The Keys to Keeping a Project on Track (Vol. 22, No. 1, 2015)
In 1985, after five years prosecuting criminals as an assistant US attorney, I became deputy general counsel of The American Institute of Architects. On my very first day, I was introduced to civil law. In his gravelly voice, the general counsel explained to me that the key to success in my new position was to “think liability”. I understood, as the traditional casebooks teach in law school, that appellate decisions in commercial cases tend to focus on determining where something went wrong and deciding who should be blamed. Liability was the proverbial ‘hot potato’, something to be avoided at all cost. As a result, lawyers teach and are trained to concentrate on anticipating potential liability and finding ways to avoid or transfer it so their clients are not caught in its web. The general counsel wanted me to think the same.