As an esteemed attorney specializing in the legal representation of engineers and architects, for Gregory Ziegler, his personal and professional journey is every bit as unique as it is inspiring.
Rooted in his childhood experiences, where his late father designed and constructed their family home, Ziegler’s early exposure to architectural drawings and hands-on construction work in the Texas heat ignited a lifelong admiration. He respected not just the process itself, but the hardworking men and women at the heart of it.
This background, coupled with his eldest son’s career in engineering, shaped Ziegler’s professional path and passion for aiding design professionals moving forward. His firsthand understanding of the design and construction process gives him a unique perspective, allowing him to grasp the complexities and challenges faced by professionals in these fields.
Today, Ziegler’s practice focuses on the myriad of different risks inherent in the design and construction industries. To him, success in these fields inevitably brings legal challenges. This is particularly true when talking about the parts of the process that are subject to potential human error and subjectivity, like project selection, contract negotiation, and execution.
But through it all, his understanding of these risks is nuanced. He always carefully weighs factors like client choices, contract terms, and the investments of time, labor, and money. Representing individual professionals holds a special significance for Ziegler. He understands that the stakes are higher when an individual’s professional license, reputation, and assets are at risk, demanding a heightened sense of responsibility and advocacy.
In an age when technology constantly reshapes expectations and performance standards, Ziegler has adapted his practice to meet these ever-evolving demands. He emphasizes the importance of leveraging technology not just for efficient project execution but also for providing proactive legal protection to his clients. From a legal perspective, it’s always better to prevent a problem from happening in the first place rather than wait for trouble to arise and address it then.
Ziegler actively engages with industry professionals and organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). Ongoing education is incredibly important to him, and he considers it to be one of the keys to his success up to this point. This commitment to learning and collaboration ensures his legal strategies are always aligned with the latest industry developments.
Throughout his nearly 30-year career, Ziegler has tackled numerous challenging and rewarding cases. Notably, he cites the Ocean Tower Padre Island case, where he successfully averted bankruptcy and ruin for his client, was one of them. Another that he looks back on fondly is the defense of a design professional in a high-stakes lawsuit aimed at ruining the professional’s career and financial stability.
Whenever Ziegler begins a new contract negotiation, he works hard to maintain a balance between protecting client interests and acknowledging the necessity of compromise. His philosophy is rooted in understanding client goals and priorities.
He is not averse to advising clients against projects if the risks outweigh the benefits, as evidenced by his counsel on a high-profile sports stadium project. Ziegler’s guiding question is always, “What is best for business?” His decision-making process weighs the risks of liability and defense costs against the potential for future claims and the impact on insurance.
Ziegler also recognizes the need for legislative evolution to better protect design professionals from frivolous lawsuits and to establish a higher threshold for expert qualifications in litigation. He believes such changes would reduce the overall cost of design services, benefiting consumers.
In the realm of intellectual property law, Ziegler’s strategy involves educating clients on their rights, the nuances of protection, and how to enforce these rights when necessary.
For risk and liability management, Ziegler emphasizes the importance of contract compliance, communication strategies, and thorough documentation, ensuring his clients remain within their scope of work and are compensated for any additional services.
Finally, Ziegler assists his clients in navigating the complexities of environmental and zoning laws through a comprehensive educational approach, helping them understand not only the laws but also their interpretation and enforcement.
In the end, Gregory Ziegler and his 25+ year legal career demonstrate a dedication to serving the design and construction community. His extensive experience, coupled with a deep understanding of the industry’s complexities, makes him a valuable ally to professionals in the engineering and architectural fields. His work exemplifies the intersection of legal expertise and a passion for supporting the creative and technical endeavors of design professionals.