It is a common line spoken by actors playing in movie and television dramas, whether it is a line spoken concerning a legal matter such as divorce, real estate dispute, or the commitment of a crime. The line also is a common one spoken by someone who has retained the services of a construction attorney.
“You can expect to hear from my lawyer.”
The reality is most of us do not find ourselves requiring a lawyer on speed dial to help us deal with frequent legal disputes. However, if you are a homeowner about to get involved in a construction-related project, having a construction attorney available on speed dial can be a reasonable plan to speed up the legal process and alleviate your stress.
What is a Lawyer Retainer?
A retainer represents an upfront legal fee paid by a client that secures the services provided by a construction attorney. The upfront legal fee does not cover any specific type of legal support, but instead, look at a retainer as a fee that reserves the right to gain access to the expertise of an attorney within an agreed-upon amount of time. Retainer fees vary in amount and type of structure, from a flat fee for a one-time use of legal services to an hourly rate that provides the client with ongoing legal support.
What Are the Four Sensible Reasons to Retain the Legal Services of a Construction Attorney?
Residential construction projects typically present four different reasons why retaining the legal support of a construction attorney makes sense.
Create a Contract
You have hired a general contractor, which means it is only a matter of time before both parties must agree to the terms of a project contract. However, you are not sure when the time arrives to finalize a construction project contract, just that you can expect to require legal support to get it done at some point in the near future.
Retaining a construction attorney ensures you are ready to learn in detail about a contract’s legal provisions, as well as ensure you plan for all types of potential project issues by stating them in writing.
Resolve Contract Disputes
The number of construction disputes during a project can be as high as the number of legal provisions written in a legally binding contract. Without the legal support of a construction attorney readily available, one or more construction disputes can leave you feeling frustrated, or worse, out of a considerable amount of money. Most construction contract disputes require immediate attention, which a lawyer on retainer provides.
Construction defects range in severity from a minor electrical failure to a project-ending building code violation. If you face a construction defect issue with your project, you cannot afford to spend time searching for legal representation. Retaining a construction attorney helps you quickly recover from one or more construction defects, which can be a significant financially beneficial decision.
General contractors issue a mechanic’s lien to ensure payment for the services provided during a construction project. Although it is a common practice implemented by most general contractors, you might not be aware of the legal implications of a mechanic’s lien. Having a construction attorney on retainer protects you against abuse of the legal scope and power of a mechanic’s lien.
The Bottom Line
Retaining the legal support of a construction attorney is a good idea if you expect to need legal services often, especially when it involves creating a contract, contract disputes, and construction project defects. It also is a good idea to deal with the legal implications of a mechanic’s lien.
Above all, a legal retainer represents an effective way to manage your money set aside for legal services.