Construction Law?

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Anonymous User
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Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:25 pm

2L with an interview at a construction law "boutique" in a few weeks. The firm handles both transactional work and lit, but heavily focused on construction. Couple of questions to those who might know:

1. What are some pros and cons of this field?

2. How do I sell myself during an interview without a background in construction or engineering?

My main concern is that I will pigeonhole myself into a practice I don't like, but at this point any job > no job. Thoughts?

BlueDiamond
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby BlueDiamond » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:31 pm

i would think one con would be the fluctuation in the market.. i wouldnt imagine there is a massive amount of construction litigation at the moment.. im also an idiot though

Anonymous User
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:14 pm

Is it commercial or residential construction? I'm guessing commercial if it's got a transactional side as well. You don't really need specialized knowledge of construction--you'll pick it up along the way when you meet with your experts and whatnot.

Construction litigation is boring. I worked at a residential construction litigation firm, and it was all the same thing. Seriously, it was the epitome of conveyor belt litigation--put a claim in one side and it comes out the other side as money. The attorneys were just case managers. Commercial construction litigation might be a bit more interesting, and since it is higher-stakes litigation you'll be working with more intelligent people and producing higher quality work, but litigating over foundation cracks and improperly compacted soil gets pretty old pretty quickly.

Anonymous User
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:17 pm

Thanks for the replies! Definitely commercial construction. I looked up a few of their cases and it's a lot of contract disputes over various construction defects and employment disputes. I am actually more interested in their transactional work and am hoping they have a need for that. Supposedly a top firm in this field in the region, but I've never heard of them before. Probably because I know very little about construction to begin with.

On a related note, how do I sell myself well in my interview? What are some great things about working in construction law? I can imagine that, especially on the transactional side, you can see "the fruits of your labor" if you see a building go up that you helped negotiate the terms or obtain funding for. More thoughts?

Anonymous User
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:03 pm

I think I know which firm this is and I may have interviewed there. Is it East Coast or West Coast? If it's who I think it is, they are much more focused on litigation than transactional.

Anonymous User
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think I know which firm this is and I may have interviewed there. Is it East Coast or West Coast? If it's who I think it is, they are much more focused on litigation than transactional.

Pacific NW. Definitely more lit oriented.

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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:53 am

I worked on a commercial construction case in federal court last summer. It was brutal. First, there was doc review involved. Second, the case was just dry as hell. None of this is from the case I worked on, but imagine a detailed timeline of the most inane shit: A talked to acquaintance businessman B, B said he knew a good realtor D, C told A that they could get a 8 year lease, then sprung a 10-year on him last-minute. D was A's realtor, but D knows B pretty well and gives B referral kickbacks. E is a subcontractor who may have fraudulently represented to F, the general contractor, that the drainage system was properly installed, thus A relied on this information in purchasing, but then the drainage system fucked up. Now A is suing both E and F for fraud and unjust enrichment, seeking a rescission, or alternatively, declarative judgment on the lease length against C under promissory estoppel, suing B for fraudulent concealment, etc. while F is suing E for failing to perform, E sues F and also sues the lender G under third-party for unpaid labor and materials saying the drain was initially installed properly and H, the landscaping contractor, screwed it up later; A gets E's complaint later and amends the suit to add G, then D dies, so you amend the suit to HEAD EXPLODES

Seriously, just take the above and extrapolate it until you get to letter Q or so. Ever responded to 142 interrogatories? Ever written 63 complaints? Ever responded to an appeal on 61 issues?

Anonymous User
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:Construction litigation is boring.
This is so incredibly true.

I've assisted in several construction litigation cases (non-attorney position), and having to review numerous depositions on the differences in window brands and their relative merits, the potential causes of a foundation being cracked, and listening to the bullshit about the different people on the job who wanted to be in charge while the project was going forward but then claim they weren't responsible at the end of the day is just about the driest, most incredibly numbing material I've had to deal with.

So there's your con: boring as hell. Unless if you really like construction; in which case, more power to you.

DonnieDelaware
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby DonnieDelaware » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:23 pm

I will be starting law school in August 2012. However, I have worked in both insurance and construction (I spent some time working after undergrad). I can tell you that construction law is rather boring. I met a construction lawyer in Dallas who happened to live the life we all want (trophy wife, million $ house, power). He was a smart guy, but the construction business is dry and he was in commercial, which is where the money is by the way. I was a property adjuster so I know a little about construction. The type of people in this industry are a hardened group. Nice, some educated, hard working, but hardened and sometimes harsh. So my answer to your 2nd question follows: be honest. They'll know you don't know anything. Just be open to learning. Trust me when I say the industry is ever-expanding and even those old guys learn new things all the time. My insurance career was based on international commercial insurance and my coworker/friend was the construction underwriter. Construction insurance is also rather boring, but there is a ton of money in it (Again commercial construction). I have also given some thought to entering the construction legal field as I have experience in the arena and I think it would be fulfilling. It's more of a niche market from what i have gathered. One day I was standing on a sloped roof discussing building materials wih contractors This was the moment I realized the industry was dry and boring. But there is some major money to be made in the construction business. Be prepared for these discussions to pop up if you choose this field. Also a construction lawyer will become slightly aware of insurance law. Unfortunately insurance doesn't cover everything, like foundation cracking. So that is where a construction lawyer comes in. Taking facts and potential issues/causes and proving or disproving what could have been the cause. This is just some of the information I have on this topic, and I hope this helps.

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ben4847
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby ben4847 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:26 pm

I was in house 1L summer, with a company that has a lot of construction litigation. I thought it was cool.

Anonymous User
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:29 pm

What are some firms that do a lot of this? Probably no one ITE.

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ben4847
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby ben4847 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What are some firms that do a lot of this? Probably no one ITE.


Actually, there is quite a bit of it I think. Construction litigation often happens when projects go bankrupt.

09042014
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What are some firms that do a lot of this? Probably no one ITE.


Baker Daniels if you want Indiana.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby Blessedassurance » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think I know which firm this is and I may have interviewed there. Is it East Coast or West Coast? If it's who I think it is, they are much more focused on litigation than transactional.

Pacific NW. Definitely more lit oriented.


How's the legal market in the PNW in general?

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dood
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby dood » Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:56 am

i split my summer and one firm was a bigger firm with a construction practice. i thought it was cool but i worked in construction and fucking love contracts. PROS: easy and interesting IF u like construction and contracts. CONS: mundane work if not.

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dood
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Re: Construction Law?

Postby dood » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:12 am

RE: Anon Poaster "HEAD EXPLODES" - yea man, this is perfect description of typical construction litigation; difference is i love shit like this.

RE: DonnieDelaware "The type of people in this industry are a hardened group." - i worked in construction prior to law school...thick skin is a must b/c people dont fuck around and shoot from the hip. but i have same attitude and i found i fit in very well with construction law partners and their clients.

RE: ben4847 "Actually, there is quite a bit of it I think." - this is correct. when economy is good and there are a ton of projects, people let things slide. ITE where new projects are rare, people bitch about everything, fight for scraps and in the process, lawyer the fuck up. the firm i worked at has never been busier than ITE.




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