Construction Law

Construction can be a complicated process involving many participants playing different roles. Big personalities and disputes are common, and those participating in the construction of complex projects require skilled legal advice. Our experience in engineering and construction of more than thirty years covers everything from project delivery approach selection, contracting and course-of-construction counseling to claims resolution. We understand our clients’ commercial objectives and strive to achieve them effectively, efficiently, and without over-lawyering. We take pride in delivering practical and pragmatic legal services to arrive at the ultimate goal of completing quality construction projects on-time and on-budget without needless and costly disputes.

We represent project owners, contractors, and subcontractors, and they need attorneys like us who understand the construction process from start to finish. In our representation, we draft and negotiate design agreements and construction contracts at the front-end of a project. Then during the construction phase, we maximize our clients’ opportunities and mitigate their risks through course-of-construction counseling with the objective of resolving issues quickly on a fair-and-reasonable basis, so that the issues do not become much larger disputes that can end up derailing an otherwise successful project. Further, we resolve our clients’ unavoidable disputes though negotiation, mediation, or if need be, through arbitration or litigation. Finally, to the extent design or construction deficiencies manifest following a project’s completion, we also pursue claims against the responsible parties for our owner clients. Throughout these stages of the construction process, we guide our clients’ projects toward successful close-out.

Clients and Representative Projects

DLG represents project owners, design-builders, engineering-procurement and construction contractors, general and engineering contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers involved in complex construction projects, such as high-end residential estates, high-rise commercial offices, power plants, renewable energy projects, hospitals, water and waste treatment facilities, dams, bridges, airports, roadways, prisons, hotels, mixed-use developments, and subway stations. We leverage our technical knowledge and expertise to better understand the needs of our clients and to better anticipate issues before they arise.

Contract Drafting and Negotiation

We act as transactional attorneys at the front-end of construction projects by drafting and negotiating design and consulting agreements with design professionals and construction contracts with contractors. Our contract drafting and negotiation work is informed by our knowledge of the construction process and our construction litigation experience in that we know the issues that can lead to disputes.

Our approach for drafting and negotiating construction-related contracts is to develop a framework for project success by fairly allocating risks to the party best able to control the particular risk. Although many lawyers take the opposite approach of shifting contractual risk inappropriately and developing onerous contract terms, such an approach oftentimes results in higher contract prices for their clients that reflect a risk premium to compensate for the added risk or onerous terms.

Course-of-Construction Counseling

Construction is a dynamic process. The only certainty is that changes will arise before a project is completed. Consequently, projects can get bogged down with any number or types of disputes. With more than thirty years of experience in construction and claims counseling, we can adeptly identify and exploit or mitigate issues by assessing claim issues and guiding clients in contemporaneously documenting issues for evidentiary purposes should formal dispute resolution become unavoidable. When potential disputes do arise, we are mindful of the project budget and therefore assist clients in resolving such conflicts on fair and reasonable terms.

Claims Resolution

Some claims arising from a construction project cannot be avoided, especially if the project participants involved in the claim are being neither fair nor reasonable. Our multi-disciplinary construction practice provides valuable insight when addressing potentially costly claims in litigation. Although the goal is always to avoid disruptive litigation, when disputes do arise, our deep understanding of the construction process allows us to reliably assess the outcome of potential litigation and position a case so it can be resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Additionally, although we are first and foremost trial lawyers, we are also industry leaders in the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures. Accordingly, along the path towards resolving unavoidable claims, we continually evaluate opportunities to resolve the dispute – through negotiation or mediation, for instance – before significant sums are spent on depositions and other discovery.

DLG’s Part-Time General Counsel Program

DLG’s Part-Time General Counsel Program is focused on construction-related companies. It is best suited for contractors and developers which are large enough that they regularly encounter legal issues, but not so large that they need a full-time in-house attorney with the attendant costs that an in-house legal presence would entail. It is also suitable for larger, national/international construction-related companies that would benefit from local legal experience and knowledge.

As a part of its Part-Time GC Program, DLG takes a big-picture approach to proactively address its clients’ legal and business needs. To accomplish this, DLG oftentimes embeds an attorney in a client’s offices from time to time to learn the client’s business operations, its risk tolerances, and to provide real-time input that timely resolves issues, so that issues do not fester and become bigger and more costly disputes. Embedding a DLG attorney in our client’s offices also allows us to establish relationships with the client’s personnel that overcome barriers that may otherwise exist between those on the front lines of a project and far-removed legal counsel, thereby allowing for better and more timely communication of changes and other construction issues that arise on a project and that need to be contemporaneously addressed to exploit opportunities and to avoid liabilities.