Episode 4: The Ugly Truth About Litigation- What Lawyers Won't Tell You ( With Jason Lambert)

Episode 4 March 15, 2021 00:34:17
Episode 4: The Ugly Truth About Litigation- What Lawyers Won't Tell You ( With Jason Lambert)
The Quit Getting Screwed Construction Podcast
Episode 4: The Ugly Truth About Litigation- What Lawyers Won't Tell You ( With Jason Lambert)

Show Notes

Construction Litigation: Two words no contractor ever enjoys hearing together. Karalynn and Jason Lambert of the Hammer & Gavel podcast dive into the nitty gritty of litigation covering questions such as: What is it? How can you avoid it? How should you navigate it when you can't avoid it?

Listen in for these answers and more. 


Find Jason at: https://www.dinsmore.com/ or https://hammerngavel.com/ 
Listen to the Hammer & Gavel podcast: https://hammerngavel.com/podcast 

Check out our Website, subcontractorinstitute.com, to learn more about what we do.

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Facebook: The Subcontractor Institute
LinkedIn: The Subcontractor Institute

Quit Getting Screwed was recorded on Riverside.fm and is distributed by Castos.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:11 This is Carolyn. Welcome to the quick getting spruce podcast, where we talk about everything related to contractors, construction, and information to help you run better businesses. Speaker 1 00:00:24 Hey guys, and welcome to the quick getting screwed podcast. I'm glad you're back to see us. And today we have Jason Lambert who actually runs his own podcast, and isn't a construction law attorney in Florida. And the name of his podcast is hammer and gamble where he, you know, talks about all construction related issues, kind of a kindred spirit, because he's got lots of experience in the construction world before he actually became attorney, which I think is essential to being a successful construction attorney. So, Hey, welcome to the podcast, Jason, it's so good to have you. Thank you so Speaker 2 00:00:54 Much for having me. I really appreciate it. Um, I'm always happy to join and happy to, you know, talk about these different things that we're going to be talking about today. There's not a lot of information out there for contractors. So I think this is a great way to share it. Speaker 1 00:01:07 I agree. And today we're going to talk about the ugly truth about litigation that most other lawyers don't want you to know. Um, I'm sure Jason can gree with me on this is that it is hard to find an attorney who really has their client's best interests at heart because as a general rule, those things are opposed, right? The attorney wants to build a make money, which means the more tension and litigation they can create. The more that the attorney will make and recommending to resolve a dispute makes less money. And so we're going to dive into those issues today, but before we get there, Jason, tell me a little about, about yourself, where you started from and how you ended up where you are now. Sure. Speaker 2 00:01:47 I grew up in the construction industry. My parents owned a electrical supply warehouse, and so I, I grew up working in that, working around electricians and, uh, after college worked for them for a little bit longer and decided I was tired of working with family. So I went and became a project manager for one of our, one of our clients who are customers, who was a big custom home builder. And so I was a project manager for them and then a project manager for a big remodeling company down in Sarasota, which is a little further south of where I am now in Tampa. And all of this was sort of happening in that, you know, tremendous run-up in construction from like 2004 to 2007. And so it was, it was fantastic to be in construction at that time, especially in Florida. And then as everything started to, uh, you know, fall off the edge of a cliff, I wrote that I wrote that landslide, uh, all the way back down into law school. Speaker 2 00:02:41 Um, and, and part of that was because most of the work I was doing at that point in time, even as a project manager was I was helping the company as I was with put together their contracts and even put together small development deals. So it just sort of fit with what I was already doing and the bigger companies, you know, I looked at like when our us home at the time and I was like, oh, I'll see if I can go work for one of them and do some of their development work. And they all wanted you to have a law degree. So I went to law school and then came out on the other side, you know, and, and still working with the same people. So I've been representing contractors and subcontractors in Florida as an attorney now for almost another 10 years. And in anything that impacts their business, whether it's putting together contracts, representing them in litigation or other dispute resolution things, um, you know, labor and employment issues, immigration issues, whatever comes up, whatever impacts the industry. Uh, I try to be a resource for them. Um, so that's sort of the cliff notes of where I'm from and how I got to be here. So, Speaker 1 00:03:48 Yeah, well, and I think like coming from the construction industry, whether it's a material supply or a subcontractor or not, you have a different view, right. You view your client as a whole and okay. I'm helping them on this matter, but do they know the difference between a subcontractor and a contractor and what are the ramifications if they don't, you know, what are the, some of the big things you wish you would've known when you were working in the family business that you now know, or that you've gone back and taught them or help them run the business? I'm sure they're your biggest client by far? Speaker 2 00:04:22 Uh, if I represented family members, they might be, but no, um, I think the biggest things that I've worked with them on and any of the people who I used to work with, because I have had companies that I've worked for in the past, come back and use me. And, you know, I'd say the vast majority of that work has been, you know, helping them put together contracts that, you know, a are, are just compliant. Florida's got a handful of things that by statute you have to have in your contracts. I know Texas has similar requirements, uh, for at least residential construction contracts. So, um, you know, part of it is just that. Um, and then the other part of it has been, um, you know, other compliance issues. Again, Florida has got a pretty funky construction lien law. Uh, that's very complicated and nuanced and some parts of it are strict and some parts of it are not, and it's just helping them with that. Speaker 2 00:05:19 And so I, I, the thing that I always say, and there's a post on my blog about it about in Florida, the only industries that are more regulated than general contractors, uh, are doctors and, and not just, you know, regular doctors, but surgeons. I mean, surgeons, the guy doing surgery on your brain is the only person in the state, more regulated than you as a general contractor. If you just look at the volume of statutes and regulations. So, you know, you have to act as if you're in a heavily regulated industry, even if you don't realize it, even if it's just you, you know, doing handshake deals with people, um, all the statutes and everything still apply. So that's been the biggest thing that I've been able to work with people on, and that I've needed to work with people on it. Yeah, well, and Speaker 1 00:06:03 That they don't know going into the business, right. They have no idea that all these things are required and either to do when you were working there. And now that you know, all this stuff, it's important to share, you don't have to be licensed to be a contractor in Florida because some states like Texas, you don't have to be licensed. You can come do whatever you need to do, but I don't know what does Florida have? Speaker 2 00:06:21 I know a very, uh, extensive licensing scheme. There's a whole statute, chapter 49 that governs, uh, almost any type of contractor, electrical contractors have their own separate special statute, but they're both governed by the Florida department of business and professional regulation. And, um, Florida actually just opened up, just reduced some of the requirements for people, contractors who've been licensed out of state for at least 10 years. It's easier to now get a license in Florida than it used to be. And we've been helping a ton of people with that because it's a very, it's a booming industry down here. We need more skilled workers coming down here. And so you're seeing people take advantage of it. Uh, but you know, even for somebody who's been a contractor for, you know, 10 years or more, there's a lot of hoops to jump through. Um, and the penalties in Florida for not being properly licensed are, you know, your contract is unenforceable. Just so any, if, you know, you sign a quarter of a million dollar contract for something and you get paid for it and something goes wrong at the end, they can demand all that money back. Plus it's a crime. So now you're facing criminal charges. Speaker 1 00:07:28 Yeah. Wow. Yeah, that's pretty, that's pretty stringent. But then again, you know, um, I can see, I can understand why, because I deal with a lot of, we have very few rules about that. Most of it happens after the work is already done, like in Texas. And I deal with a llama homeowners, have contractors, come get paid some event and then walk the rest. And there's, I mean, these guys don't have anything to chase and they come to me, what can I do? I mean, you can Sue them, but I don't know if it's going to be collectible. So you probably just want to take your money and finish your project because I don't have any teeth like that so I can understand why this required. Right. Okay. So what has been your experience in litigation actually go into the courtroom or arbitration to have a dispute decide? I'm just curious what your general overall perception is, and then what it was like for your client. Speaker 2 00:08:15 I have a, I mean, I have a lot of experience in it overall. I think it's a terrible way to ultimately resolve disputes. Um, from one of the reasons that you mentioned at the beginning of the podcast that you've got, in some cases you have an attorney on the other side, you know, really driving the bus for their client and, you know, trying to run up fees or, you know, maybe they've taken an absurd position with their client that they can't go back on. They have to continue litigating. Otherwise they might have to admit they made a mistake or that they weren't right about something. Um, and so I, I find it to me generally horrible in that regard and for a lot of my clients, I mean, some of them, some of them come, you know, angry and they want to, you know, fight and they don't care how much it costs. Speaker 2 00:09:01 They want to win on principle. And that's fine. Principals are very expensive to have in litigation. So, uh, you know, if they want to do that, that's fine. But most of them, honestly, by, you know, by the time you've been in a lawsuit for, you know, three or four months, and they start to realize, you know, how dragged out the process is going to be, even if you're doing everything quickly, then it takes time to get hearings. It takes time for the other side to respond to things. Or, you know, the other side was, you know, claims that the work is, was done incorrectly. And, you know, I've never met a client who felt they did anything, you know, that wasn't, you know, the most flawless work ever. So, you know, and they just can't understand, you know, how are they bringing this up? How can they even possibly say this? Speaker 2 00:09:44 You know, they did that wrong. It's all of that. I mean, the other side can say and do whatever they want to do. And ultimately it's, who's the judge going to believe, or who's the jury going to believe? And I think that's a hard concept for a lot of people in the industry to understand, because they're used to dealing with a very concrete thing, you know, we've, we built a building it's either there, or it's not, it's standing, or it's not, it's passed its inspection or it hasn't, it's painted, or it's not, there's none of this like, well, there's all these gray areas and litigation, and here's what I think they're trying to do. And, you know, I just think that's a different world for a lot of them to deal with on a regular basis. Speaker 1 00:10:25 And, and here's the other thing in my experience. And I don't know if it's same there, how much construction law do your judges understand and where do you start with them? And then on top of that, how often can you predict how they're going to rule and what's going to happen? Speaker 2 00:10:41 Oh, absolutely. No, that's, that's a huge issue. Uh, there's one or two that I, I, like I knew, I know from where, how they practice that they at least had some construction experience. Um, but yeah, finding a judge who understands it, especially when you're dealing with, you know, in Florida, you have a lien law that there's tons of case law that says it's to be strictly construed. And, you know, if you didn't dot all your I's and cross your T's, you quite literally can lose whatever money you had into the project. And some judges are fine with that and understand it, and others do not. And it makes it very hard to predict what a court is going to do, because even if the law says, you know, that this is what the result should be, you know, you can come out of a hearing with all sorts of splitting of the baby and everything else, because I think one judges are, you know, some of them are trying to be fair as opposed to apply the law, which you know, is what it is. Speaker 2 00:11:41 That's a, that's a topic for a whole nother podcast. And then, uh, I think, and then I also think that there are some judges who, um, you know, they just, don't, they're looking for an easier way to make a decision. So if they can make a decision on some procedural ground or something else that maybe it disposed of the case, maybe it keeps it going, but it doesn't really get to the core of the issue there, which also can be frustrating for a client because it's like, oh, we've done all this work to get to this point only to be, you know, pushed down another road by the court system or something else. And, um, you know, that's, again, that doesn't really jive with getting things done and getting disputes resolved. Speaker 1 00:12:23 So a client comes to you and says, what's going to happen. And how much is it going to cost? I mean, as an attorney, how do you answer that question? Because yeah. I want to know how you answer it because I just stand and say, I don't know, I don't know, just give me your credit card. And I hate saying that, but I don't know any of this. I mean, how do you handle it? Speaker 2 00:12:43 I tell most people, if it's a, if it's sort of a typical, you know, and I say, typical in air quotes, you know, two parties, it's a contractor versus a property owner or a contractor versus a contractor, just two people, not a, you know, general contractor names, 35 subcontractors and a huge construction defect case. But I tell them, listen, these things can last, you know, 18 months to two years, to even longer, depending on the court system. And you need to plan to spend, you know, at least two to $3,000 a month on average. So if you're prepared to, you know, buy three or four brand new trucks and pay for them for the next three years, that's what I cost you. Then you should pick this fight. And if you're not, then we should find other ways to resolve it. Um, and that really brings it home for a lot of people because everybody thinks, oh, I can pay the retainer. Speaker 2 00:13:37 I can pay the $5,000 retainer or the $3,000 retainer or whatever it is, or, you know, oh, some months it will be expensive, but most months maybe they'll only be a few hundred bucks. And what they don't realize is, you know, if you do a bunch of depositions in one month, that might be a $10,000 a month for billing. And you have the first two months before that were only a few hundred bucks, but that's why it's two to three, two to $3,000 per month is what it averages out to. So that's, that's how I answered it because I think it's been, it hits home a lot easier for most people. Um, they can wrap their mind around like, okay, do I have a business that can cashflow that? And if so, then maybe they're willing to do it. And if not, then, you know, a lot of times we find other ways to resolve things. Speaker 1 00:14:22 I agree, especially when you have no predictability, because you cannot tell. And then the other question is, cause I know in my experience how many clients have ever really been made whole by the litigation process and your experience, Speaker 2 00:14:34 None. Even if you get every dime that you're owed by the customer, you've still paid me. And at best, you're going to get about 90% of my fees from a judge. And all of this is assuming the person on the other side can stroke you a check for it. Um, Speaker 1 00:14:50 Exactly that at the end of the day, that it's all collectible. And it's just ridiculous to me that, you know, let's rush, let's rush to the courthouse, let's rush to trial because at the end of the day, honestly, the only people that get paid are the lawyers, right? We get paid to do that, but we're doing you a disservice. If we don't show you all the ways to settle the dispute before you get there. Because although it's not ideal the alternative because not only are you paying me how much time do you have to spend away from your business producing every single document you can ever imagine that never even related to this case, it may not even be used, but you got to produce it and just, you know, your depositions taken and you gotta be there to take other people's depositions. So what I always tell my clients is that before you walk into that, really think about it because your time is really better spent putting it into your business because you'll get something out of it. They're here. All I can, all I can say is, yeah, you probably are not going to break even. And it's going to take a lot of your time and don't be wrong. If you get sued, you don't have a choice, but if you're the one who's going to bring it, you can really think about it. So what in your experience are some ways to get around that? What are some other ideas besides litigation? Speaker 2 00:16:03 I mean, I always try to ask clients if there's a way that we can informally resolve it, you know, can we talk to the other side? Do you want to see if everybody's willing to split the cost of the mediation? For most of the construction contracts I draft for my clients. I put a pre-suit mediation requirement in there. Um, because even if you don't resolve it, it helps it forces the other side to show some of their cards early on. And a lot of times that's the first time my clients have ever had to really hear what the other side thinks is an issue. And it can drastically change how quickly or ready they are to jump into litigation. If they see like, oh wow, this actually could be a fight. There could be some issues here. Um, so I've tried to do that because I I've actually had a decent success rate. Speaker 2 00:16:53 I'd say maybe a third or so of the cases have settled at mediation. Um, usually some sort of a walkaway because everybody realizes, wow, this is just not, this is going to be expensive and time consuming for all of us. We should move along. So that's the biggest thing that I've found to be successful. And, and if you put it in a contract and the parties have to do it, or you can at least get a, if somebody sues you, you can get a court to compel mediation and, and stay the litigation. So again, you have that opportunity to do that before everybody has spent, you know, a billion dollars on things. So that's really been the most effective thing that I've seen lately. The other thing that I have found to be really effective, and this may not seem completely, it may not make total sense, but I've started including non-disparagement clauses in my contracts for contractors as well. Speaker 2 00:17:43 And yes, that makes sense, you know, so that people don't give bad reviews, but when people don't do that or they, you know, put something up there and you show them the non-disparagement provision, they take it down. That is what honestly has incited so much litigation because my client doesn't really care that they got stiffed five grand. They care. They're not willing to go to war over that, but if you post a bad review and they were worried that it can cost them business, they are willing to go to war over that. And so having a non-disparagement provision has actually saved some of that because it makes people take down stuff that they shouldn't have read. That's not obvious, but it actually has worked. Yeah. Cause Speaker 1 00:18:22 I have those in my settlement agreements, but I haven't thought about putting them in that actual contract agreements. But I, especially on the residential side, if somebody is willing to sign it most definitely. Do you ever threaten litigation to resolve a matter, even though you're really not going to, or your client really doesn't want to? Yeah. Speaker 2 00:18:39 I mean, I've definitely put in demand letters or things like that, that we're, we're going to Sue or we're prepared to Sue I've drafted complaints to include with letters that we were never going to file. Um, you know, I honestly, it doesn't, I don't feel like that. I don't know that that's ever made a case settled before litigation. Um, because I, Speaker 1 00:18:59 If you've been in litigation, if the other side has been in litigation before, I think they'll think twice, you know, I Speaker 2 00:19:05 Don't know. I use it as I, I I'm, uh, I generally, I try not to, um, put things in letters that I'm not actually going to do because inevitably I, you know, you have a client who wants to do that and then they want to threaten something else that they're never going to do. And eventually it's like, listen, they're just, they're throwing our letters in the fire because they're that we're never going to follow up on any of this stuff. So Speaker 1 00:19:28 Yeah, cause there's no teeth behind them. If you don't, if you don't pick your fight and actually do it. Speaker 2 00:19:33 Um, so I don't threaten, I don't threaten litigation a whole lot unless it's actually going to happen. And this is another reason Florida has, uh, some pretty onerous, uh, consumer protection laws that prohibit you from making, you know, certain types of threats. And so that's another reason I've steered away from some of it is unless you're actually going to do it. You know, a, a savvy consumer protection lawyer could try to use that against you. And you know, all of a sudden you've taken a case where you thought you should win, uh, you know, $10,000 into something that the other side's entitled to a thousand dollars statutory award plus attorney's fees. And that may just be put to your, to Florida. But that's another reason I try not to threaten stuff unless we're actually gonna do it. Speaker 1 00:20:19 I guess here's the question. How backed up are your courts from COVID in Florida, Speaker 2 00:20:23 If in, in terms of getting an actual trial, uh, I, you, can't on the civil side right now. Um, they're so backed up. They're still there doing hearings. We're doing zoom hearings, things like that. I'm interested to hear how Texas is handling it as well. So you're getting some of that stuff. Um, but even that is, you know, at least a month or two out and again, you just, you can't get trial dates right now. So what are you guys experiencing? Yeah, Speaker 1 00:20:52 We were before COVID we were about a year from the time you file a suit that you'd get your first trial setting. I don't mean wrong. We'd probably get past once or twice before you actually go. But now we're two years, you know, you get your docket control order that you're two years out and we are handling hearings zoom, and we're doing bench trials. I've had a couple of bench trials. We assume that went pretty well. The jury trials are the ones that are really suffering. They tried to use the big convention center to do it. And I think, but with the governor lifting the order effective tomorrow, um, they're going to bring back jury trials with, I think ha I think they might require mask. I don't know that they're back in the works. Uh, I just, because I have so many cases that should have gone early this spring, I have like six cases that are ready to go to trial. And my client's like, you know, and I can just sit. I got, you know, there's nothing I can do. We're all already, there's nothing else to do. And, um, it's really hard to sell that to a client, which is why I've been pushing lately, arbitration. I know it's way more expensive, but six to nine months, I can have you to, you know, how do you feel about arbitration? Speaker 2 00:21:56 I like it for that reason, um, that you can get things done a lot faster, especially right now. Um, and, uh, it is more expensive, but you also get to keep everything private. So if you're concerned about, you know, bad stuff being said about your company, you know, arbitration is a good way to keep all of that out of the public record. Um, yeah. So I have, I have been doing that, you know, a lot more, you know, my, the only thing that I don't like about arbitration really is, you know, a judge is used to sending somebody home disappointed at the end of every hearing. And I feel like arbitrators are less used to that. And so you're much more likely to get an arbitrator who, you know, splits the baby or does something else like that at the end of the day. Uh, rather than, you know, maybe giving you everything you could have gotten in a court system, but that's the, that's the trade-off, you know, you either go for slow and a little less expensive and get what you want or, you know, get half of it, but you can be done in nine months. Speaker 1 00:22:55 The other thing I like about arbitration too, is there's no discovery disputes, everything comes in, right. Produce me everything for everything. It's all open. The arbitrator is going to decide because I mean, so much of the funds and litigation are spent on all that process and you're sending them responding to the request, people objecting, you know, just give me the stuff. And so, you know, I, I'm trying to start this wave in the discovery and litigation that, Hey, we're just going to give you everything I have because you know, this back and forth, I'm not going to produce it because I don't think I have to kind of just cost everybody money and time. So, um, yeah, Speaker 2 00:23:33 No, I actually, I totally agree with that. I've actually started doing the same thing. I, I don't, I remember my first job out of law school, you know, being taught how to respond to discovery requests and it was, you know, all these and all this sort of stuff and all objectives, something's really sort of outside, you know, Hey, you're not entitled to all of our bank statements, that's financial discovery, but you're entitled all this other stuff. Let's just give it to you because honestly, once you, and here's the thing, I think that's really a function of once you've started to actually go to trial and deal with, you know, evidence and evidentiary objections and how that, you know, how that matters. You really start to care a whole lot less about what gets discovered, because fine, you can discover all this stuff. You're never getting it in a trial. So I don't care have Speaker 1 00:24:20 The dispute in the courthouse when we go to trial, if it's going to happen at all, I agree, but this whole build up about what I should produce, what I should not produce. Let's just, let's just be real and I'll give you everything I got. If you're going to overreach them, we're going to have a fight. But, um, okay. So that brings up, how do you feel and have you seen subscription pricing every month? Like no matter what you do, the client gets the same bill every year. Speaker 2 00:24:45 Uh, I have seen that. I think, I think you just started offering it. I think I saw that and there's another firm over here by me. They're, they're started by me there now they have a bunch of offices around the country, but they do a lot of subscription stuff as well. I think, especially related to liens, I don't know that it covers any litigation or anything like that. Um, you know, I've talked to some of my clients about it, like, Hey, would you rather just pay X amount of dollars to me every month? And you know, not have to worry, be able to ask me things and you know, whatever. Um, and most of them has had like, no, like I'd rather just pay you when I need you. And so even if it, even if it averages out over the same price per month, that's fine. Speaker 2 00:25:29 I'd rather just do it that way. Um, I think, I almost wonder if it's a generational thing. Um, I'm, I'm very much not that I'm super young, but I'm very much of the mindset. Like, well, I'd be willing to pay 10 bucks a month for that, to know that that's what the price was going to be or a hundred bucks or 500 or whatever it is. I'm way more open to that. It, most of my clients are probably about 15 or so, years older than I am. And most of them are, or at least my main client contacts. And most of them said, no, I'll just pay you as I use it. But I do wonder if it's going to become more popular as, you know, a generation or two from now that's used to, oh, everything I bought on my phone, everything I've bought here and there it's all sort of a subscription. I wonder if it's going to become way more commonplace that they're going to say, Hey, let me, you know, let me have this access to this set level of services for a certain dollar amount every month. And then the question mark always for me is how do you handle litigation? I mean, do you handle litigation as part of your subscription? Speaker 3 00:26:38 I do. I have Speaker 1 00:26:38 A subscription plan that handles basically all for all plaintiff plaintiff work, right? Plaintiff work for a flat fee. If you're, countersued, that's an hourly rate that I discount 20%. But so like all my lean clients that come in, I have a subscription plan to handle all of their liens, bond claims, whatever. And then if they want to take the next level and go to litigation, because the biggest thing is like, oh my God, how much is it going to cost? And like, if you have one, if you have one lawsuit, the subscription plan is not for you. But if you're a material supplier for somebody else that has several lawsuits, there's going to be a fit for you and it's going to be predictable and something, you can work into your, you know, here's what my collection costs are and really what it comes down to at the end of the day, because we can get our fees here as I collect it back. Speaker 1 00:27:23 But if you do it consistently and you do it right, you'll have less than a 1% write-off on the business that you do if you do everything properly. And so that, that's kind of what, um, I think that's where the wave of the future is. And plus I just think it's so much more sellable, right? Especially if somebody wants to go to litigation, they've already been burned or my competitors that build them once a month and it's 12 or $13,000 a month, I offer way better service. I offer predictable pricing and these are, you know, after I took it, I took a survey of all my clients. And you know, one of the biggest things that is the price, right. Especially when you start litigation, it's really hot and heavy, like six or $7,000. And then people are burnt out. They're like, oh my God, what is this going to end? And just started. Right. And I got sick having clients that I really cared about to the curb because I couldn't afford to represent them because they couldn't afford to pay me. And that's happens all the time where if they would have had this option, we could have worked together. So it's Speaker 2 00:28:20 W what do you find, I apologize. I want to pick your brain for a second. How do you, uh, you know, so again, a lot of my clients, the way I've sort of characterized them as they have, they have a problem every like three years. And so it's, you know, every three or four years we're involved in a lawsuit and then nothing, you know, do you find that most of your clients fit that bill or do most of them are most of them more like material suppliers or people who have, you know, four or five or six active disputes I'm Speaker 1 00:28:49 From the gamut? So I offer subscription pricing, but I also offer what I call is my general retainer, which is 25. And having built my firm from the ground up, I've run it differently. Okay. And it's runs the way it is. So it's good for the client and what I need to survive. So I have a $2,500 retainer that I put in mile to account that just stays there. And basically you can call me about any matter should I sign this release? Can you review the subcontract? And I have a bunch of different pricing for that. So whatever they have in the, in between, um, so pick up like the alternative is I want to be there to help you. So you call me and I do this for you, and I don't charge you because that's just the way it is, but this way. Speaker 1 00:29:29 And then after a while, you start to feel guilty for doing that. But this way, if you have that little question, I can answer it. I can review the document, get it back to you. And then every two weeks I send out a bill and I actually have a credit card on file to that. If your credit card doesn't go through, I'll take it from the retainer. But if there's no work, you don't get a bill. If there's work, you get a bill for the work that's done. And so I find that really helpful because on what I'm trying to have been in the business, what we needed as a material supplier was, should I sign this release? And I need that answer now, because I got to know, because I need to make payroll and I need that check. And so the kind of service that the mom and pop shop needs available all the time. Speaker 1 00:30:07 And so for those kinds of clients, that's what I offer. And so if they get a letter in the mail, I'll respond or, you know, that kind of thing, it's just whatever it costs. Um, and from material supplier, clients are more likely to have the, you know, the subscription would be more sense because it handles all of their liens, all of their bond claims collection, phone calls. And then if they have to go to litigation and handles the pro side, and the great thing about a material supplier, if you're suing an owner and a lien, very likely are you to have a counterclaim, unless there's something wrong with cereals, right? So, you know, that's really the sweet spot where you want to be is that I supply the stuff and Texas is one of the, and I've, you know, I'm reading all 50 states and Texas is one of those states, like, if you can prove, and this is where the court screw me up, but if you can prove that you supplied it to the subcontractor, that's it, you don't have to prove actual incorporations. Some other store states require incorporation, not every, all of that. And I've got my ass kicked because as a material supplier, I only had signed delivery tickets and I didn't have pictures of the shit used on the job site, but anyways, I progressed. Um, but that's kind of what I, what I offer, because I want, I want to offer the service that I wouldn't need it as that I needed as a business owner. Speaker 2 00:31:20 No, I think that, I think that makes a lot of sense. And it's funny, you talk about drawing from your own experience, because my experience on the construction side, being more of a GC or even a subcontractor, I understand the appeal of, um, of a subscription plan, but I also think, well, gee, we never would have used it. Like we would have. We called our attorney, you know, once or twice a year. And so there would have been 10 months out of the year that we were paying for something we didn't use it. Would've made more sense just to have a retainer call when we need and, and replenish as we need. So, um, but I completely get it for material suppliers and I even understand it for higher volume subcontractors. I think if you've got more of a service oriented business, um, that, you know, the lien laws would apply to, I think it actually probably makes a ton of sense. Um, you know, so that's, no, I liked the idea. Speaker 1 00:32:14 I just think there's so much that, and I tried it. I tried to do, you know, here's a great example. I had a client come in the other day and he's always, he knows he needs a lawyer and he's grumpy about it. He hates that we charge and he's like lawyer dentist you're in the same place. And I said, you know, what, if you got your teeth cleaned more often, you wouldn't get fillings. And that's kind of like how I feel people come in and listen, Hey, when I send out that email saying, Hey, you really need to get an employee. I have a flat fee on it, come do it right. Otherwise you're going to have to get a feeling. Speaker 2 00:32:44 Right. Exactly. No, that's, that's actually a great analogy. No, I, I totally agree. Yeah. Get your contract up to speed. Get your handbooks in order to get everything else because when you need it, you will wish you'd had it for as long as you could have had it. Speaker 1 00:32:58 I agree. I agree. Well, thank you. I think this has been a great topic, a great discussion. And if anybody needs a construction lawyer in Florida, Jason Lambert, and he is a hammer and gavel.com is where you'll find his podcast. And we'll make sure to put all that in the show notes. Um, but this has been a very interesting conversation. And I think in the future, I'm looking, and we'll be picking your brain on Florida lien laws. Um, I'm trying to learn every state and you happen to be an expert there. So I will have you on the show for that, but is there anything else you could add Mr. Jason? Speaker 2 00:33:33 No, this is, this is so much fun. I, you know, excited for you to be launching this podcast as well. So this was a great time. And please, any anything you need, please don't hesitate to reach out, uh, you know, look forward to talking to you again soon. I agree. Speaker 1 00:33:45 And some great advice here on how to quit getting screwed as it comes to litigation attorney's fees. All right. Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 0 00:33:55 Thank you for listening to this episode of quick getting screwed. I hope you found it helpful if you liked what you hear, please like us and follow our podcast. If you want further information, so you can find us. Subcontractor is two.com. We're also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and the book is available on Amazon tune in two weeks now for a new episode. Thank you.

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