Scott Wolfe Jr Speaks at Louisiana Engineering Soceity Meeting

Scott Wolfe, Jr., founder and member of Wolfe Law Group, LLC was invited to speak at the Louisiana Engineering Society: New Orleans Chapter’s Monthly Meeting.  Scott would like to extend his thanks to the LES for the invitation to speak and the opportunity to meet several people in the engineering industry.

The LES has three main chapters in the state of Louisiana and is dedicated to the advancement of the engineering profession by pursing an active leadership role through various resources.

For LES’ full mission and vision statements, click here. Incorporating speakers during the monthly meetings is just one of the many ways the LES provides its members with resources and information relevant to the field of engineering.

As a construction lawyer, Scott Wolfe consults with engineers as experts on various cases. Since the discovery of Chinese Drywall in completed construction projects across the state, he has become familiar with the basic problems of Chinese Drywall, how it effects individuals and contractors and how to proceed in the case that Chinese Drywall is detected.

The issue of Chinese Drywall is not only relevant to contractors and home/property owners, it extends to architects, engineers and attorneys.  Engineers in particular are being contracted to perform inspections of homes and businesses suspected of harboring Chinese Drywall.

Scott focused his presentation on the pertinent issue of Chinese Drywall in the state of Louisiana. Below is the slide presentation that was used during the meeting yesterday.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Chinese Drywall Blog.

Green Building Council Publishes New Manual on Green Leases

Green Office GuideThe U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® has recently released the newest in its line of guidebooks. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the foremost authority in green building construction, conservation and sustainability.

Then new guide book is entitled “Green Office Guide: Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process” It is a comprehensive guide on how to incorporate green building techniques into the landlord / tenant contractual relationship.

Previously LEED has published guidebooks covering green new construction, renovations and other construction areas. This is the first time they have ventured into the lease contract. This guidebook can be very beneficial for those landlords who want to require tenants uphold green standard when occupying a property.

Katie Rothenberg, of the Green Building Council comments on the guidebook: “It is written to provide critical background content as well as functional tools (including lease language and site selection checklists) that can be used throughout the transaction.”

So if you are a tenant, whether it be your home or business, or a landlord and sustainable, renewable, green practices are what you are looking for then this guide book can be found at the Council’s website.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Green Building Law Blog.

100% of Nothing is Nothing: Justifying the Contingency Fee

What is contingency fee?

Here is the definition:

A method of paying a lawyer for legal representation by which, instead of an hourly or per job fee, the lawyer receives a percentage of the money her client obtains after settling or winning a case.  Often contingency fee agreements award the successful lawyer between 20% and 50% of the amount recovered [read definition on wikipedia].

In plain english, you attorney works on a “contingent” basis, meaning the attorney’s payment is dependent on the outcome of the case.  If you recover money, the attorney gets a percentage of the recovery.  If nothing is recovered, you pay nothing in fees.

What’s Good About Contingency Fees?

For the client, contingency fees have many positives.

The cash-flow impact of litigation is substantially lower, you gain leverage over the other party who needs cash flow to fund the case, and a portion of the case’s risk is transferred and borne by your attorney.

The only “negative” of a contingency fee is that the fee can be substantial. When a recovery is made, the attorney fee is usually between 30-45% of the amount recovered. But, as we’re about to explain, this really isn’t as bad as it sounds.

100% of Nothing is Nothing

For the client, contingency fees have many positives.

The cash-flow impact of litigation is substantially lower, you gain leverage over the other party who needs cash flow to fund the case, and a portion of the case’s risk is transferred and borne by your attorney.

The only “negative” of a contingency fee is that the fee can be substantial. When a recovery is made, the attorney fee is usually between 30-45% of the amount recovered. But, as we’re about to explain, this really isn’t as bad as it sounds.

WLG Loves Contingency Fees

We love representing clients on a contingent fee basis for one very important reason: We can more zealously represent our clients.

When clients are billed for fees, it’s inevitable that bills will be challenged and cash crunches will arise. This effects how our firm can represent a client.

If $10,000 in discovery motions are needed, for example, but the client can’t afford it, the client’s claim is weakened.

Contingency fees result in more aggressive litigation…which results in higher settlements and more successful trials.

Avvo Legal Guides on Oregon and Louisiana Liens Published

Want a step-by-step guide on how to file construction or mechanic liens in Louisiana or Oregon?   Your call has been answered this weekend with the publication of Avvo Legal Guides on both these subjects, which you can view here:

How to File a Construction Lien in Oregon

How to File a Construction Lien in Louisiana

These two legal guides offer plain english explanations on how to prepare and file a construction lien in either of these states.

The two above-listed legal guides were written and published by Scott Wolfe Jr., the founding attorney of Wolfe Law Group.  He previously published a similar legal article on Avvo.com about filing construction liens in Washington, which you can read here.

Mechanics Lien Basics

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times:  lien laws are a contractor or supplier’s secret weapon.   The trouble is that utilizing the law can be complex and hyper-technical.

There are a million materials out in the webosphere to help those in the construction industry better understand the lien laws in their state.

Ellen Rapport Tanowitz, a Massachusetts attorney, published a quick mechanics lien article on her Nine Points of Law Blog.  The post answers some basic (but commonly misunderstood) questions about liens and the lien process.

The author promises us a few additional articles more closely examining the Massachusetts lien law landscape, which is good reason for Massachusetts contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to keep an eye on that feed.    Take a look at the overview article referenced herein by vising the Nine Points of Law Blog.

This article was originally posted on Express Lien’s topic-specific Construction Lien Blog.

Do City’s Really Have “Energy Inspectors?”

Energy Inspectors – Is this an idea or reality for municipalities?   Well, to all those installing solar panels, insulation products and other green appliances and products, in some areas the use of energy inspectors is reality.

In cities like Austin, TX, an Energy Inspector is now a required position.  His or her job is to inspect new residential dwellings and make sure they are up to the city’s strict code.

Austin is not the only place in the US with such a position, states such as California have similar positions. I came across this interesting bit of green construction knowledge when reading this New York Times Article “A New Enforcer in Buildings, the Energy Inspector

The article reports that we lose or waste more energy in our homes than necessary. Old homes that were build to outdated codes are just throwing money and energy literally out the window. States like Florida, Texas and California are being proactive in the fight to save energy and costs for consumers.

We’ve reported in the past that Louisiana is leading the country in some areas related to green building, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that New Orleans has an engery inspector positions as well.   Heck, the New Orleans energy inspector has even been quoted by the New York Times in a piece they ran about the green movement in Louisiana.  (A Sustainable New Orleans Slowly Rises in Katrina’s Wake).  In the article the energy inspector, Zach Embry, is referred to as the city’s “renewable energy permitting specialist.”

It’s important for contractors, suppliers and others in the industry to think  the energy inspector position, not only because of what it means for the green movement in general, but also because it will affect your ability to provide green products and services to clients.

And of course, in this area, the laws, regulations and inspections can be a moving target.  So, be careful.

This article was originally posted on Wolfe Law Group’s topic-specific Louisiana Green Building Law Blog.