Luber: Hey everyone, Marc Luber here. Today
on JD Careers Out There we�re looking at what it�s like to be a construction lawyer,
so stick around. [theme music] Alright, today�s guest is Matt Devries and he�s a construction
lawyer in Nashville where he�s a partner at Stites & Harbison, which is one of the
oldest law firms in America. Matt�s the founder of the Best Practices Construction
Law blog and he was also named as one of the Best Lawyers in America in 2013 and has been
listed as a Rising Star by Mid-South Super Lawyers in 2011. As you might already know,
at JDCOT we help you find and succeed in fulfilling careers using a law degree by exploring career
paths both in and out of law. Today we�re looking at the path of being a construction
lawyer so let�s meet Matt and get started. Matt, welcome to JDCOT! Matt: Well thanks for having me, Marc, I�m
glad to be here. Luber: Yeah, I�m glad you�re here. So
Matt, I�m going to be asking you all about a typical day, who makes a good fit for this
path and what are the right skill sets, personality types and also, how do you break in and how
do you succeed. But first, let�s start with the basics. Tell us about what you do as a
construction lawyer and tell us about your practice. Matt: Well, as a construction lawyer I�m
involved pretty much in the day-to-day of a construction project. I�ll tell you, my
practice, I primarily represent contractors – and that would be on any type of construction
project that could be anywhere from a commercial project, maybe it�s a hotel or a condo unit,
it could be a public project, so it could be a highway or bridge or wastewater treatment
plant for a facility. It could be a residential project. So being a construction lawyer, I
represent primarily contractors and the disputes would be anything on the front end from construction
financing, getting building permits, working with a local regulatory agency on environmental
issues to drafting the contract documents that go between the owner, the architect,
the bank, the contractor, to during projects – things always go wrong. So contractors and
parties do need legal assistance through the process. There could be an accident on site,
you might have an OSHA investigation, you can have employment issues representing contractors.
And then ultimately, if the project finishes, sometimes it�s not on time, sometimes it�s
not on budget, and so the parties are often looking at each other to recover additional
amounts, whether it�s additional money for the contractor or additional time in his time
of performance, and that�s where it turns into disputes. And I�d say probably 50 or
60% of my practice is straight litigation and disputes. Luber: So then you would say that you�re
both a�you both have a litigation and a transactional practice? Matt: I think that�s accurate. And I think
most constructions lawyers fit some type of the mold. You will have construction lawyers
who are full, 100% litigation and others who are only transactional. I think I�ve been
able to withstand the downturn in the economy because as the economy tightened in 2006,
we started to see a lot more disputes because people were fighting over projects, they were
fighting over project funds; there was a lot of contractors and developers going out of
business, filing for bankruptcy, so there was a lot more litigation. When we started
in the last year starting to see more contracts hit my desk, that was a good sign because
then you see that there�s new projects out there. So I would consider myself both a transactional
and a litigation attorney. Luber: Interesting. Alright, if you�re on
YouTube, please give us the thumbs up if this was helpful. And if you want to watch the
full interview with Matt, jump on over to JDCOT dot com and you�ll learn much more
about construction law careers because Matt�s gonna tell us about a typical day, who makes
the right fit, how you can break in and how you can succeed. If you�re already at the
site, you can just scroll down to the full video � make sure you join the membership
so you get access to all the helpful video content. Thanks again for watching everybody.
I�m Marc Luber and I�ll see you soon.