Jason Samuels has dedicated his career to the practice of construction law, representing contractors, owners and developers in a variety of matters, both transactionally and as an advocate, in various dispute resolution venues. He has successfully negotiated and drafted a wide range of construction agreements, creating where necessary unique new provisions and solutions to resolve problems creatively with the goal of avoiding future disputes. In addition, he has extensive experience drafting and negotiating AIA documents on behalf of both contractors and owners. He also successfully prosecutes and defends claims on behalf of clients in various New York Federal and State Courts, as well as in alternative dispute resolution venues.
You were part owner of a midsized construction company. How does that experience help client achieve success?
The time I spent as part owner of the construction company was an eye-opening experience for me. I had been a successful construction lawyer prior to becoming a contractor, so I always thought that I understood the industry. Until I actually became a contractor, I realized I didn’t truly understand the challenges and issues my clients faced. Issues such as productivity, payroll management, selection of subcontractors (and owners) with whom to do business are concepts foreign to most construction lawyers. Having lived that life, been in the field, experienced how things can go right and wrong – seen how it really is — that is key to my ability to effectively counsel my clients.
“To me, success is twofold. There is professional success: providing the highest-quality legal services and being respected by clients and peers. However, there is also personal success: balancing one’s professional and family lives. I strive for both.”
Does this experience also help you in maintaining strong client relationships?
Absolutely. Understanding the industry from the inside is invaluable. Understanding the challenges contractors face gives me a unique insight as to how to resolve disputes and draft effective construction documents for contractors as well as owners and developers. I believe that my clients recognize and appreciate that. It also helps that I am involved in the same industry groups that my clients are. They see that their interests are my interests. But by far the most important way to build a strong relationship is to be responsive. My clients are under substantial pressure. They need to know they will get superior service from Farrell Fritz and that I am always available. Being responsive is key to maintaining those relationships.
Why did you join Farrell Fritz, and what makes it different?
Farrell Fritz’s reputation is of the highest quality. Someone once told me that Farrell Fritz was the “Rolls Royce” of Long Island law firms, and because I always felt that I wanted to provide the highest-quality legal services to my clients, I believed that Farrell Fritz would be a good fit. I made the right choice. Finally, the firm has a great client base with diverse practice areas. With Farrell Fritz, I would be able to offer my clients a variety of services which I would not have been able to previously provide.
What are some ways you give back to the community?
I’ve been involved with several charitable organizations over the years; however, I recently decided to focus on one particular charity – Contractors for Kids. Contractors for Kids provides a direct line of help for families with children in need. For example, if a family can’t pay its mortgage or afford medical copays for a child, Contractors for Kids makes those payments. I have three young children, and I now realize how fortunate I am that they are healthy and happy. I believe it is my responsibility to try to do something for people who are not as fortunate as I am. If people who have the time and ability to help others don’t help others in need, who will?