How Construction and Other Clients Can Help Themselves

When reading over other construction law blogs today, I ran across the great post from Timothy R. Hughes on his law firm’s blog (www.valanduseconstructionlaw.com) about how clients can help themselves.

Below is a copy of his post and the link to the original.


How Construction and Other Clients Can Help Themselves

Posted on October 26, 2009 by Timothy R. Hughes

Construction cases by their nature tend to involve a lot of facts, witnesses, and documents.  They also tend to involve multiple parties, legal issues and arguments, and strategic procedural and motions practice.  By their nature, these realities mean that construction cases can involve quite a lot of legal work and can be expensive to try.

There are several things that clients in construction cases, and indeed all legal matters, can and should do to help themselves.  Following these tips can not only streamline the effort undertaken by the lawyer and thus reduce expenses, but also can help to present your matter in the most effective manner and produce better results:

  1. Be organized.  Handing your lawyer a tabbed binder of documents instead of a disheveled pile of documents means less time reviewing and understanding your care.
  2. Be responsive.  When your matter is analyzed or litigated in fits and starts because you do not respond, that effort tends to always require retreading old ground ramping up again.
  3. Do your homework.  A corollary to No. 2, if you are to obtain documents, information, or provide assistance, understand that your efforts are important to timely and efficient handling of your matter.
  4. Make decisions.  Once there is sufficient information and analysis to make informed choices, it is time to decide.  Failing to pick often not only removes the need or chance to choose, but it translates to expensive lost effort without advancing your matter.
  5. Understand time is money.  Even with all the discussion about alternative fee billing, this will always be true.  I know and understand that client communication is critical.  Clients should know and understand that the more we communicate, particular on rehashing prior discussions or decisions (see No. 4 above), the more expensive the case gets.