“Sedgwick is renowned for its construction litigation expertise and for its work on behalf of contractors on a national basis.” Chambers and Partners, “The Client’s Guide” of Chambers USA.
For more than a quarter century, Sedgwick’s Construction Practices Group, comprised of nationally recognized construction lawyers, has represented the entire spectrum of construction project participants and has handled construction matters of every type, large and small. Today, clients of the Construction Practices Group benefit from that experience in all aspects of the construction process. Sedgwick’s construction clients include general contractors and subcontractors; public and private owners; developers of commercial and residential properties; architects, engineers and other design professionals; equipment and material suppliers; and sureties.
Document Preparation and Negotiation
Sedgwick attorneys work with our clients to negotiate and draft customized documents based on each client’s specifications and unique requirements. Our attorneys have years of experience negotiating and drafting construction contracts of all types, including design-build contracts; traditional lump-sum and guaranteed maximum price contracts; performance-based contracts; construction management contracts, including at-risk contracts; and design contracts. Our attorneys are extremely familiar with the contract forms published by the American Institute of Architects, ConsensusDOCS, Associated General Contractors, Design-Build Institute of America, Engineers Joint Contracts Documents Committee, and the Construction Management Association of America.
Project Counseling and Advice
Sedgwick’s construction attorneys also have extensive experience counseling and advising clients as they face the myriad of issues that arise during the course of the construction process. Our attorneys regularly provide invaluable assistance interpreting the meaning and interplay of contract provisions; identifying potential claims; positioning our clients to best pursue or defeat such claims; negotiating and drafting change orders and change directives; and securing appropriate progress and final payments. By working closely with our clients during the course of a construction project, our attorneys can preserve and protect legal rights and maximize project returns.
Construction Claims and Dispute Resolution
When construction projects hit the inevitable bumps, our construction attorneys do not wait for matters to reach the courtroom. Rather, we are proactive. We work with our clients to manage risk and when appropriate, take charge at the earliest stages of negotiations, Dispute Resolution Board hearings, or workout meetings. We focus on fashioning cost-effective, real world solutions to the problems facing our clients.
Sedgwick's construction attorneys pioneered early document exchanges and mediated settlements long before “alternative dispute resolution” became a popular phrase, much less a requisite step during litigation or arbitration. Avoiding protracted litigation and discovery is often in our clients’ best interests, and we are adept at securing favorable early remedies, thereby sparing our clients the high costs of discovery and litigation.
Of course, when necessary, Sedgwick is prepared to aggressively take matters to trial, arbitration, and beyond. Members of the Construction Practices Group have significant courtroom experience handling a variety of construction disputes, including claims for extra work, delay, acceleration, payment breach, design deficiency, breach of warranty, and the like. Recently, we have won several significant verdicts and arbitration awards for our clients. To achieve these results, we work closely with industry leaders in such fields as construction scheduling and accounting in order to provide our clients with sound and comprehensive representation.
Regulatory Advice and Counsel
Sedgwick prides itself on representing clients throughout the entire spectrum of a construction project, from planning to completion. It also provides advice and counsel to clients navigating federal, state and local regulatory agencies, including permitting, safety and ADA accessibility issues.
Employment and Labor
Sedgwick’s Employment and Labor Practice offers a wide variety of services that are integral to its construction clients, including wage and hour compliance and litigation; labor law and labor relations disputes; discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblower matters; and employee benefits, counseling, policy development, and training.
As a recognized national and international leader in managing the complex issues facing bonding companies, Sedgwick’s attorneys counsel and defend sureties in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations and litigation in local, state and federal jurisdictions (including bankruptcy courts).
Sedgwick’s lawyers have negotiated and drafted countless workout agreements, completion contracts, and takeover agreements. Additionally, Sedgwick’s construction expertise allows us to successfully negotiate default terminations and aggressively pursue affirmative claims.
Bankruptcies do not stop Sedgwick or terminate our clients’ interests. Our attorneys have substantial expertise in protecting our clients’ interests as creditors, which gives us an advantage in any bankruptcy negotiation. Moreover, with Sedgwick’s extraordinary bench strength in the creditors’ rights and the insurance industry, we offer our clients cross-practice expertise when confronting complex bankruptcies and bad faith and other extracontractual claims. Sedgwick’s experience extends beyond performance, payment, bid, release, and license bonds in construction to commercial, subdivision, license, probate, judicial, fiduciary, and miscellaneous bonds. Our attorneys also draw on Sedgwick experts in E&O and CGL policies and other insurance resources to exhaust all avenues to shift risks from our clients to others.
In support of the frequent in-house claims handling seminars presented by our attorneys, Sedgwick has published the California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Handbook, as well as the Texas Surety Law Deskbook.
Construction Industry Leadership
Attorneys in Sedgwick’s Construction Practices Group are active and have held and continue to hold leadership positions in several industry organizations, including the Associated General Contractors of America and of California, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry, the American Bar Association’s Public Contract Law Section, and the American Bar Association’s Fidelity and Surety Law Committee. Sedgwick attorneys, voluntarily and at the request of others, frequently write and present on topics of interest in the construction industry.