One of the most rewarding aspects of my practice is the ongoing advisory role with many clients on mid-project issues. What makes advice on project performance cost-effective? A detailed understanding of the design and construction process, the normal roles and allocation of responsibility among industry participants, and the legal standards that come to bear even when specific issues have not been fully covered in the contracts or the roles have been confused.
The immediate goal is to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to maintain or resume orderly progress on the job. The process is to promptly get a handle on the underlying facts, review the pertinent contract terms, and provide recommended actions or strategies. The larger goal is to achieve the most cost-effective outcome of the issue so the project can be completed and ever-thin margins are not eroded even further.
It is not possible to relate all the various scenarios that have been, or could be, covered in my work. The vast majority of client issues and concerns that I have been able to address have been resolved without any formal dispute resolution process. Similar to the message conveyed in the Fram oil filter commercials of the 1970s ("you can pay me now, or you can pay me later"), attorney involvement early on, in a targeted manner, may save the client much greater amounts of money, and additional headaches and heartburn, down the road.