This blog post is not as epic as A Day in the Life, the last song on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album that Rolling Stone magazine ranked as the greatest Beatles song ever. But rather, this responds to a question I was recently asked when speaking at a law school forum on innovation in the law, “what does a green building attorney do?”
My practice is almost exclusively sustainability including green building law, so a good response may be to look at a typical day. Admittedly my practice is varied such that there may be no truly typical day, so let’s look at a real day in the life, what I did this past Friday. (Client names and other specific references are omitted to protect the not so innocent.)
04:45 a.m. Responding to client email about impact of construction project change order on contemplated LEED certification, so that payment can be released today.
04:55 a.m. Responding to client email described as a “sustainability emergency” seeking advice and comment on a revised footnote in a public company annual report, responding to the SEC mandated disclosure of the risk that climate change developments may have on their business, being considered by the board of directors today.
05:00 a.m. [Off to my gym where I am training for an April mountain climb.]
07:00 a.m. Responding to consultant email and draft report of Phase II environmental site assessment.
07:10 a.m. Responding to consultant with comments on selection of a DOE approved energy model for 179D tax deduction.
07:30 a.m. Reviewing and approving quotes in draft third party journal article on defects in green building contracts.
08:00 a.m. Drafting form contract for LEED consultant to use in responding to RFPs.
09:00 a.m. Reviewing and editing proposed specifications for university mandated to be green building construction contract.
09:50 a.m. Responding to email with requested revisions and finalizing our firm opinion of counsel on green building construction loan closing.
10:10 a.m. Participating in portion of online value engineering session for “way over budget” green multifamily project.
11:00 a.m. Responding to client email and text about requested revisions to contract for green building services.
11:10 a.m. Drafting contract for general contractor on large project pursuing LEED certification.
12:15 p.m. [Lunch with prospective client]
01:00 p.m. Drafting settlement agreement and release reflecting amicable resolution of disputes and differences arising out of construction of green building.
01:30 p.m. Representing client in telephone informal mediation of construction dispute aimed at keeping construction on schedule while apportioning responsibility for design defect.
02:55 p.m. Telephone call with client and others including local counsel re application of DC mandatory green building law related to shared photovoltaic panel and vegetated green roof.
03:00 p.m. Reviewing, considering and revising an enhanced commissioning scope.
03:30 p.m. Telephone call with client and others including local counsel re application of Phoenix newly adopted IgCC 2015 with alternative compliance path in energy code for reskinning existing building.
03:50 p.m. Reviewing and editing PR firm prepared copy for website advertising construction of new green mixed use high rise building.
04:00 p.m. Conference call with trade association about proposed ASHRAE 189.1 addendum public comment.
04:30 p.m. Telephone call with client about recommendation on how to address changing GBCI fees in existing contracts.
04:40 p.m. Telephone call with state elected official about increased school construction costs associated with green schools.
04:50 p.m. Telephone call with print media reporter, on background only, about Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.
05:20 p.m. Telephone call with client about water use reduction alternatives for redevelopment that is striving to be net zero water use in jurisdiction with water use restrictions.
05:30 p.m. Responding to client email about LEED no cigarette smoking policy in Massachusetts where recreational cannabis will be allowed.
Following an orchestral crescendo, the Beatle’s A Day in the Life ends with one of the most famous final chords in music history. My day in the life of a sustainability and green building attorney ended with the keypad chirps of setting the alarm as I exit the door of my office on my may to a dinner party.