It’s been a while since I discussed the role that I believe a construction lawyer should serve. Back in 2013, I discussed how those of us that practice construction law are seen as “necessary evils.” I was thinking over the weekend about certain clients and matters (as I often do, particularly in the shower) and came to the conclusion that the best role for me as a Virginia construction attorney is that of counselor and sounding board for my clients. Sure I come from a litigation background, enjoy working with other construction lawyers here in the Commonwealth, and often the first contact that I have with clients is when there is a problem, but I enjoy my practice, and I believe clients are more satisfied with their interactions with me when I try and provide a more cost effective and pragmatic solution than that which litigation or arbitration provides.
The six years of solo construction practice since 2013 (yes, I’m close to the 9 year mark with my practice) has only served to cement the fact that construction professionals need and want the “counselor” portion of “attorney and counselor at law.” Working as a sort of “in house counsel” to various construction companies, as opposed to simply dealing with the litigation, allows me to better understand their businesses and assist them in avoiding problems through contract review, discussions of situations that come up short of claims, and general risk management. I also get to know these mostly small business owners on a more personal level (sometimes even resulting in a fishing trip or two).