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construction: the Lego seat?

27 May 2015

Full disclosure: I chose a construction seat in part because I thought it would involve Lego, after all construction is all about building things right? Well, there isn’t any Lego but there is a really good mix of non-contentious and contentious work. The construction seat at Browne Jacobson isn’t just about building things, it’s about what happens if the works go wrong. For me, that’s a great experience as it gives a rounded picture of what happens in a construction matter from start to finish, and shows the importance of getting your negotiations and documents right from the start. It also means that there’s a real variety to the files that you assist on and the work that you do: from legal research and reviewing contracts and warranties, to drafting court documents, interviewing witnesses and attending court.

Not having studied any construction law previously, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started my seat, but that’s part of the learning process as a trainee. Although I’ve worked in both contentious and non-contentious departments in the past, the mix of the two in construction is new to me, but is allowing me to develop my research and drafting skills while grounding my understanding of the litigation process.

Construction has quirks and elements that you won’t find in any other areas of law, such as alternative dispute resolution methods that are specific to construction. Since starting my seat, I’ve been involved in an adjudication: from the research as to what arguments the client could run and the advice, discussions with the client on whether to pursue this avenue, to drafting the various documents and getting the decision from the adjudicator. Much of construction is highly technical so you definitely feel challenged.

All in all construction is an interesting and challenging seat, with the chance to develop lots of skills that are transferable into other areas, even if there isn’t any Lego!