Best Lawyers 2019: Construction

Construction law attorneys credit supportive teams as well as competition for their success

Colorado’s bustling construction market and active legislature create plenty of work for the state’s construction attorneys.

Lawyers in the practice area cited the ability to predict impacts of legislative changes and balance complicated cases as necessary to find success. And those on the 2019 Best Lawyers list credited their own success to versatility — either in working on cases on both sides of the “v” or in playing support roles — as well as building a reputation through publications, teaching and community involvement.

Construction law as a practice has a long history of competitive lawyering in Colorado. John Madden III, of counsel at Coan Payton & Payne and recognized by Best Lawyers for construction law, credited the soil itself — specifically Colorado’s expansive soils — for creating construction issues that led to many lawsuits, contention between both the plaintiff’s and defense bars and resulting legislation over the past several decades.

Ron Sandgrund, of counsel at Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, said the state’s frequent legislation also affects certain aspects of construction law in a significant way. He joined Burg Simpson through a merger with his construction-focused firm three years ago, and the group as a whole is frequently involved in construction defects litigation. Sandgrund was recognized as the Lawyer of the Year for the area of construction litigation, but Burg Simpson attorneys Curt Sullan and Scott Sullan appeared on this year’s rankings for construction litigation, and Mari Perczak appeared on the construction law ranking.

“If you pass a law now, it may not have an effect on a current case but more likely will affect cases two, three or four years down the line,” Sandgrund said, adding that it’s important to think creatively about how laws might affect cases as courts build case law and fill in the “nooks and crannies” in a piece of legislation.

One area where Sandgrund and his team are looking down the line is at what he refers to as the “condo conversion explosion” — the possible fallout of years of developers building apartments, where there had been rental demand, and converting them to condominiums to meet the pent-up demand for new homes to buy. Sandgrund said there might be a disconnect between the expectation for newly built units and the marketing of converted units as “new condos.”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the September 10, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.

The entire Best Lawyers 2019 list is also available online.