by: Mark A. Cobb
When I meet people it can be difficult to share with them what I do. If I simply admit to being a “lawyer” then I have probably shut down the conversation, but if I tell my listener that I am a “business lawyer” or a “construction lawyer,” then I might get a follow-up question or two. Unfortunately, neither of these terms really express my legal specialty as a Georgia Subcontractor Lawyer.
Business Lawyer: Being a Georgia Subcontractor Lawyer means that I represent businesses many of which are associated with the construction industry. It means that we help create and organize new businesses, we assist with business licensure, commercial lease negotiation, franchise documents, purchase money security interests, contracts, mergers & acquisitions, and payment issues.
Construction Lawyer: Being a Georgia Subcontractor Lawyer also means that we work with unique contract drafting methods and dispute resolution methods which are unique to construction law; these unique features are based on many factors including multiple contractual relationships, unforeseeable but necessary contract amendments, changes and additions due to weather delays, construction site issues, as well as unique (but very beneficial) collection avenues including materialmen liens, payment bonds, and Miller Act litigation.
Unique Subcontractor Issues: Thus, it might be said that Subcontractor Law is a combination of business law and construction law. It is, but it is simulataneouly much more than that. Georgia’s lien laws on private projects and Georgia’s payment bond laws on public projects have specific statutes governing Georgia subcontractors and suppliers which do not apply to general construction contractors, architects, engineers and real estate developers. Furthermore, there are contract terms and notice requirements which are unique to subcontractors. Issues such as “paid-when-paid”, “paid-if-paid” and Prompt Payment Acts impact this class of construction professionals.
Suppliers Too! To further complicate matters, the term Subcontractor Law is also applicable to businesses which supply materials to construction projects. Thus, we regularly represent manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of products (or services) used on a construction project. This includes everything from site-preparation work, to roofing materials, lighting fixtures and bathroom dividers. Thus, we have to know a lot about our client’s businesses, their distribution, and their contracts or open accounts.
These are just some of the reasons why it is difficult for me to succinctly share with others the fascinating world of my business/construction/subcontractor/supplier law practice. Marketers stress the importance of being able to share your expertise in a quick sound-bite, but until there is a more accurate term for this legal specialty, Georgia Subcontract Lawyer is the best description there is.
Of course, there was an old Cosby episode in which Dr. Cosby was asked by a car salesman, “What type of work do you do?” To this, the affable Bill Cosby quipped, “I work hard” without disclosing the details of his vocation. Maybe I should just try this!
If you need a Georgia Business, Franchise, Construction, Manufacturer, Subcontractor or Supplier law, contact us today!