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Old 06-24-2021, 11:20 AM   #1
cjk349
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Default Any Construction Lawyers on the Green Screen

I'm looking for some life advice not legal advice. I'm 27 and have been working in the construction industry for 10 years or so. I graduated from Texas A&M with a Construction Science degree and currently work as a Project Manager for a sub on large commercial projects. Recently I've been kicking around the idea of going back to school to get a law degree in hopes of practicing construction law. I'm curious if anyone on the green screen has taken a similar route and has any advice or insight into getting this done. Or should I just stick to what I know and remain a PM?
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:30 AM   #2
ClayW
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What makes you interested in the jump?

Maybe look into more of a contract management role??

From my involvement in litigation and legal “discussions”, attorney is WAY down on my list of choices.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:40 AM   #3
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What do you hope to accomplish with this move?
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:11 PM   #4
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I'm looking for a little more freedom from moving around to jobsites and having the ability to work remotely. The increase in pay would be welcome as well.

Other than that, I just feel a little stagnant in my current position and am looking for a little more growth.
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:14 PM   #5
RR 314
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I'm looking for a little more freedom from moving around to jobsites and having the ability to work remotely. The increase in pay would be welcome as well.

Other than that, I just feel a little stagnant in my current position and am looking for a little more growth.
If you really want to feel stagnant then become a lawyer!

Sincerely,

A lawyer
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:17 PM   #6
cjk349
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If you really want to feel stagnant then become a lawyer!

Sincerely,

A lawyer
Lol. What kind of law do you practice?
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:31 PM   #7
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What about business ownership?
Nothing stagnant about that
Take the same money, you were going to spend on more education and open your own
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:35 PM   #8
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I do a fair bit of it. Depends on what you really like to do and what your talents are. I will say that a good portion of my contractor friends and clients work less hours and do as well or better financially.
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:50 PM   #9
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My nextdoor neighbor is a construction lawyer. Sounds like zero fun to me.

Also feel like it's a backwards move in terms of freedom and the ability to work remote. Most of the PMs I work with daily work from home and just put into jobsites on occasion.
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:04 PM   #10
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What about business ownership?
Nothing stagnant about that
Take the same money, you were going to spend on more education and open your own
I've also considered that as well. I'm just exploring options at the moment.
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:05 PM   #11
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I'm looking for a little more freedom from moving around to jobsites and having the ability to work remotely. The increase in pay would be welcome as well.

Other than that, I just feel a little stagnant in my current position and am looking for a little more growth.
A) If you still enjoy your job, then it sounds like you need to talk to your boss if you have stagnated. Either you aren't performing, or your not selling yourself well enough to your boss.

B) If you want stay with construction but get a taste of law, get in with a litigation consulting firm. That is what I have done the last seven years. Pay is much closer to attorneys, and your job is to fix other peoples disasters all day long. It's a ton of fun, and the sky is the limit. I have multiple hobbies now I only dreamed having while working in construction. All the while, contributing more to my retirement than I was paid in total at my first job out of school.

If that sounds interesting, PM me and I will send you some info, and get yours. I started here around 28 or 29, so you aren't much younger than me when I started the consulting gig. Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:34 PM   #12
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I'm a CRE lender financing large construction projects. The attorneys we hire appear to work an insane amount of hours, are always under the gun from a timing perspective and seem to be high stress. I wouldn't trade places with them for any amount of money from what I see from my seat.
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:55 PM   #13
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I'm a CRE lender financing large construction projects. The attorneys we hire appear to work an insane amount of hours, are always under the gun from a timing perspective and seem to be high stress. I wouldn't trade places with them for any amount of money from what I see from my seat.
That sounds like any position in the construction world!!! Doesn't matter if you supply the money, material or put it all together. It seems no one knows how to think ahead!!! Lol
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:09 PM   #14
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My son graduated from Texas A&M with a Construction Science degree and was a PM for a large company but left to work for a smaller company so he could learn more about the entire project not just one part. His goal is to start his own company in a few years and he seems to be well on his way.
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Throwin Darts View Post
I'm a CRE lender financing large construction projects. The attorneys we hire appear to work an insane amount of hours, are always under the gun from a timing perspective and seem to be high stress. I wouldn't trade places with them for any amount of money from what I see from my seat.
As a former CRE lending attorney, I can confirm this is an accurate statement. I'm glad to be out of that world. Can't imagine ever going back.
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Old 06-24-2021, 03:14 PM   #16
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I would reach out to Allensworth and Porter, they are my construction lawyer. They are in Austin and looks like you are in Bastrop so it might be a good fit. I beleive a few of their lawyers started out with a CS degree from A&M and then ended up getting their law degree. I know they charge me a pretty penny but it is worth every penny. Primarily I use them for reviewing contracts but I am sure they offer other services also.
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Old 06-24-2021, 03:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by txbowhunter14 View Post
As a former CRE lending attorney, I can confirm this is an accurate statement. I'm glad to be out of that world. Can't imagine ever going back.
While I am sure what you stated above is true the flip side of this is the number of hours and the stress of dealing with a construction site, subcontractors, material procurement, productivity and man power on the construction side is no walk in the park either.
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Old 06-24-2021, 03:46 PM   #18
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The only attorney I talk to on a daily basis frequently wishes he had done anything else but be an attorney at this point.

Does not help successful realtors are killing it right now and making more than he is without the student loans.
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:00 PM   #19
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Well...I hired my attorney to come help run my construction company and he’s never been happier. I don’t think he’d ever go back to law only.


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Old 06-24-2021, 04:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by cjk349 View Post
I'm looking for a little more freedom from moving around to jobsites and having the ability to work remotely. The increase in pay would be welcome as well.

Other than that, I just feel a little stagnant in my current position and am looking for a little more growth.
Until you are a partner, which wouldn't be less than a decade from now, you might have more freedom and work less hours. Until then, it will likely be worse.

What kind of trade subcontractor are you right now?
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:52 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throwin Darts View Post
I'm a CRE lender financing large construction projects. The attorneys we hire appear to work an insane amount of hours, are always under the gun from a timing perspective and seem to be high stress. I wouldn't trade places with them for any amount of money from what I see from my seat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by txbowhunter14 View Post
As a former CRE lending attorney, I can confirm this is an accurate statement. I'm glad to be out of that world. Can't imagine ever going back.
As a reformed (I meant former) banker, I will also attest to this description of the attorney's postition and stress level to meet deadlines for closing.
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Old 06-24-2021, 06:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by WItoTX View Post
A) If you still enjoy your job, then it sounds like you need to talk to your boss if you have stagnated. Either you aren't performing, or your not selling yourself well enough to your boss.

B) If you want stay with construction but get a taste of law, get in with a litigation consulting firm. That is what I have done the last seven years. Pay is much closer to attorneys, and your job is to fix other peoples disasters all day long. It's a ton of fun, and the sky is the limit. I have multiple hobbies now I only dreamed having while working in construction. All the while, contributing more to my retirement than I was paid in total at my first job out of school.

If that sounds interesting, PM me and I will send you some info, and get yours. I started here around 28 or 29, so you aren't much younger than me when I started the consulting gig. Good luck!
Hey cjk349, sounds like WItoTX with his “Plan B” just made you an offer you can’t refuse. With your education and work experience, and if you are articulate and clean up nice (), ask him to explain “expert witness” to you. Good luck.
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Old 06-24-2021, 08:48 PM   #23
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Hey cjk349, sounds like WItoTX with his “Plan B” just made you an offer you can’t refuse. With your education and work experience, and if you are articulate and clean up nice (), ask him to explain “expert witness” to you. Good luck.
I've already sent him a PM and am waiting for a reply. I appreciate everyone's input on here. I honestly didn't expect to get as much feedback as I have.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Throwin Darts View Post
I'm a CRE lender financing large construction projects. The attorneys we hire appear to work an insane amount of hours, are always under the gun from a timing perspective and seem to be high stress. I wouldn't trade places with them for any amount of money from what I see from my seat.
What bank do you with?
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:56 AM   #25
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I've been a lawyer for almost 40 years. Private practice for 16 years, district court judge for 20 and I've been semi retired for a couple of years. I'll tell you the same thing I told my son when he told me he was considering law school: If you can't imagine doing anything else, go. But if you aren't passionate about it to that degree, you probably shouldn't. Lawyers today (construction or otherwise) have extremely low job satisfaction pretty much across the board. Unless you graduate at or near the top of your class at a top-tier law school, it can be difficult or impossible to find a job when you graduate. Law school isn't cheap and its a 3 year grind. Are there lawyers out there happy in their jobs and making a decent living? Sure, but it's getting harder and harder to get there. I had a great time my entire career, but I was one of the guys that couldn't imagine doing anything else. Sorry for the borderline rant. If you want to visit privately, shoot me a PM
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:27 AM   #26
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I work in Oil & Gas and went to law school at night which my company paid for. Like others have said you really need to look at the cost/benefit analysis before going to law school. You need to be very clear on what your goal is following the degree. (Big Law, Public Service, Solo, etc) Then look at the probability basis those outcomes from the school you attend. I have a buddy who basically did exactly what you are proposing; he was a civil engineer and basically the law degree enabled him to be the right hand man of a CEO for a mid-level construction company; he does everything from reviewing contracts to stepping into PM duties when required.
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:43 AM   #27
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I was you. I am now a very happily overpaid consultant without the law school debt.
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:50 AM   #28
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I got my license almost 20 years ago, and since then have been in big law, small firm, general counsel for a decent sized business (which I still do) and a business owner myself (sold out a few years ago). I never truly enjoyed practicing law other than the rush that comes with trial, which was short lived. As soon as the trial was over, it was back to the grind of discovery or, worse yet, the appeals process. Some of that work is mind-numbingly boring.

The most rewarding was owning our own business and running it. Although I was never passionate about the law, law school and practice experience were invaluable in preparing me to run our own business.

So, if you have a clear picture of what you want to do, a legal education is well worth it. But, if you’re anything like most lawyers, the practice of law itself is not fulfilling. Also, until you gather enough experience, you will likely be a glorified slave in a firm. That life does not generally provide freedom or flexibility and pay isn’t what is once was unless you’re with one of the giants.

Becoming a recognized expert would be fun… you’re basically paid to have an opinion and explain it. However, most (but certainly not all) experts in the construction field are PEs with an extensive background or have very substantial experience in a very particular subset of construction. I imagine that would be a hard gig to really get going.
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:30 AM   #29
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Been there done that.

As stated above, the route I would suggest would be to work towards becoming an Expert Witness and consultant - even the lawyers are beholden to them. Expert witnesses hold the keys to the castle.....and bank.

Regardless, IMO you need your PE, then start stacking credentials and certifications. We cannot hire anyone who is not a PE. Then start into the Expert Witness fields.

As an even more unique area, get your PE and then start obtaining all your safety certifications, go back to school and get your CSP (certified safety professional). Folks with a CSP designations generally make more money as a consultants than most attorneys. Plus you set your own schedule.

Just my thoughts.

Good luck in whatever path you choose.
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:25 PM   #30
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As a MEP/specialty sub, every owners rep I’ve met l/worked with always seemed to be living the good life. They all had their act together and were extremely professional, but at late 20s/early 30s were doing extremely well and traveling in circles that would lend well to doing even better.


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Old 06-25-2021, 09:40 PM   #31
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Been there done that.

As stated above, the route I would suggest would be to work towards becoming an Expert Witness and consultant - even the lawyers are beholden to them. Expert witnesses hold the keys to the castle.....and bank.

Regardless, IMO you need your PE, then start stacking credentials and certifications. We cannot hire anyone who is not a PE. Then start into the Expert Witness fields.

As an even more unique area, get your PE and then start obtaining all your safety certifications, go back to school and get your CSP (certified safety professional). Folks with a CSP designations generally make more money as a consultants than most attorneys. Plus you set your own schedule.

Just my thoughts.

Good luck in whatever path you choose.
What engineering/consulting firm do you work for?
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:55 PM   #32
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You know the difference between a dead skunk and dead lawyer on the highway. There are at least skid marks in front of the skunk. Everyone hates lawyers until you need one.
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