Harrison Law Group - May 2020

May 2020 Te Contractor’s Advantage

www.HarrisonLawGroup.com (410) 832-0000 jwyatt@harrisonlawgroup.com

Reflections on Another Birthday

May is my birth month. As I get closer to turning 40 — I am just a couple of years away — I have been thinking about how I want to mark this milestone. Most of my birthdays come and go with little fanfare. We may go out to dinner with family or friends, but that’s about it. It tends to be a low-key event. As I get older, I find it’s less important to mark the occasion for myself. It’s even less important since I’ve had kids, and the fun and excitement of birthdays has shifted to them. I celebrate these milestones with them, which is what really matters. Every year when my birthday comes around, I use the time to reflect. I think celebrating another trip around the sun is worth reflection. I consider the many things that are important to me, both personally and professionally. These are the things that give me motivation and keep me running, so to speak. A lot of people talk about reflecting at the end of the year, but this is a relative concept when you start talking about birthdays. As your birthday arrives, is it not the end of one year and the start of another for you? As I’ve gotten older, I have had numerous aspirations and ambitions for my career. I’ve reached many milestones and have been fortunate to have found success through these ambitions. A big part of that success comes from yearly reflection. I think about what matters to me, and I focus my energy accordingly. I find this is a really important process. When I look at my career, I have to think about what I am getting out of it. Is it challenging me? Is it driving me to become better within my field? Am I happy? Some people work jobs or get stuck in a career where they don’t feel confident about themselves or their work. They don’t feel fulfilled, which can be difficult and disheartening. When you reflect and ask those big questions like, “Is my career fulfilling?” or “Am I happy?” you can get to the root of why. And then, you can start to course-correct. It’s not always easy to ask those questions and to course-correct, but it can be worth it.

a couple of years away, but I know I want to make the most of it. I think I may sign up for a Trek Travel getaway. Trek makes high-quality bicycles for every type of cyclist, but they also offer getaways and bike tours all over the country and the world. You just sign up and they do the rest. They set you up with accommodations at your destination of choice, and you bike from stop to stop, touring your destination by bike, powered purely by human energy. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone birthday. Two more years. I think that’s an excellent goal to set for myself!

As I look ahead, I feel like I’m in a good place. My mind is on my quickly approaching 40th birthday. It may be

-Jeremy Wyatt

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Sometimes, a little change can go a long way. Walmart illustrated this perfectly when the megachain decided to switch to using more energy-efficient lightbulbs and cheaper floor wax. Those two simple substitutions have cut the company’s annual costs by $220 million. Of course, with thousands of stores nationwide, even the smallest savings will have a multiplying effect for a corporation like Walmart, but this lesson can still be applied by small-business owners looking to grow. As a business owner, it can be tempting to lose yourself in the big picture. Milestones like helping more clients, launching new marketing campaigns, and opening another location are the exciting investments that really get a CEO’s blood pumping. But beneath each of these major decisions, there are many minute changes that could save your company time and money. What standard operating procedure (SOP) needs to be made more efficient before you bring on a larger client load? Which social media site will give you the most bang for your marketing buck? How much more will you be spending on toilet paper with two locations? It’s tempting to overlook the minor details, but tackling these inefficiencies could save you more than you expect. If you aren’t one to pore over every expense report and crunch the numbers, you’re not alone. The good news is that most likely, there are members of your team with the perspective and knowledge to help you out. This is especially true when it comes to day-to-day operations. Employees are great at noticing redundancies in SOP, underutilized spaces in the office, and other areas where money may be wasted. Empowering your team to speak up when they notice these money-saving opportunities can do wonders for your bottom line. Saving a few hundred dollars per year on things like lighting and floor wax may not sound impressive, but that’s money you can put toward improving your employee retention, customer experiences, and marketing effectiveness. In today's competitive market, even the smallest changes can give you a vital edge. How Small Savings Can Make a Huge Difference GROWING YOUR BUSINESS? CHANGE THE LIGHTBULBS


Constant technology use can leave us feeling drained, so it’s good to do a digital detox by unplugging periodically. Digital detoxes have become very popular, but for most managers and business owners, cutting technology out of their lives isn’t just difficult — it can be irresponsible! You can’t throw your smartphone in the sea and expect to have a job next week. While completely quitting tech isn’t realistic, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of a digital detox while sticking to your responsibilities. Here’s how a few successful entrepreneurs manage this balancing act. Arianna Huffington puts her phone ‘to bed.’ HuffPost founder and Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington says the first part of her nightly routine is “escorting my phone out of the bedroom.” Huffington doesn’t allow digital devices in her bedroom and relies on an analog alarm clock. “Charging your phone away from your bed makes you more likely to wake up as fully charged as your phone,” she says. Erich Joiner has a hobby separate from his work. Running a content creation company that caters to big brands means Erich Joiner, founder and director at Tool of North America, is plugged in most of the time. To get away from the demands, he races cars on the weekend. During that time, Joiner puts his phone away in order to focus on the race. “While it takes a lot of focus, which can be strenuous, it also mentally cleanses, or 'digitally detoxes,' me during the weekend,” Joiner says. “By Monday, I can go into work with a clear mindset, ready to take on my week.”

Celia Francis tracks her online activity. Sometimes technology can help you cut down on

technology. Celia Francis, CEO of online marketplace Rated People, downloaded the app Moment to monitor how much time she spends on social media. This data helped her build healthier habits. “It helps you understand how you use your phone, establish usage goals, and disconnect at the right times,” Francis explains. “My phone is always off by 9 p.m. and isn’t switched back on until after the morning routine.” You don’t have to completely abandon technology to enjoy a successful digital detox. Instead, look for times when you can put your devices away and focus on something else. Even if it’s just for an hour before bed, you’ll reap the benefits.

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Why Do Businesspeople Wear Ties? The Storied History Behind Our Favorite Power Accessory

origin stories. One tale credits Chinese soldiers from the third century B.C., who were immortalized in terra cotta wearing neck scarves to protect “the source of their strength, their Adam's apples.” Another story gives the nod to Roman legionaries, who wrapped cloths around their necks to stave off wind and rain in the second century. But the most popular version dates the tie back to 1636 when King Louis XIV of France hired a group of Croatian mercenaries who wore neck wraps to protect their throats from weather and sword slashes. Over the years, those protective strips of cloth became suave status symbols.

In his 1975 book “Dress for Success,” John T. Molloy wrote, "Show me a man's ties and I'll tell you who he is or who he is trying to be.” A necktie is just a strip of fabric, but Molloy was right about its symbolic power. For centuries, putting on a tie has meant the wearer is getting down to business, and that sentiment lingers despite Steve Jobs’ black turtleneck and Mark Zuckerberg’s gray T-shirt. Though just 6% of men wear ties to work daily according to a Gallup poll, neckties are still an accessory of choice for lawyers, politicians, bankers, and executives — regardless of gender. Plus, many formal occasions require them. But why did people start wearing neckties in the first place, and why do neckties have staying power? As it turns out, answers to both questions are up for debate.

subdued, skinny ties of the ‘50s to the 6-inch-wide psychedelic prints of the ‘60s. Today, ties can be knit, leather, or even rubber. Increasingly, though, they’re left sitting in the back of the closet, forgotten along with their fascinating history. If you want to learn more about ties and even how to tie one, check out Tie-a-Tie.net.

The Why Behind the Tie

No one knows for certain why ties stuck around. Maybe yesterday’s soldiers have become today’s CEOs battling in the boardroom, or perhaps wearing a tie is one of the few chances for a businessperson to show off their unique style. Over the years, tie fashion has ranged from the

The Who Behind the Debut

According to The Washington Post, the modern necktie has three different

HAVE A Laugh


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Jeremy Wyatt jwyatt@harrisonlawgroup.com www.HarrisonLawGroup.com (410) 832-0000


40 West Chesapeake Avenue, Ste 600 Towson, MD 21204

Inside This Edition

1. 2.

Another Revolution Around the Sun

The Money-Saving Methods Most Entrepreneurs Overlook

How Entrepreneurs Digitally Detox


Why Do Businesspeople Wear Ties?

Have a Laugh


Use Paid Family Leave to Attract Top Talent


Level With Me: Some COVID-19 Lessons I've Learned

Are You Using This ‘Secret’ Recruitment Tool? How Paid Family Leave Attracts Top Talent

In the United States, new mothers aren’t entitled to any paid family leave. This makes the U.S. the only major economy in the world without a federal family leave program. Despite this, a 2016 study by Pew Research Center showed that 82% of Americans say mothers should receive paid parental leave and 69% say fathers should receive paid leave as well. According to Time magazine, paid family leave is gaining bipartisan support, and large human resources consulting firms, like Mercer, argue that offering this benefit will actually help companies attract and retain desirable employees. Paid family leave encourages parents, usually mothers, to return to work after a brief absence instead of completely exiting the workforce. With the average cost of hiring and training a new employee being $4,000, offering paid family leave may be as cost- effective for your business as bringing on a new hire. Indeed, many companies are already rolling out generous family leave policies. At Microsoft, new mothers enjoy a whopping five months of paid leave, and new fathers, adoptive parents, and foster parents get three months of paid leave. Furthermore, Microsoft only works with suppliers and vendors who offer a minimum of 12 weeks of parental leave.

Microsoft is not the only technology giant using their leave policies as an employee recruitment tool. At Netflix, workers get an entire year of paid time off with full benefits. Plus, other companies in myriad industries now offer plentiful family leave as part of their employee recruitment strategies. Professional services conglomerate Deloitte doesn’t stop there. According to its website, “It’s not just having programs in place that is important. There needs to be a workplace culture to support it, too.” Of course, not everyone agrees about the best way to provide paid family leave, but one thing is certain: As competition in the labor market grows, paid family leave will continue to be an increasingly valuable recruitment tool.

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1. How do I protect myself by including language in bids and proposals given the uncertainties of COVID-19 in the marketplace for future projects? In light of the uncertainties raised by COVID-19, contractors should consider language that qualifies bids by considering current and potential future disruptions in the industry, such as labor availability, price increases, and supply chain challenges. However, use caution on direct bids to government agencies on public projects to avoid having an otherwise acceptable bid being deemed nonresponsive. This is less of a concern regarding bids on private projects or bids to general contractors. 2. How do I protect myself by including language in contracts that are presently being negotiated but have not yet been executed?

We are all continuing to grapple with the day-to-day crisis of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. It remains a very challenging time, both personally and professionally. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the issues that we have been encountering with our clients. As you are undoubtedly aware, survival in the construction industry is often about controlling and allocating risk. COVID-19’s impact on the construction industry is no different, and it is critical for all companies — owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and sureties — to evaluate and minimize their risks as the construction industry navigates this uncharted territory. That being said, and keeping in mind that every project and contract is unique, listed here are some frequently asked questions that we are addressing, as well as factors that are worth considering.

If you are currently in contract negotiations for a project, consider including clauses to address potential delays and

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impacts associated with the COVID-19 crisis during the contract negotiation. Such clauses could address issues such as time extensions or additional costs associated with price increases, delays caused by unavailability of labor or material, and/or delays or impacts caused by owner- or government-directed shutdowns or suspensions. 3. How do I protect myself regarding active projects that are already experiencing impacts and/or delays or that are likely to experience future impacts and/or delays? If you have not done so already, I strongly encourage you to act now to protect your legal positions. Most contracts have notice and claims provisions tied to knowledge of specific events. If you are on a project and already know of COVID-19-related impacts and/or delays or are aware of potential impacts and/or delays, then the time to protect your legal interests is now.

From our vantage point, the analysis for every project is as follows.

A. Review language of the contract including force majeure clauses that, depending on the circumstance, could address conditions such as pandemics. B. Review language of the contract that addresses safety hazards and the rights and responsibilities each party has when such safety hazards are encountered.

the additional time needed, and including the approximate additional costs that might be involved. The use of "TBD (to be determined)" or "rough order of magnitude" pricing can also be used as necessary. A revision of the change order request can be submitted later as additional facts are developed to support the requested change. It will be very important to separately track additional costs and time associated with the impact and/or delay to substantiate the monies and/or days sought in the change order request. Finally, all the above efforts are at risk if your rights are waived in a lien release. It is critical to analyze lien releases and understand what is being released in that document and, if pending change orders or claims are included in the release, to carve out those pending change orders or claims and to attach a pending change order/claim log to the release to protect your rights with respect to these unresolved change orders and/or claims.

C. Identify required notices and deadlines for notices and be sure to strictly comply with those notice requirements.

D. Identify and strictly comply with the specified procedures you must take in order to seek additional time and/or compensation through the change order process.

E. Submit proposed change orders to protect your right to receive additional time and/or compensation.

F. Review and revise lien releases moving forward to carve out pending change orders and claims from lien releases.

Every contract is different, but consideration must be given as to whether, how, and when another party needs to be notified of a potential extension of time and/or a request for additional compensation if COVID-19 potentially impacts the construction schedule. After reviewing the applicable contract language and issuing the appropriate notices, if applicable to the specific contract and/ or project, I generally recommend the submission of proposed change orders and/or claims in accordance with the contract language. In short, if necessary, a proposed change order or claim should be submitted with an appropriate narrative outlining the situation, citing the applicable contract provisions should impacts and/or delays arise, providing your best estimates for

Please understand the above represents general knowledge and is not intended as legal advice on any specific matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (410) 842-0145 . Be well and stay safe.

-Jeremy Wyatt



(410) 832-0000

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