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Nomos LLP Partner Garret Murai Recognized by Super Lawyers

Nomos LLP Partner Garret Murai has been selected to the 2023 Northern California Super Lawyers list in the area of Construction Litigation. This is the tenth consecutive year that he has been recognized by Super Lawyers.

Garret was also also featured in this year’s Northern California Super Lawyer’s magazine’s 20th anniversary cover story “Built Different” where he discussed a bit about his practice and changes he has seen over the past 20 years as a construction lawyer. The following is an excerpt from the article:

“The New Reality of Work” Garret Murai, whose father was an architect, is a founding partner of Nomos LLP, an Oakland-based construction law firm. Concentrating in both commercial and public works, Murai’s clients run the gamut from contractors and subcontractors to owners and developers.
How has the pandemic affected your work? Working from home had always been a topic that was talked about, but it wasn’t until the pandemic forced people to work from home that we’re now seeing a lot of design changes by clients in terms of how they’re utilizing their commercial or retail space and adjusting to the new reality of work. As a construction lawyer, I’m seeing a decline in commercial real estate contracts from what I’ve worked on in the past.
What else has changed since 2004? I’m seeing more focus than ever on cost- escalation provisions in construction contracts. Contractors want to protect themselves in the event that there are cost escalations for materials, and are seeking to negotiate provisions that allow them to push those costs over to the owners. And there’s a countervailing push from the owners wanting to either limit cost- escalation provision in their contracts, or not have any in place.
I’m also seeing a lot more projects implementing modular construction, where components of a building are built off-site, and then they’re railroaded or trucked in and craned into place—basically, it’s like Lego blocks. Labor costs are so high in California that people are crunching their numbers and realizing it’s less expensive to actually build units outside the state and bring them in. This creates contractual issues. The fact that units are being built off-site and then brought on-site, there’s always the risk of damage to the building being brought in. Oftentimes, there’s a third-party modular firm that’s actually building the units off-site, and they’re in contract with the general contractor.
What about in the public sphere? There’s more openness by state and local entities to build projects using different project delivery methods than have traditionally been used in the past. What’s called design-bid-build is the traditional way of building things. Now, I’m seeing a lot more design-build, in which a contractor is awarded a project and is responsible for both the design and the construction of the project.
What’s been your most memorable project? I was involved in the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. It’s one of the tallest buildings on the West Coast. I was counsel for a subcontractor on the project, and I was also involved in some minor payment issues. But, mostly, it was the gloss of working on that project.

Super Lawyers, an annual listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and personal achievement, is limited to no more than five percent (5%) of lawyers in a state who are selected through a multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, independent research evaluation and peer reviews by practice area.

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