To date there are more than 136,444 people, according to Green Building Certification Institute, who have earned LEED Accreditation status however, it is still unique for attorneys to possess this designation.  For attorneys who focus primarily on the construction and real estate industries, obtaining the added knowledge and understanding of ever-evolving green building practices can mean the difference between general legal advice and specific and strategic sustainability-based legal counsel capable of advising you on the latest issues and development in green building law.

As the green building industry emerges, it brings with it new legal issues that have not been encountered in the past.  Without laws and cases addressing these issues, many green building legal issues are novel and must be resolved without looking to past legal precedents.  Lawyers specializing in green building, including LEED AP attorneys, are adept at identifying and helping clients avoid the potential myriad of risks and problems that may arise on green building projects and in green leases.

Green building lawyers provide a unique two-pronged approach to clients in the construction and building management industries by supplying the legal expertise needed to craft solid contracts and agreements and by knowing and understanding green strategies that work from start to finish.  Attorneys who possess LEED insight and knowledge can assist building owners, designers, contractors, and suppliers in drafting and negotiating appropriate contracts, and in identifying and planning for risks involved in the green building process.  LEED AP attorneys also bring added value to drafting and negotiating leases because the attorneys understand the unique features of the green buildings that are appealing to tenants, as well as those issues that are common points of negotiation or disputes.  By addressing those properly in the lease, attorneys help clients avoid costly litigation that arises from misunderstandings or unwritten terms.

In addition, LEED AP attorneys have the unique capability to advise clients on the various tax incentives available from the national government and in each state to ensure that LEED certified projects are as cost efficient as possible.  To maximize the benefit of these incentives, building owners and facility managers must know about the tax incentives before the design is completed or the green strategies are implemented so that the requirements of the tax incentives are incorporated into the project.  Opportunities for incentives can be lost if the tax provisions are merely a secondary thought or if they are considered after the project is underway or completed.  This combination of expertise enables LEED AP attorneys to understand the many variables to green building, allowing them to be a true partner from design to construction and building operations.

Successful green building requires concentrated coordination of several disciplines.  Many project teams do not remember to include legal issues in their early coordination efforts when those legal issues are most easily and affordably addressed.  For clients in the construction industry, working with a LEED AP attorney can provide a host of benefits throughout each phase of a construction project.

What has your experience been like when working without a LEED AP attorney?