the best medicine. Much like the dentist that is there to pull the painful tooth, hiring a lawyer in this situation is a painful proposition that will (if all goes well) lead to less pain in the future. I have found over the years that a lawyer’s involvement in such a situation (overt or otherwise) can and should lead to a faster resolution of the dispute. Knowledge of the various changes in law (like the recent change to the Virginia mechanic’s lien law) will help cut to the chase and, hopefully, get past the understandably high emotions to the business aspects of the problem.

So, yes, I’m proud to be a construction attorney here in Virginia. I may be a necessary evil, but I think that I, along with the other folks in the Virginia construction bar, add value and can truly be a help to the Virginia construction industry.

As always, I welcome your comments. Please subscribe to keep up with this and other Construction Law Musings.

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