Looking for a construction lawyer for your California construction business? Whether it’s a payment issue or you’ve been accused of providing defective work, construction lawyers are necessary when you work in this industry. If you don’t already have one, finding a good one before it’s too late is crucial. Bad attorneys can cost your company money and time, so it is important to select an attorney that is right for your business and knows the area’s unique laws. To make the process easier, here is a list of the top construction lawyers that work in and know San Francisco.
Table of Contents
Do you need a construction attorney?
As is the case with most legal actions, whether or not you need a construction lawyer depends on what services you are looking for. If you’ve been served with a lawsuit, you will definitely want to consult with an attorney. It isn’t wise to skimp on things once a suit has been filed. Likewise, If you need a contract reviewed or written, it is probably best to engage an attorney. Many lawyers have a boilerplate contract they can send you that is good in your state.
If you are struggling with a payment issue, there are alternatives other than hiring a lawyer or going straight to court. You can send a Notice of Intent to Lien or record a mechanic’s lien, both of which are very powerful steps to get paid that don’t require the help of an attorney. Many lawyers will refer their clients to a lien filing service first, because a mechanics lien, if prepared and filed correctly, makes it easier for them to enforce or foreclose on the lien should payment not be received.
At Levelset we stress trying to work things out before hiring lawyers or filing a lien. There is always going to be the possibility of things taking a wrong turn, though. When that’s the case, any one of these great attorneys should be able to help out.
The Top Construction Lawyers in San Francisco, CA
These attorneys on this list were selected because they meet a significant number of the below criteria:
- Focus their legal practice on the construction industry
- Work on construction cases in San Francisco and the surrounding area
- Are thought leaders in construction law
- Hold a Construction Law Certification from the State Bar of California
Garret Murai is one of California’s leaders in the construction law space. Garret was the chairman of the Construction Practice Group at his Oakland-based firm, Wendel Rosen, LLP, and author and editor of the firm’s award-winning California Construction Law Blog. Now he is a partner at Nomos LLP, and when it comes to needing an expert in your corner on a construction dispute, Garret Murai is one of the finest in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Son of an architect, Garret has been surrounded by the industry his whole life. He has since focused his practice almost exclusively on design and construction, representing design professionals, owners, and contractors all the way from conception to completion. From small private endeavors to iconic landmark cases like the Salesforce Tower, Garret has done it all.
For his dedication, the Santa Clara University School of Law graduate has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in the area of construction by Thompson Reuters, and has been extremely well received by his peers and clients.
Kate Warner has been practicing construction law since 1983. Warner’s San Rafael-based firm provides services that tackle insurance coverage, funding issues, and litigation. She has helped several companies design their lien programs, and has plenty of experience handling payment issues.
Kate prides herself on utilizing “underused tools” of the construction bar to help bring solutions to her cases. Many of her reviews speak about her willingness to employ the least amount of time and money to get the resolution of an issue. Her clients feel that she is looking out for them both legally and financially.
On-demand legal help you can afford
Legal Guard puts a team of construction lawyers in your corner, on call for contract review or legal advice when you need it.
William Last Jr has been a lawyer in California since 1978 and his San Mateo firm, Last & Faoro, provides tremendous service to industry professionals. Mediator and arbitrator, he attends matters related to:
- Mechanics’ liens
- Stop notices
- Construction failures
- Latent defects
- Contract/bidding disputes
- Payment disputes
- Professional liability
A fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America, Mr. Last is involved with a number industry related trade associations. He uses this familiarity to the benefit of his clients, producing results in a timely fashion while doing what he can to prevent any further disputes from arising. His immersion in the industry makes him a good choice for any type of construction-related legal issue.
William graduated with his J.D. from San Francisco Law School in 1978, and has been receiving numerous positive peer review and awards since.
Mark Creede has been practicing law since 1987 and is a construction and commercial business attorney at Lang, Richert & Patch. His areas of practice include construction defects, construction litigation, liens and payment issues, bid disputes, and general business law. He has been awarded the Super Lawyer designation multiple years running.
Before his time as a law practitioner, Mark was a construction engineer. He was a project manager and specialized in mechanical, electronic, and digital control systems design and installation. This kind of experience shines through with the companies he now represents. Knowing how it feels to operate within the construction industry and deal with contractors without the aid of legal advice gives him a unique advantage when it comes to understanding clients.
Mr. Creed, who got his J.D. from University of San Francisco School of Law, also remains active in the community, performing many hours of pro bono work each year to help those who need it most. Him and his firm’s dedication to giving back separates them from others.
Ernest Brown is a mediator, arbitrator, and construction attorney at his own Ernest Brown & Company, with over 30 years of experience. He has served as project counsel on some very large infrastructure projects, helping to draft contracts, settle claims, and manage the legal turmoil that is involved with these types of large scale projects.
Brown focuses on alternative dispute resolution. He would be a good contact to make when you’ve reached out to the other party and need help to resolve an issue without going to court or pursuing litigation. His first career was as a civil engineer, so he has first hand experience with the same kind of companies he now represents.
Ernest has been endorsed as one of the top five construction lawyers in California, according to Chambers & Partners, the premier independent ranking publication for lawyers across the globe.
If you are in construction defect litigation and need someone to act as a neutral party, or you have a project large enough to warrant having an attorney, Brown is a good choice.
Christine Tour-Sarkissian started her law office as a real estate and construction attorney, and has been practicing law in California since 1985. She is a member of the Real Property, Trusts, and Estates section of both the American Bar Association and the State Bar of California. She also teaches real estate law at Golden Gate University School of Law, is a licensed real estate agent, and co-owns a commercial and residential real estate company.
Christine has extensive litigation and transactional experience with:
- The purchase and sale of residential and commercial properties
- Drafting and negotiating commercial mortgage loans
- Construction contracts
- Foreclosures and loan work-outs
Having worked with both borrowers and lenders, she understands the real estate industry and its relationship with the construction world. This makes her a valuable asset in cases involving property transactions.
Christine earned both her J.D. and L.L.M from Golden Gate University School of Law.
Get payment & legal advice for San Francisco and more
We hope this list has helped you orient yourself with some of the best legal talent at your disposal.Take advantage of our attorney network to find more capable construction lawyers in San Francisco, or wherever you may be.
Before spending money on a consultation you may not need, join the thousands of construction professionals who post questions on the Levelset Payment Help Center every month. It’s free to post your question, and it will be answered by a construction attorney in your area as fast as one or two days.