Experienced Chicago Contract Negotiation Attorney

We get it.  You want to design and build, not get ‘hung up’ with business contract negotiation and law. We put your business goals first during the contract negotiations process.  We do it with fair and reasonable contract terms that your clients can accept – and which protect you.

Our Contract Negotiation Philosophy

Our contract negotiation philosophy is simple. The scope and fee ‘business deal’ should be well-documented. Insurable risks should be insured. Liability exposure should not be ‘offloaded’ to others – it should be contractually allocated to those best positioned to manage the risk. Unknowns should be identified, if possible. Thoughtful indemnity and dispute resolution clauses should tie it all together.

How We Negotiate

None of this happens by accident – or by pulling a contract form ‘off-the-shelf.’ Each project has a web of interrelated design and construction contracts. Each one must be prepared in consideration of the others. Each contract and project are unique. They all merit thoughtful consideration. Rarely is the same contract appropriate for multiple projects, even similar ones.

Distinguishing between ‘need to have’ and ‘nice to have’ contract terms is key.  This is a client-specific and project-specific exercise. Experienced design and construction counsel can backstop your usual lawyers – and add value by asking the right questions, spotting unique risks, and addressing them with apt contract terms.

Experienced Contract Negotiator in Chicago

Jeremy has knowledge and experience with many contract types, from AIA Contract Documents to non-standard form agreements, and knows how to modify a wide variety of contract forms to serve the needs of each client and project.

Contract Negotiation Lawyer in Chicago | Baker Law

Types of Contracts We Handle

Owner-Contractor Agreements

  • Stipulated Sum / Fixed Fee
  • Cost of Work Plus a Fee With a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP)
  • Master Agreements

Construction Manager Agreements

  • CM as Advisor (CMa)
  • CM as Constructor (CMc)
  • Custom CM Agreements

Design Professional Agreements

  • Owner-Architect Agreement
  • Owner-Engineer Agreement
  • Design Subconsultant Agreement
  • Design Joint Venture Agreements
  • Interior Design Agreements
  • Master Agreements

Design-Build Agreements

  • Owner-Design Builder Agreement
  • Design Builder-Contractor Agreement
  • Design Builder-Architect Agreements
  • Designer-Led Design-Build Agreements

Miscellaneous Documents

  • Sustainable Project Agreements 
  • Digital Data and Building Information Modeling (BIM) 
  • General Conditions of the Contract for Construction 
  • Furniture, Furnishings and Equipment (FF&E)
  • Performance and Payment Bonds

From template contracts for repeat use, to contract suites to govern entire projects, too much targeted advice – like a “top 10 list” of problems with a proposed contract – let us help you solve your design and construction contract challenges, big or small.

To learn more, contact Baker Law today.

Contract Negotiation Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I Start Contract Negotiations Using My Own Contract Form?

When you negotiate design and construction contracts, one of the first questions to arise is whether you will use one of your own contract forms? Or will you rely on the other party to send you a contract form of its choosing for your review?

Your design and construction contracts attorney should be able to handle either approach. Lawyers who are experienced with design and construction should have their own set of preferred contract forms – several for each kind of client and project – but they should be capable of reviewing and editing another attorney’s contract form as well.  Either way is fine. Initial drafts of design and construction contracts are just a starting point for negotiation. If a contract form of your choosing will not be the basis of the contract, your attorney should be able to address any deficiencies in the other party’s contract form, by adding missing concepts and language or revising terms that make the agreement unfair or uninsurable.

What Makes Good Contracts for Design and Construction Projects?

Good design and construction contracts properly address all critical aspects of the project, including but not limited to: 

  • The names of the parties involved
  • Project type
  • Project delivery method
  • The scope of work (and how to address any changes in scope)
  • Standard of performance for contractors and design professionals
  • Fees
  • Insurance (who will indemnify whom)
  • Ownership of intellectual property
  • Warranties
  • Dispute resolution process (e.g. arbitration or litigation)

Although a contract for a multi-level shopping complex is going to look a lot different than a contract for a residential project, they have one thing in common: a clear overview of everyone’s responsibilities as they work toward the specified outcome.

What Is Your Approach to Negotiating Design and Construction Contracts?

Why Is Insurance so Important in Design and Construction Contracts?

Most construction projects have a lot at stake financially, making strong insurance terms an essential part of every design and construction contract. 

The risks involved in this field typically exceed the assets of the parties involved. What happens if the building experiences a devastating fire during construction? A general contractor facing an injury claim can’t cover their liability? An architect or engineer makes a major design mistake? Good insurance terms protect the project- and you -financially.

Should Design and Construction Contracts Allow ‘Prevailing Parties’ to Recover Attorneys’ Fees?

In some jurisdictions, there is a statute stating that prevailing parties in a dispute may recover their attorneys’ fees from the other side. In places where this type of law doesn’t exist, a contract may state that attorneys’ fees and costs are recoverable in a dispute.

All things being equal, we believe that parties who agree to cover their own costs will take a more honest look at the merits of the case and decide whether it’s worth litigating or resolving via arbitration or mediation. We will always give our clients the most appropriate advice for their circumstances.

How Do You Get Past Impasse In Contract Negotiations?

Can a Lawsuit save Me from Bad Design and Construction Contracts?

Negotiating Design and Construction Contracts Doesn’t Have to Be a Hassle! Call us today to discuss 312-621-7184.