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When you need a lawyer — and when you don’t

Does your construction company usually hire a lawyer after a project turns messy, or before in hopes of avoiding a mess? Which method will cost more in the long run?

Join this live webinar to hear construction lawyer Seth Smiley share advice based on his clients’ experiences.

Find out:

  • Why contract reviews are critical to maintaining margins
  • What often goes wrong in cases of reactive legal help
  • How lien claim reviews can pay back tenfold in risk reduction


Justin Gitelman (00:47):
Thanks for being here. Here we go. We’ve got two people on here. Maybe a few more. We’ll start rolling in. So I think we’ll just go ahead and get started. Um, everyone has stood up here so far, um, for this webinar on when you need a lawyer and when you don’t with construction, lawyer access, smiling has been gracious enough to come here to, uh, to co-host with us. Um, I’m Justin Gilman, I’m a payment expert here at Levelset. Um, we supply subcontractors get paid through harass solutions, access my keys action attorney right here in new Orleans, actually probably a few blocks from where I’m at right now. So,

Seth Smiley (02:05):
Yeah. Hey, thanks, Justin. Appreciate it. Um, and you were breaking up a little bit, so I don’t know if that’s me or if that’s you guys. Um, but yeah, new Orleans construction lawyer, uh, I’ve been practicing, you know, uh, over 10 years now in, uh, in the thick of it in construction, helping contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and even GCs developers, all those folks get paid on the job. And, uh, luckily enough, you know, Justin was, uh, kind enough to ask me to do this. And I love talking about this subject in particular because, uh, there are times when lawyers are needed and there are times and lawyers are not needed. And, um, I’m definitely one that kinda jumps on a soap box about those types of things. And, um, in order to make a lawyer’s job easier there’s times when we’re needed, but then there are other times when lawyers want to get their nose into things and they don’t necessarily need to do it. It’s not going to help the situation. So, um, so yeah, I mean, I, I’m the owner of smiley law firm here in new Orleans and, uh, you know, I’ve been, been dealing with liens and notices and Sue and subs and GCs and all this stuff for years and years and years, uh, and Alene is, you know, uh, con contractors, best friend and suppliers are best friends. So if done, right, they can really help secure payment on jobs.

Justin Gitelman (03:27):
Awesome. So, yeah, here’s just a quick overview about what we’re going to talk about here. Um, so I think just kind of dive right in and, uh, talk a little bit more about all that.

Seth Smiley (03:38):
Sure, absolutely. So, I mean, uh, and if you want to go back to the previous slide real quick, uh, you know, we’re going to be kind of overview of what we’re doing, burst the, basically the reactive versus the proactive legal help. Um, you know, there, there’s a ton to be talked about right there. Uh, we’re going to talk about common risks, uh, and that has to do with different things like different provisions in contracts, um, that are commonly litigated and things like that, uh, or common issues that we see pop up all the time, uh, how Levelset can help, uh, in Levelset. It’s actually a wonderful tool, uh, that we’ve been sending clients to her years and years and years, because it’s a nice middle ground between the contractor doing it themselves, either, you know, from a small company where it’s, you know, either their contractor, him or herself or their family member doing it up to bigger companies where they have, you know, a controller or, um, you know, some type of credit department and they are trying to learn the rules of all these things and do it in house, um, versus, uh, going out and hiring a full fledged law firm to do these types of things for you, uh, which can get very expensive very quickly.

Seth Smiley (04:48):
And a lot of times law firms aren’t set up to send notices and file liens and do that. So we’ll get, we’ll dive a little bit deeper into that aspect as well. And then, uh, you know, cost analysis again, everything’s about money, right? And so, uh, many times on, on, on big disputes where, you know, years of litigation and, and, you know, big, big, big brawl, the only people that make money on those are the lawyers. And so you very much want to factor in legal expenses into any type of annual budget. And, uh, and you know, lawyers definitely have a purpose, but Levelsets got some good ways to potentially offset that. So, uh, and I always, you know, there are people who say companies like low Levelset and legal zoom and various other companies are competition for lawyers, uh, where I see that they are, they work hand in hand with one another, uh, because there’s there’s skills, not skills, but things that they have, and they do products that they sell that, you know, law firms are just not set up to do. And so when done correctly, you can have this nice harmony between law firms and Levelset or legal zoom, or, and then they work well together. So that’s, that’s a little bit about what we’ll be talking about.

Justin Gitelman (06:02):
Thanks, Seth. Yeah. Let’s dive into some of your experience on the reactive versus proactive.

Seth Smiley (06:09):
Sure, sure, sure. Yeah. And one of my favorite sayings for contractors and, uh, I always say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And what that means. I stole that from the, uh, the medical industry, but it’s very true. Uh, a lot of times when folks get on to a, a construction project, bigger projects, a little bit different story, but smaller projects you have, um, you have people going in and they’re negotiating contracts. They’re putting bids out, they’re doing all this work in house. Um, and then they’re not always making sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. And then later on, you know, 80% of jobs, 90% of jobs probably go fine. You don’t have any issues. Everybody’s paid work is done, no problems, boom. All of a sudden, you know, it hits the fan and then everybody’s running around scrambling.

Seth Smiley (07:01):
How do I collect my money? The, the, you know, the GC is going bankrupt or, you know, they’re not paying, they’re slow paying late, paying, doing all this stuff. What are, what are, what am I, what’s my recourse and what can I do? So then all of a sudden you turn into reactive stage and that is not when you want to, that’s not, when you want to go see a lawyer, um, it can be when you’re proactive. Yes. You’re going to have to pay more money up front, but you’re going to reduce your risks later on. So, uh, all lawyers will tell you, like, we love getting the people who come in and they’re like, oh no, I hadn’t been paid a million dollars and everything’s gone wrong in this job. So, cause we were like, salivating, at that point, we’re like, sweet, let’s go run with this thing.

Seth Smiley (07:45):
Let’s Sue them, let’s Sue everybody on the job. And let’s, uh, and you know, and then we’ll, we’ll, we’ll work it all out at the end. And we have countless stories of, you know, people who come in and, you know, their own say for example, a million bucks. And then they Sue and then the GC comes back and says, well, change orders and delays and back charges. Uh, you think you’re owed one? Well, we think you owe us $2 million, right? And then you have this big battle that ensues and then hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees later, um, you walk away with like 250,000 and you’ve paid a hundred out to your attorney. And you’re like, whoa, what just happened? I was supposed to get a million dollars a year ago or two years ago. And now I’m getting 150,000, well, what just happened there?

Seth Smiley (08:31):
Or sometimes walking away for zero and being like, wow, I’m glad I didn’t have to pay $2 million. So, and that’s why people, that’s why a lot of our clients don’t like construction lawyers is because they end up in that kind of mess. So anyway, so being proactive helps to smooth a lot of that out. It helps to have the contractor or the supplier, uh, see a lot of the potential pitfalls before they happened. And it allows them to be able to adjust quickly or know what their ramifications are so they can solve things much, much more quickly when you’re in reactive mode. Uh, yeah, you just, it, it tends to be high stakes. Cause you’ve tried everything in the book before you actually go hire a lawyer and it ends up being an extremely turbulent time. And you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s nasty for everybody and our adversarial system and the law, uh, makes it even worse. And you know, people that you had longstanding business relationships with, a lot of that gets terminated and you never do business with them again, simply because of some nasty legal battle so that we always want to try to figure out a way to stay out of the courtrooms and get things handled in an efficient manner to get everybody back to work so they can keep generating revenue for their company.

Justin Gitelman (09:46):
Absolutely. I think, um, there’s, there’s probably a handful of specific situations. I would think you could speak to that I’m sure. On a proactive side versus reactive, like how people can prepare better for through reactive side or like

Seth Smiley (10:03):
Right, right. Yeah. And I mean, it’s, so I always tell people, you know, a lot, for whatever reason, many of our clients don’t want to come in on the front end and get their contracts negotiated. And maybe it’s maybe it’s ignorance. Maybe it’s, um, they, they don’t want to pay the money. They don’t want to do whatever, but pretty much every contract that you enter into save for like a mortgage or your cell phone contract or whatever, you can negotiate that contract. So if you’re going into a deal and you’re painting subcontractor that GC like there’s terms in there that you can negotiate and you can deal with. And so you want to have a lawyer on your side, you don’t want to just run out and say, oh man, there’s this guy, you know, there’s a project out there we’re eligible for the bid.

Seth Smiley (10:47):
We came in at low bid. We just want to sign whatever they give us, just so that we can get that project. I’ve seen companies go out of business based on that model because they’re like, yes, I’m so happy. The biggest contractor we ever had before was 250,000. Now we signed a million dollar deal. This is going to grow our company. We’re going to sail off into the sunset and do big jobs where that GC is used to dealing with small subs. And they’re like, ha ha, we got another one. And they just signed off on our one-sided contract. And if anything ever goes wrong, we have them, you know, we have them nailed. And so subcontractors material suppliers are actually really good. They they’re typically bigger companies and they get, they negotiate good terms and they work with lawyers and deal with that. GCs are usually pretty good at it.

Seth Smiley (11:33):
It’s your subs and your subs of subs and various people like that that were even developers sometimes too, because they’re not always as sophisticated. They will enter into these one-sided contracts and it’s, and it’s, and it ends up being very bad. So you want to make sure on that front end that you’re either giving people your contract, that a lawyer’s drafted up. It has attorney’s fees, clauses that has indemnity clauses that has all these things that help you rather than signing someone else’s and just signing away everything. That’s a one-sided contract against you. Where on the front end, you could say, okay, we’re gonna accept this million dollar deal, but I’m not going to indemnify you for, you know, some crazy thing that’s out of my control. Uh, we’re not going to have these damages for delay clauses that are this extreme. And a lot of times a sophisticated, um, person that you’re contracting with will actually have more respect for you and your company. If you are negotiating those things on the front end and they will they’ll say, Hey, look, these guys have it together. Uh, and they know what they need to be doing in order to, uh, have a successful outcome outcome on this job. So go ahead.

Justin Gitelman (12:40):
That’s on like a material price, escalation clauses, or risk shifting GLAAD, white clouds, all that kind of,

Seth Smiley (12:47):
Yeah, it’s very similar to what we were talking about a minute ago. Um, the people who are writing these contracts they’ve been burned before or their company has or whatever. And so they see what’s coming up and they see material shortages and they see these, uh, pay if paid and pay when paid and all that fun stuff. They know that they’ve been down that road before. And so they’re, it’s basically, they’re going to ride it one side and their way. And if people sign it great, if people push back, then they’re like, okay, we need to make this a little bit more fair. And so it’s just, it’s just one of those things, you know, the material prices are very hot ticket items. Right now. I have a friend who, uh, had a new house there was going to be building and, uh, he got rebid out and it went up 40% just because of the material costs.

Seth Smiley (13:35):
And so he’s like, Hey, what can we do about that? And I’m like, well, the way your contract’s written, you’re going to just either have to pay it or wait to build your house. So it’s a, it’s just, it’s one of those things where you gotta, you have to negotiate those things before you sign on the dotted line. Um, and so yeah, so con the contract stage, the negotiation in the beginning is a very important part to have lawyers and most lawyers know it like, Hey, look, if we nip it in the bud there, I may never see this client for this project ever again. And that’s a good thing. I always tell people, if you don’t have to see me again, or you don’t, that means we did our job and the project went well. And that’s, that’s a good thing.

Justin Gitelman (14:18):

Seth Smiley (14:19):
Exactly. And so just doing a little bit on the front end, you know, and when I say a little bit, a couple thousand dollars, you know, typically a contract, um, negotiation, depending on how many pages it is and how much back and forth there is, uh, you know, like, you know, fairly small retainer fee, a couple thousand bucks, maybe five, uh, and then you go and you do that whole transaction a couple of months or weeks back and forth. And so, you know, it just that’s what lawyers cost, but in order to, you might spend a few thousand dollars to save yourself 10, 15, a hundred, 150, whatever the number is, uh, later on in either legal fees or just, you know, price of doing business whenever you have a negotiated deal, but against a one-sided contract.

Justin Gitelman (15:00):
So when that, yeah, absolutely. Um, when like the reactive side of things happens, there’s a big dispute. What, you know, what, what do you usually see kinda goes wrong at that stage that maybe could have been prevented before?

Seth Smiley (15:14):
Sure. I mean, and you know, you have, you have your contracts, lien rights and big disputes slide here. I mean, a lot of times, you know, if, if the, if the progression goes, the contract is negotiated, the job starts, the work is starting to be performed notices in some states. Uh, Louisiana has some notice provisions for material suppliers, but we’re technically not like a notice state. Other states I’m licensed in Texas as well as a huge notice state. I don’t do a ton of work there, but I know about it, California, as well as well. And I’m licensed there, but you have to make sure that you’re doing all these preliminary items first. So you’re sending out your notices. And then when payments start to slow down, you’re filing your liens, uh, in a properly timely manner. And then the majority of the people who are doing those things avoid the big disputes.

Seth Smiley (16:05):
The big disputes happen. Typically when it is a one-sided contract that was not negotiated. They miss their notice, uh, time periods. They didn’t file their liens, or they followed him in properly. And then all of a sudden you have the person who’s like, I I’m, I’m owed a million dollars. I did the work and now, or I supplied the materials and now they’re just not paying me. What can I do? And I’m like, all right, well, did you do this, this and this and this? And they’re like, no, no, no. And no. And I’m like, well, you can get your checkbook out and pay me and we can try to get you a decent deal. Uh, or you can just get ready to take a haircut and, and, and take a big deduction on the work that you did because you have not set yourself up for success. And so, and, you know, big disputes in Louisiana, especially with COVID and whatever, not only do they cost a lot of money, but they’re, it takes forever to get to trial and to get it, you know, to get judges, to rule on things because nothing’s in person anymore. And it’s just a very slow, frustrating process. So you want to try to stay out of that as much as possible.

Justin Gitelman (17:15):
Definitely. If you could kind of sum up if someone’s trying to kind of figure out if they should hire a lawyer upfront, you know, in the practice way or, uh, you know, save it for some, a reactive situation, anything like that, what advice would you have for people who are trying to like figure it out?

Seth Smiley (17:34):
Yeah. And so, uh, and, and I’ll, you know, I’ll come across and say this right now are good construction lawyers, hard to find a lot of times they are a lot of times, like a general contractor will get sued by a sub or whatever, and they’ll Tinder to their insurance. The insurance will run out and hire a big firm, big office, building big, everything, big bills, all this stuff. But the, the, the, the, the GC doesn’t have to pay those bills cause their insurance picked it up. So on in the rest of the world, uh, the people have to go out and find a decent construction attorney. Uh, construction attorneys is it’s not a huge specialty. Um, you have lots of other specialties where, you know, you have a big volume of people you can choose from. You can go look at Google, you can read reviews, you can do all that stuff.

Seth Smiley (18:17):
And there just, aren’t tons of the now out there. And so having, you know, a service like Levelset, um, and working, you know, the point is if you have this service that can help you with notices and help you with liens and really prepare yourself in getting in the best position, uh, then you also want to make sure that you have this attorney that you hired on the front end to help you negotiate this contract, which may or may not be hard to find. Um, and then on the, you know, and then you, you use the attorney to negotiate the contract, to use a Levelset type program, to send your notices and file your liens because attorneys, offices, sure as hell aren’t going to do notices. I have not found any. We’ve actually tried through the years and it’s a real big pain because of the volume of them.

Seth Smiley (19:04):
That can be very, very tough on the timing and everything. And then a lot of lawyers they’ll call us, you know, all the time, like I’m a lawyer, I went to law school, didn’t learn anything about liens. And so either I filed this thing and I think it’s wrong and I’ve committed malpractice, or I have, I’ve read the statutes and I have no idea what to do. So please help. And this is, you know, this is prominent lawyers and just, it’s just, it’s a, it’s a very, it’s a, it’s a very specialized area. And so yeah, you want to get the lawyer on the front end, have them help you with that and get a service, like a Levelset to help you with the, the middle portion of it. And hopefully everything is taken care of there. And then if it hits the fan, that’s when you swing back around to the law firm and you, you know, you’ve done all, everything to preserve your rights and you have to go out and chase down your money.

Justin Gitelman (19:52):
Absolutely. Thanks for that. Um, as you mentioned, uh, finding a lawyer is actually really difficult, you know, quality quality one, and kind of, you know, knowing that you have them on your side. Um, and, and I’ll say, as you mentioned, that’s something that actually Levelsetting help with, which I want to go into here for a minute. And then I also just want to let everyone know in the audience, if you have any questions at any time, you’re welcome to drop them in the chat or the Q and a, and we’ll also just pause at the end to have a dedicated Q and a session, um, federal laws, assets, or me, anything at all. Um, so yeah, so when it comes to finding a lawyer, um, we have actually this new service called legal guard where we have a select set of vetted construction attorneys and about 18 states. I think we’re adding more every, um, every couple of days, whatever, but basically there’s a flat fee. That’s a yearly annual rate where some of those proactive services like contract review and sending a attorney demand letter or lien claim review are, I’ll just included as well as a handful of other services, like 30 minute phone calls. And in general, it just kind of fast tracks that step of getting someone on your side, who, you know, and trust and can, I guess, you know, when it comes to a bigger dispute, that’s

Justin Gitelman (21:25):
Great. It’s good to have someone that you already know and work with. Yeah,

Seth Smiley (21:29):
Absolutely. Dan, once, if you’ve, if you’ve ignored all the front end stuff, if you haven’t done the contract and you haven’t sent everything out and all of a sudden you go scramble around for a lawyer, you’re either going to Google it, or you’re going to ask your cousin and they’re going to know their friend’s brother’s, whatever, whatever. And you’re going to get stuck with a schmuck. And there’s a lot of lawyers out there who are that. And I, you know, and it’s just, it’s just, there’s a lot who try to stretch and do things they shouldn’t be doing. Uh, and I like to equate it to, you know, you’re not going to hire a roofer to come fix your toilet. Uh, you know, and it’s just one of those things where certain lawyers are good at certain things and certain ones are not, and you just don’t want to hire somebody who thinks they’re good at everything, especially something as technical as lean law.

Seth Smiley (22:13):
And so having a service like this is amazing. I mean, it’s, um, it’s, again, you can get, you can get the attention you need on the front end, and then you can also, as the process goes through, utilize the services, uh, of like Levelsets core of what they do with the liens and notices. And then on the back end, if you have calls or questions, or if you end up needing to go into a bigger dispute, I think you even get like a discount on their fees, right. Of the, of the attorney that you’ve been working with. And so the awesome thing to me there seems like, instead of just going around to find somebody or hoping that they have good Google reviews, you’re getting to work with, with, with lawyers that have either worked with other Levelset clients, or they’ve been vetted by the legal guard process.

Seth Smiley (23:00):
And, uh, and you know, you know, this company is putting their name by it. And so I think that that’s, that’s pretty solid in and of itself because there’s just, it’s, I’ve had to go out and try to find attorneys in other states for my clients. And it’s really tough. And so it’s just, you know, finding somebody good, finding somebody that when you, as an attorney, refer them to, Hey, look, go trust this guy, this gal, because you know, this, that, and the other, when you you’ve only met them once or twice on the phone, and, you know, you don’t really know all their credentials, you know, so having something like this would be, you know, invaluable.

Justin Gitelman (23:37):
Yeah. I think it would be helpful also to just really put into context from like your perspective as a construction lawyer, how much all of these kinds of services cost, you know, if you are going to have a lawyer on your side, get to use them to, to help protect your business and your risk throughout the year, and, you know, try to have them on board in case something goes wrong, you know? Cause so they regard just, uh, and this is not like a sales call or anything, but, um, legal guards, like 2000 a year or something, it’s like a subscription flat rate. Like how much would this kind of cost for

Seth Smiley (24:16):
A little bit about this before the call? And he was kind of explained to me that the services of Lou ARD and then he told me the price and I was like, is that per month? And he’s like, no, that’s annual. And I was like, that’s free. You know, like, so whenever you’re going to hire a lawyer, I mean, most of the time you got to put $5,000 down, $10,000 down and then, you know, you had the hourly rate. So at the end of every month, you know, you’re like sweet. Can’t wait for that bill from my attorney. And you know, I’ve talked to him a few times, but have they been emailing the other side? Have they been writing pleadings? Have they been negotiating con how have they been doing all these other things? And then you get the bill and you’re like, oh, well they’re doing a lot of work.

Seth Smiley (24:54):
So let’s go see if they’re making me any money or anything. And they’re like, oh Nope. Here, can I get an update? Uh, yeah, read the bill. So, um, no, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s very frustrating. The legal process and it’s, and it’s hard as a lawyer try, I’ve tried flat fees, I’ve tried subscriptions, I’ve tried. And it all circles back around, back into the hourly rate because it’s what our clients understand the most, even though they hate it. And because otherwise they, they think that we’re doing something fishy. If we’re, you know, it’s a flat rate or a subscription from a lawyers in, um, and I’ve had people tell me that straight to my face and then the other otherwise. Yeah. And so, and then the hourly billing is just the devil that, you know, and people, they, they do it. And then after two or three months or four months, they get really fatigued with it.

Seth Smiley (25:42):
And so all of a sudden the incentive for them to call me when there is something wrong is, is really low because they don’t want to keep getting pinged with the hourly, you know, per minute charge or whatever. And so they will let stuff slide that doesn’t need to slide and ended up costing them way more than our fee. But at the same time, they don’t know it at that particular time. And so they would rather not make that phone call or not send that email because it could just tire being billed every single month. I mean, we will go through a $5,000 retainer, especially with litigation or whatever in no time. And many times we, you know, we have to take, you know, 25 and $50,000 retainers. If we know it’s going to be a highly contested case. Um, and you know, you just eat through that and just like, Hey, replenish replenish. And the client gets very frustrated. So the fact that you can get calls with attorneys, you can get demand letters, you can get, um, you can get, and I forget some of the other things that you told me, um, uh [inaudible] but regardless with those negotiating contracts and those various things, I mean that in of itself, uh, again, I would think that you, you would be paying a law firm a whole lot more than, than what that fee

Justin Gitelman (26:55):
Sometimes, you know, that the element of taking the time to actually find someone who you want to work with, you’re also often charging to email or get on a consultation and even like figure out if you’re going to be able to work together on a case. Right?

Seth Smiley (27:10):
Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, time is money in the legal world. And so anytime, you know, a lawyer starts thinking about your case, the clock starts running and, uh, you know, it’s an unfortunate system, but it is the system that we’re, that we’re set up with. And, uh, you know, it’s the one that works, especially when, you know, it’d be different if, and even, even when you’re the one that you’re like, I’m the victim I’m owed money. Like help me take it on contingency. Most construction lawyers will not take that unless they’re naive, or haven’t been through the ringer a few times, because inevitably in every construction Sue, when somebody is like, I’m owed all this money, you Sue them. And then all of a sudden the countersuit comes back and it’s listing out 50 things of what that person, you know, that contractor did wrong, even if they did nothing wrong, it’s just a strategy play. And it’s just an extremely expensive endeavor.

Justin Gitelman (28:03):
Absolutely. Um, so yeah, just to sum up, uh, as a, as I mentioned, legal guard is just kind of a flat service where upfront you subscribe, we match you pretty much, same day or next day to someone that we’ve already vetted in your state. One of those 18 states that has got, um, you can find out more about that at Levelset dot com slash legal guard. I’ll make sure to include links to that at the end and send them to everyone afterwards. Um, but also just want to mention for anyone also just in all 50 states and anyone who’s looking for some free help, just, you really want to find an answer to something. Um, we have this community at Levelset dot com slash payment, that shelter, I believe I can also send a link to that, but you can just ask a question about, you know, construction payment, construction, law, and an attorney in, we have thousands of attorneys and in all 50 states who will just answer your question in a day or two. Um, so that’s another great resource.

Seth Smiley (29:04):
Yeah. That is a great resource for everybody on this call. Uh, first of all, it’s sorta like free legal advice, right? You’re not going to get like the full on legal advice because they’re going to probably put a disclaimer or whatever, but it’s so hard in the construction world to go out and like Google for something and then say, okay, well now I know the legal answer because depending on what state you’re in and whatever, whatever, whatever, it’s very hard. And then if you go to a service like Ava or a Reddit or any of these other community forums, it’s a snowball’s chance in hell that you’re going to find a construction lawyer to answer your question. It’s just, it’s almost. And so having a community that is just for construction law and having these cars, they want to go in there and, you know, answer questions and prove that they’re a good lawyer. And then the community comes in and gets their questions, ask the questions. It’s it’s, that is a very, very, very good resource that people should be tapping into much more regularly.

Justin Gitelman (30:01):
Great. Uh, yeah, you know, you can, you can ask question, you can also just search through that old directory of construction lawyers. They’re all construction lawyers, as Sarah said, um, you know, you can sort them by, by reviews, by your state, all that kind of stuff. And it’s another, another great way to find someone in your area who can help you out. Um, and you can reach out. And as Seth mentioned, we have lien rights automation. So sending out notices and tracking all the deadlines and paperwork and all of that, that’s something where at the end of, you know, when it comes to a big dispute, having all your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed, we just handle all that. And that’s just another service that we offer. Um,

Seth Smiley (30:43):
And to speak to that very quickly, I, contractors aren’t the best people in the world with paperwork. Um, and so as a lawyer, we love paperwork and we need, we want all documents, all correspondence, all this, that. And the other many times when people come to me, um, they I’m like, Hey, just send this notice out. Or did you file this lien? Or did you do this or that, or the other? And the, you know, the vast majority who are not using a service like Levelset are like, oh, let me, you know, let me email my assistant or let me do this, or let me do that. And then you get the paper and it’s not, it’s, it’s, it’s a bunch of mess that we have to pull together, either go to the county or go to the parish and pull the documents from there. When we have people that are, that use a service like Levelset. I mean, it’s all right there. It’s just, boom, boom, boom. Every document’s there, the certified mail, all of the information that you need is at your fingertips and do the legal guard attorneys actually have some sort of way, or is it has to get the documents through the client, uh, through Levelset. Like, do they have a way to get to access any of the documents that were filed?

Justin Gitelman (31:48):
Not sure about that. I don’t know

Seth Smiley (31:50):
Either, but regardless you have that, you, you have the documents as the client, and then you have the, the, the legal guard attorney who can help analyze all that information as well. But yeah, I mean, it’s having, having that makes, and that will save you money. That will cause if your lawyer has to run out and try to gather all that information, because you don’t have it saved that the clock is continuing to run. So I’m sorry. I’m probably going over and talking too much.

Justin Gitelman (32:16):
Um, yeah, this has all been really great to hear. Um, we’re going to go to Q and a here. I think I just saw someone raised a hand. So yeah, if you want to put that in the chat, uh, I saw someone asked if the, this recording will be available, that will be sent out by email tomorrow. So keep an eye out for that. And anyone who didn’t attend live, I look forward to you watching this tomorrow. Um, let’s see. So actually, I, we do have a question here, um, is the lien filed at a town hall by a certified mail and not a person?

Seth Smiley (32:49):
All right. Yeah. I see that question, Cathy, thank you for putting that in the chat. Uh, there are, there are a couple of different ways that you can file a lien. Uh, and so you can either, in many, it just depends. COVID world pre COVID world. You know, a lot of times you can’t do things in person in the COVID world, but, uh, and in some jurisdictions. So basically yes, you can go down and file it in person. Uh, yes, you can normally mail file liens, uh, and you can FedEx them, which is like common courier, FedEx ups, or whatever. A lot of times you can fax them to certain jurisdictions. That’s kind of getting phased out, but the law loves to hold on to faxes. I don’t know why. I think it’s just because it was written in there and they don’t know how to underwrite it.

Seth Smiley (33:30):
And then, uh, e-filing is the thing that a big trend that’s coming along, but you know, the awesome thing about a company like Levelset is that if you’re paying me and my office by the hour to go figure that stuff out, cause every jurisdiction is different. And when I say jurisdiction, no, I’m not talking about just the state of Louisiana. It would be like, uh, say Louisiana, the parish of Jefferson parish of Orleans, parish of St. Bernard parish of this, that, and the other. And they’re all different. Jefferson has e-filing uh, Washitaw you have the only male Pilar do it in person or whatever, then whatever the rules are. And so if we’re having to go hunt all of that down, they’ve already done all that homework for you. Um, and so, yeah, exactly. And so I’m licensed in Louisiana, you’re in the state of Connecticut and I don’t know this, and that’s why software companies like Levelset are fantastic because they know all the rules.

Justin Gitelman (34:21):
Yeah. And when it, when it comes to Connecticut, uh, it would be probably best to ask someone on the community. Like I said, we have a bunch of lawyers in Connecticut and you can be happy to answer this questions. Um, we’re happy to forward some of that over also, um, any other questions here?

Seth Smiley (34:39):
Most of the time, there are multiple ways to file the lien, but, um, but don’t get it wrong because if you do any little thing wrong, when a lean it’s invalid, and so there’s no woopsies, if you’ve missed the deadline, so make sure that, you know, you do it and you do it right. And you know, you get somebody who understands how to do that stuff to get it done for you.

Justin Gitelman (35:00):
Absolutely. Well, I don’t see. Yeah. Thanks for asking that, Kathy. And thanks for coming here. Um, thanks so much for this conversation. I learned a lot. I found it very helpful. I hope everyone here did as well. Um, any closing thoughts? Any, any further questions scenes?

Seth Smiley (35:22):
No, none here. Yeah. Thank you for having me on, uh, love to talk about this stuff anytime. Uh, that’s the nerd in me who likes to talk about lean law, uh, but, but I enjoy it and I think it’s a, I think it’s good because when these are done right, to see contractors and suppliers and you know, everybody get paid on the job, like they’re supposed to, and the job go off flawlessly without a hitch is a wonderful thing. And so if anybody tells you that they like the fight part of it, they’re just lying to you. Uh, it’s good to see people get paid for the hard work that they performed.

Justin Gitelman (35:55):
Amen. Thanks again. Thanks everybody who showed up here lives. Um, and if those things that I mentioned are here on this page, uh, I’ll follow up with them after. And if you want to do ask Seth or me any other questions or emails or their at the bottom as well, and we’ll see you next time.

Seth Smiley (36:15):
All right. Thank you all.