Construction law is the area of legal practice dealing with matters such as infrastructure, construction and engineering. Construction workers have a lot of regulations to follow, and the role of a construction lawyer is to ensure these rules are adhered to.
Construction can deal with all aspects of infrastructure from roads to hospitals. It’s a very diverse area covering a range of legal issues. The work can be both contentious and non-contentious because quite often, dispute resolution will be needed between the party paying for the work and the company carrying it out.
Construction lawyers are there to negotiate and draft agreements between the parties involved in a construction project.
They work from the beginning of the project, opening up contracts all the way to completion, registration of the work and carrying out necessary formalities for the project. If problems arise, lawyers are also responsible for facilitating dispute resolution and/or arbitration.
Construction lawyers may have to work alongside financial or real estate departments to ensure the construction process runs smoothly.
A career in construction law suits someone who is creative, can understand complex contracts and think analytically. An interest or some knowledge in other areas such as engineering may also be of use. Therefore, if you are an engineering undergraduate seeking to convert to law, construction law is a great option.
It’s also really helpful for those interested in a career in construction law to enjoy working in a team and be able to collaborate with a range of professionals in different sectors.
Lots of law firms have a construction department. Therefore, finding work experience or undertaking a vacation scheme with the possibility of some time spent in these departments may be invaluable in kick-starting your career in construction law.
In terms of the skills needed in construction law, gaining experience in negotiating would be very helpful. Law schools often provide good opportunities through negotiating competitions or as part of a common university module called legal methods.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in construction law, the routes you have to take are similar to other areas of law. You must first obtain a qualifying degree in law or a degree in any other discipline followed by a Graduate Diploma in Law.
Following this, if you want to follow the solicitor pathway you will have to undertake the Legal Practice Course and a recognised period of training (a training contract or post 2021, the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam). To become a barrister, it’s the BPTC followed by a year-long pupillage.
One statistical website on a comparison of 1 million job advertisements found that the average salary for a construction lawyer is £72,000.
As with many different areas of the law, the highest salaries for UK construction lawyers will be found in London. Salaries tend to decrease the further up north you move.
As with every area, a typical salary will vary depending on which firm you work for, where you are based and, of course, what level of seniority you are at.
Some well-known law firms who specialise in or feature a department dedicated to construction law include the following:
For a deeper understanding of the topic, we would recommend purchasing any of the following construction law books:
|Professor John Uff
|Construction Contract Law
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