There are a thousand reasons to have a top-notch construction law firm available, but the main reasons are simple. Good lawyers help your company get ahead of legal problems on a project, understand construction law, and represent you in legal battles when they arise. Contractors across the state of Texas have a strong field of experienced attorneys ready to help. These are 5 of the top firms in the country focused on construction law in Houston.
Many legal disputes on construction projects in Texas can be tied back to payment problems. Every contractor, supplier, or designer wants to get paid for the work they do. But not everyone knows how to protect their right to file a lien – and how to enforce it after they file.
While Levelset can help you do things like automate your monthly notices for Texas construction projects (a confusing process in its own right), contractors often run into legal issues that require a licensed attorney. If you’re preparing for contract review, foreclosure, litigation, or another legal dispute, a good construction lawyer will be your best friend.
The best law firms in Houston, Texas
We identified the construction law firms in this list by looking at several factors, including:
- Focus on construction law
- Longevity in the field
- Awards and extracurricular activities
- Professional associations
- Peer reviews
This is by no means a comprehensive list of construction law firms in Houston. There are a lot of great lawyers in the Magnolia City who can help you with legal issues. This impressive group of attorneys is merely a starting place for you when you’re looking for legal help in the Houston area from someone who knows the construction industry.
Bradley (also known as Bradley Arant Boult Cummings) is another highly-rated Houston construction law firm. This firm has over 250 lawyers rated as Best Lawyers in America 2020 by US News & World Report, with 24 listed as The Best in America in Construction Law.
The firm even has 8 attorneys with degrees in engineering, architecture or building sciences! Just as importantly, the firm has four of their attorneys recognized as Fellows by the American College of Construction Lawyers.
Partners in the Houston office, Ian Faria and Jared Caplan both have extensive background and experience in construction law. Jared represents both GCs and subcontractors in commercial and large infrastructure projects. Ian is part of Bradley’s Construction and Government Contracts Practice Group, and serves as the managing partner for the Houston office.
It’s obvious this firm takes construction law very seriously. They devote a large amount of time, budget, training, and practice to help clients in the construction industry. Staying up-to-date on the ever-changing landscape of construction is no simple task.
Bradley works in every area of construction, including:
- Planning & design
- Project financing
- Real estate
- Land use & zoning
- Government enforcement & investigation
This law firm also provides Construction Project Administration services when clients require help on a construction project, but don’t work primarily in the construction industry.
Coats Rose is listed as a Regional Tier 1 law firm in Construction Law, Construction Litigation, and Real Estate Law, making the Houston office a leading center for construction law-related services.
Barry S. Rabon is the Director of the Construction and Surety section of Coats Rose in Houston. He is a Construction Litigation specialist has been honored as a 2019 Texas Super Lawyer.
Coats Rose works in all areas of construction law and construction projects including:
- Construction litigation
- Construction contracts
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Surety law
- Bond and lien claims
- Construction safety – OSHA
- Construction insurance
In addition to the above, Coats Rose is deeply involved in the construction industry locally. They are members of the Associated General Contractors of America, Association Of Builders and Contractors, Texas Association Of Builders, and the Construction Financial Management Association, among others.
Greenberg Traurig reaches around the globe and their office in Houston is one of 41 locations. More important than their reach is their attention to the world of construction law. Greenberg Traurig is ranked as a Tier 1 Construction Law Firm in Houston by US News & World Report.
Greenberg Traurig provides counsel and assistance with every phase of construction from concept and development to project completion and sign off. Many of the services the Houston office provides are backed up by a network of professionals available to assist with any case. The team of attorneys handle the following areas of construction law:
- Real estate development
- Government affairs
- State and federal regulations
- Oil & gas development
In Houston, attorney Michael L. Burnett is one of the team that focuses exclusively on construction law cases. He’s been listed by Super Lawyers magazine among Texas Super Lawyers every year since 2013, and has a 5/5 rating by Martindale-Hubbard.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
The firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is also ranked as a Tier 1 Construction Law Firm in Houston by US News & World Report. The firm’s clients rate highly in the corporate world, with the firm serving many clients in the Fortune 50. They have received a 100% Rating for in the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign for two years in a row.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton have set a new record for their firm with 118 of their attorneys being rated in the 2020 edition of The Best Law Firms in America. Their peers in the legal profession clearly recognize the talent and skill they have on their roster. They have construction law practices in 17 offices across the U.S. and 4 international offices.
Two of the Houston office partners, Patrick E. Gaas and Daniel Shank, both received recognition in 2019 for being in the Top 100 Super Lawyers. Unlike many other law firms who are considered “generalists”, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton have their construction lawyers working on construction cases “100% of the time.” And that means their clients get the best of the best when it comes to legal counsel for their companies.
Peckar & Abramson
Peckar & Abramson has tremendous depth when it comes to experience and skill in the construction industry. For over 40 years, Peckar & Abramson have set the standard for construction law practices.
Peckar & Abramson has been awarded just about every title available in the legal field by revered publications:
- U.S. News & World Report – The Best Law Firms in America 2019
- Who’s Who Legal
- …the list goes on
Curtis Martin is a co-managing partner in the Houston office. According to his bio, he “represents contractors and owners on large construction projects,” advising them on all aspects of the construction process “from the preparation of contract documents to counseling on risk management, business and legal issues that arise during projects, and dispute resolution.”
With over 100 attorneys in 10 offices, this construction law firm serves as an advisor to top contractors, associations, and professionals in the Fortune 100 list. Their background extends into the fields of energy, defense, insurance, banking, and real estate.
What’s Better Than a Good Construction Lawyer?
A: Not needing one in the first place.
Legal disputes over payment (or rather, non-payment) are expensive and time-consuming. The outcome is never guaranteed. No one on a construction project wants lawyers to get involved. So what can you do to prevent the need for a lawyer in the long run?
4 Steps to Get Paid Faster
Here are four important steps to encourage faster payment – and reduce legal problems on your next construction project:
1. Research the contractor
Create a prequalification process to review the contractor you’re working for (and/or the one you’re hiring) before you sign the contract. A good prequalification process can help you avoid problems before the job starts.
At the very least, view their Contractor Profile to double-check their payment history and read customer reviews. If the customer has a history of late payments or liens filed against them, it may be better to walk away from the project.
2. Know your state deadlines and requirements
Every state has different deadlines and requirements for protecting your lien rights and filing a mechanics lien. View a state-by-state map of lien deadlines, rules, & guidelines.
3. Double-check your contract
Don’t just sign a construction contract just because the other party says “it’s pretty standard.” If you have questions about contract provisions or construction payments in general, post your question in our Expert Center.
When reviewing a contract, watch out for these clauses.
4. Communicate clearly – and often
Communicating on the job site helps to build strong relationships and protect your payment. Before the job starts, send preliminary notices to the GC, property owner, and lender. Some states require that you send a notice in order to protect your right to file a lien later on. Even if your state doesn’t require it, send one anyway. The more visible you are to the people who control payment, the more likely they’ll be to pay your invoices on time.
Sending invoice reminders to customers helps you get paid faster. Of course, sending reminders consistently can be hard and time-consuming. Create a process for sending invoice reminders – the more you can automate it, the more easily you’ll follow it.