In 1591, William Shakespeare famously wrote, “The first
thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Most of you probably
think that nothing much has changed in the last 400 years.
Non-lawyer team members on large-scale infrastructure
projects often tell us that they think this way about lawyers.
But feelings of dislike and distrust between team members
can wreak havoc on your project. Through this article,
and our accompanying presentation at the International
Education Conference in Edmonton, we will help you
recognize the important role of lawyers in your project and
provide some advice on how to seamlessly integrate them
into your team.
A Dangerous Misconception
Lawyers often rank as the least-liked and least-trusted of
professionals. They are typically seen as arrogant, uncaring,
self-interested, expensive and driven solely by the idea
of making money. Although you can probably think of
a lawyer that possesses at least one of these unsavory
characteristics, many of these are just broad stereotypes.
In fact, many lawyers are none of these things at all. But as
we’ve seen many times, the way project team members feel
about lawyers can detrimentally affect the success of the
Any successful project starts with a well-integrated project
team. This integration is invaluable as it is the cornerstone
that allows the team to address and solve any of the broad
spectrum of issues that will arise during land acquisition
and construction of the project. Successful project teams
include acquisition agents, company representatives,
engineers, field construction teams, valuation experts and
legal practitioners. All of these individuals must work
together in identifying issues and developing solutions.
Ensuring strong relationships among all team members is
key to getting your projects done on time and on budget.
We see the aversion for attorneys play out in problematic
ways in many right of way projects. Acquisition agents
BY MISCHA M. BOARDMAN AND DEVIN R. SULLIVAN
DO YOU HATE
Learn to love them and create a cohesive team in the process