When it comes to hiring Houston construction lawyers to represent your company during a dispute, it is important to partner with the right firm. The outcome of your legal issue or dispute may depend on it. In this editorial, a Houston contractor attorney with Cotney Construction Law outlines some traits to look for in a construction lawyer to ensure that you partner with the right one.
At Cotney Construction Law, our attorneys are tenacious, skillful, and knowledgeable in all topics related to construction law. By focusing solely on the construction industry, our team is in a unique position to assist businesses like yours. We encourage you to contact our Houston law office and see for yourself that our lawyers all share these incredible traits.
One of the first things you’ll want to consider when looking for a construction lawyer is their experience. Having years of experience in construction law ensures that your lawyer is well versed in construction law practices and can effectively manage your case. Perform some research and ask the lawyer you are considering hiring about their case history and performance. Check for experience with similar cases to what you expect your company to go through. A history of similar cases gives your lawyer the experience needed to represent your best interests.
Advanced Knowledge of Construction Practices
Construction lawyers practice in specific elements of construction law. The lawyer that you choose should have an advanced level of knowledge in the areas of construction that your company works in. For example, your company could benefit from having a construction lawyer who is experienced in contract negotiation for large projects, such as multi-family residential construction projects. This lawyer will be able to negotiate more favorable construction contracts while helping your company avoid potential legal problems during the planning and construction process.
Alternatively, your company could benefit from partnering with an attorney that is experienced in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. ADR is critical for companies that want to avoid the long-drawn-out legal process that is litigation. As we mention below, having an attorney that is skilled in negotiation can mean the difference between a mutually beneficial agreement among feuding parties and a costly court battle.
Strong Negotiation Skills
Negotiation skills are essential in resolving cases and making business deals. In the construction industry, many legal actions require negotiation with other companies and government organizations. The stronger your lawyer’s negotiation skills are, the better the outcomes for your company. To verify your lawyer’s negotiation skills, review some of the contracts or agreements that your lawyer has negotiated. Also, ask your lawyer for advice on a specific case problem. Have your lawyer walk you through the negotiation process and how he or she would resolve the issue. This will tell you more about their negotiation skills.
History of Trials and Settlements
Take a deep look at each lawyer’s experience by focusing on specific performance stats. You can use a lawyer’s history of trials and settlements to determine how effective he or she will be for your case. Settlements tend to cost less, even though some legal cases will go to trial. The approach that’s best for you depends on your company’s needs and preferences. However, you want to make sure that any construction lawyer you choose to work with has experience trying cases and resolving issues through ADR.
The lawyer you choose should have a good reputation. A reputable lawyer tends to have a better case history and an easier time negotiating deals, while lawyers with bad reputations may be harder to work with. Of note, the lawyer you choose will be associated with your company. Keep in mind that a lawyer with a bad reputation can, in turn, give your company a bad reputation.
Communication is another important factor to consider, since you will need to coordinate with your lawyer on a regular basis. Look for proactive communication practices when choosing a lawyer. You can assess this by keeping track of how your lawyer communicates in your initial conversations with them. How long does it take the lawyer to respond to requests? Does your lawyer address the problem effectively? Does your lawyer contact you to resolve problems before you ask for help? Any of these performance metrics can show how effective your lawyer is at communicating.
Standing With the State Bar of Texas
Houston contractor attorneys are required to pass the Texas bar exam and take all necessary steps to stay in good standing. Choosing a lawyer who is not in good standing with the bar can lead to further problems. To not be in good standing, a lawyer has to have either failed to pass the minimum requirements for good standing or been involved in punitive action related to their practice. It is possible to choose a lawyer who is not currently in good standing, but there is a risk of that lawyer losing his or her ability to practice law if action is taken against them.
Choose a lawyer who is a good problem solver. Practicing construction law requires a level of independent problem solving since many of the problems that contractors encounter can be addressed with effective planning. Your lawyer will also be responsible for handling legal actions that could stop your company from completing work. The ability to independently solve problems lets you get the legal support you need while letting you focus on managing your business.
A Monthly Subscription Plan
Once you find a Houston construction lawyer who has these traits and that you feel comfortable with them, you can make them a significant part of your team. Whether it’s through hourly billing or our new subscription plan model, you can have access to a variety of helpful services, including contract review, employee handbook drafting, assistance filing a lien, and more. Although you may be seeking a lawyer for one specific service, you may end up with a valuable business partner for years to come.
When you partner with a Houston construction attorney from Cotney Law, you can effectively budget your legal spend, receive instant access to a knowledgeable attorney when you need them, and protect the most valuable assets of your business. To learn more about our subscription plan services, please visit our website.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.