There is no shortage of construction attorneys in Austin, but finding the right one could be a time-consuming process. Attorneys play a vital role in the construction industry. This is especially true in Texas, where the regulations and laws around construction payment are often incredibly complex. Finding and choosing the correct lawyer for your construction business is an important decision that requires proper due diligence.
When to start looking for an attorney
The payment problems in Texas are exacerbated by the complexity of laws around lien rights, retainage, and bureaucratic red tape in the form of paperwork. If your company is starting and working several new projects a month, hiring a qualified and reputable construction attorney should be a serious consideration. Having a trusted lawyer that knows you and your business can be a huge help when a job starts going south.
Many disputes and problems that come about on Texas construction projects can be tied back to payment. Since most savvy business owners want to get paid for the work they do, It’s important that they manage their lien rights. This, along with contract reviews, foreclosures, litigation and other issues, are where a good lawyer can make a big difference.
To get you started on your search for the best lawyer for you, we have compiled a list of the top construction attorneys in Austin, TX.
The Top Construction Lawyers in Austin, TX
The 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 around Austin and central Texas
- Are thought leaders in construction law
- Hold a Construction Law Certification from the State Bar of Texas
E. Aaron Cartwright, III
E. Aaron Cartwright, III is an accomplished construction lawyer, but his background in financial analysis and compliance is one area that sets him apart from his peers in the law. He brings a deep understanding of not just the construction industry, but the financial challenges that contractors face on a daily basis as well.
Mr. Cartwright specializes in:
- Contract review and negotiation
- Business organization and governance
- Joint ventures
- Payment disputes
- Alternative dispute resolution
E. Aaron Cartwright, III earned his JD from the Texas A&M School of Law, and is a certified FINRA arbitrator.
Tony Maluski is a construction lawyer and mediator operating in Austin, Texas, who has been practicing law in the building industry for over 30 years from his office in Houston. Tony specializes in:
- Dispute resolution of complex construction claims
- Construction defect claims
- Delay claims
- Mechanics lien claims
- Construction contracts
- Insurance claims & coverage review
- Transaction negotiation
- Employment law
Tony earned his JD from South Texas College of Law — Houston in 1980.
Joel Pace focuses his practice on the defense and trial of a variety of matters, representing contractors, owners, and those on the more personal level. At Levatino Pace PLLC, where he is co-founder, these cases include:
- Premises liability
- Insurance code
- Construction defects
- Legal malpractice claims
- Lien disputes
- Contract negotiation
- General counsel for small businesses
Along with his experience in construction defect litigation, Joel has developed a burgeoning estate planning practice over the years. He finds this works in tandem with construction law, providing reasonably priced planning services to those in need of help, especially during this more difficult to navigate COVID era. Clients can quickly, easily, and safely acquire wills, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents.
Joel earned his J.D. from the South Texas College of Law in 1994.
- Delay claims
- Defective plans & specifications
- Construction defects
- Payment claims
- Wrongful termination
- Cost overruns & change order negotiation
- Lien & bond claims
Sean has been featured in a number of top lawyer lists over past several years, including:
- The Legal 500 — Recommended Lawyers in Construction
- Texas Rising Stars in Construction Law
- Houstonia Magazine — Top Lawyer in Construction Law
Sean earned his JD from South Texas College of Law in 2008. He served in the US Army Reserve from 2001 – 2008, including active duty service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
For 20 years, Jason Snell has been a business litigator at his own Snell Law Firm PLLC. Known for his creative problem-solving abilities with a focus on property real-estate and construction, he consults individuals and construction businesses with their commercial legal problems, be it dispute avoidance or no-holds-barred litigation. In his time he has handled countless construction defect cases, including:
- Structural defects (foundation, roof, walls)
- Sewage and drainage issues
- Water intrusion, leaks and mold
- Soil erosion or sinking/settling
- Unacceptable craftsmanship (counters, cabinetry, ceilings, etc.)
- Construction delays
- Electrical or plumbing problems
- Cost overruns
- Failure to disclose known defects (misrepresentation claims)
Jason and team of construction lawyers also handle cases in Austin involving remodeling contracts, new construction contracts, and pre-existing defects claims. He has represented several owners in pursuing action against parties responsible for defects, be it contractors, subs, engineers, architects, or material suppliers. In addition, he represents parties on both sides of construction and mechanics lien cases all across Texas. This multi-county experience is extremely valuable as Texas has 254 counties; all with different rules on how to file a mechanics lien.
Mr. Snell, who got his J.D. from Texas Tech School of Law, is well-regarded in the construction industry for his aggressive reputation when it comes to finalizing and foreclosing liens against the property to oblige payment. As someone who knows construction law and litigation like the back of his hand, Joe has made a name for himself by obtaining and enforcing judgments for non-payment.
Sally S. Metcalfe
Sally S. Metcalfe graduated from The University of Texas School of Law and has been practicing in construction litigation for over 17 years. As the founder of Metcalfe Law PLLC, she has handled a wide range of cases for her clients.
Ms. Metcalfe believes in continuous learning and evolving to better represent her clients. She recognizes how difficult sudden tragedy can be and enjoys making a positive difference by using her extensive experience in cases involving:
- Product liability
- Insurance bad faith
- Construction defects
- Medical negligence
Sally is well known in the Texas law circuit for her devotion to her clients as well as the community. In addition to volunteering for Meals on Wheels Central Texas, she sits on the board of the Texas Legal Services Center. She is a proud member of several associations, including the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association, the Travis County Women Lawyers Association, and the Austin Bar Association.
Tony Ciccone, co-founder of Bollier Ciccone LLP, graduated from the Hamline University School of Law and has extensive experience in construction and civil litigation. His clients come from businesses of all sizes, including general contractors, owners, and project owners in day-to-day legal issues and litigation.
He is the leader of the civil law team at his firm and is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, which is an honor extended only to the best of the best attorneys in Texas. Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, Tony is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Austin and two time Texas Super Lawyer.
Ciccone is always looking to help his peers and aid his clients. He is a publisher of multiple articles used to help educate those in need of assistance. With twenty years of experience and glowing online reviews, Tony is one of the best in the area. He also gets bonus points for speaking Spanish and being able to serve a large number of Spanish speaking contractors in Austin.
Joe R. Basham
Joe Basham at Allensworth Law has dedicated his legal career exclusively to construction law. His hyper-focus on construction law has led him to draft and negotiate numerous large-scale construction and commercial design contracts for the leading developers, owners, design professionals, and general contractors of the industry.
Joe is well known and respected among the big players in the construction world for his ability to “get a deal done.” Many of his clients use Joe’s expertise when it comes to long-term planning, risk-management strategies, and project management. But most importantly, he is considered an expert in dispute avoidance and resolution. Disputes can be very costly in this industry and having a lawyer that will help avoid them can have huge cost savings.
Joe got his undergraduate degree in construction science at Texas A&M and his JD at Texas tech, now also a board member of the Building Enclosure Council of Austin.
Wright & Greenhill PC
Our final spot on this list does not go to an individual, but rather to the powerhouse of construction attorneys at Wright & Greenhill in Austin. This firm is made up of a core group of highly skilled lawyers who have been devoted to construction law for over 30 years. Each attorney is armed with industry-specific knowledge to deal with construction law matters in the most efficient way.
One of the premier law firms in Texas, Wright & Greenhill represents property owners, contractors, subcontractors, insurance carriers, developers, and many more in the construction industry. They are best known for helping their clients navigate the murky waters of construction, including:
- Construction contracts
- Disputes with contractors
- Construction mediation and arbitration
- Public bidding and procurement
- Project support and consulting
- Litigation and appeals
- Insurance coverage issues
- Mechanics liens & monthly notices
- Payment and performance bonds
- Change orders and extra work claim disputes
Their construction attorneys have comprehensive experience in litigation, including construction defect claims in large apartment complexes, high-rise condominiums, multiphase commercial projects, hospitals, and single-family homes.
Wright & Greenhill construction attorneys represent their clients throughout the duration of their projects – from entering into solid contracts and navigating the plethora of regulations, to responding to any disputes that manifest themselves along the way.
Their attorneys not only have skill and knowledge but are also known for their resilient commitment to remaining responsive and accessible for their clients.
Find Answers to Your Payment and Legal Concerns in Austin and Beyond
Having an internal notice policy at your company or working with a partner like Levelset can help you get your payment paperwork under control, but it’s still advisable to have an attorney in your corner — even if you are not yet in a sticky situation. Trying to find an available lawyer when you’re already dealing with a problem can result in hasty decisions, higher costs, and poor outcomes.
Find more local lawyers on the Levelset Attorney Network, a free resource available to anyone looking for payment help in construction. Visit the Payment Help Center to ask any number of payment related or legal questions completely free of charge and get advice that’s tailored to your needs and the region you work in.