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Buying Environmental Expertise: Contracting For the Investigation, Analysis, And/or Cleanup of Toxic Sites

Frank L. Hearne, Environmental Considerations in Natural Resource and Real Property Transactions (1988)

This paper will focus on some of the practical matters arising when industry must hire environmental engineering and scientific services to supplement in-house expertise. First, we will provide, based on our experience, an overview of the factors involved in a healthy and useful consulting relationship. This is and should be the fundamental goal of both client and consultant. Second, we will focus on certain issues most recently encountered in contracting in this complex and unusual context. Next, we will discuss selected legal developments which, we hope, will clarify the issues of importance to consultants and clients. Last, we will provide some comments on selecting consultants in the private sector which are based on our recent experience.

II. THE CONSULTING RELATIONSHIP IN THE TOXIC CONTEXT

What a specific industrial client seeks from a consultant will vary enormously depending on a number of factors including the client's sophistication, the technical context, the consultant's familiarity with the client's business and other matters. Fundamentally, however, the relationship, as in the provision of any personal services, is one of trust and confidence. Aside from technical credentials, the consultant must convey a thorough knowledge of the technical area, be able to communicate that knowledge appropriately, and really care about solving the problems effic