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The Role of a Cell Tower Attorney

When preparing to negotiate a cell tower lease, it is important to have a strong support system.  There are a few support options available for landlords, including hiring a consultant, an attorney, or both.  The key is knowing how their strengths differ and how each can help you during the negotiation process. Since a cell tower contract can last anywhere from 25 to 99 years, it is critical that you choose an attorney, consultant, or team who has your best interests in mind.

Cell Tower Attorney or Consultant

When weighing your options between an attorney or consultant, you must apprise yourself of the differences in the roles each fulfills.  Every agreement is different, but hiring both an attorney and a consultant may benefit you the most long-term. However, if you’re thinking of only hiring one of these options, here are the pros and cons to each one.

An attorney can assist with the legal terms of your cell tower agreement, and they have the legal expertise to guide you through the process.  However, an attorney is limited to the state where they are licensed to practice. If you have property in more than one state, you may have to find multiple attorneys to assist you in drafting the contract.  Furthermore, attorneys generally do not have the engineering and other technical expertise in areas that are advantageous for clients, including radio frequency (RF) designs, equipment, designs, sizing, pricing, compensation, and other common industry practices.

A consultant like those available at CellWaves, on the other hand, has the experience to walk you through the entire lease agreement line by line.  You will not find this expertise everywhere because not all consultants are equal. A truly experienced cell tower consultant should be able to explain the engineering design behind your site, why it is valuable to the wireless carrier or tower company (using hard data, not just opinions), what the long-term strategy is for getting additional income from the tower, and other in-depth advice that can benefit you well into the future.  A CellWaves consultant will also take the time to explain every detail of the fifty or more page contract and will have the years of experience necessary to provide you with powerful insights into how wireless carriers operate.

Although CellWaves consultants do not have the ability to provide you with the legal advice that an attorney can, knowledge of wireless carriers can be just as powerful of bargaining chips during the contract negotiation process. This is why an attorney, in addition to a consultant, can make a powerful team during your negotiations. The table below shows a deeper examination of some differences between cell tower attorneys and cell tower consultants.

Cell Tower AttorneysCellWaves Consultants
Give legal advice.Do not give legal advice.
Have expertise in the real estate laws governing your cell tower lease.Have skills and experience negotiating with wireless carriers.
May practice in one state.Have experience and work in all states.
Provide legal counsel regarding legally binding documents.Specialize in wireless engineering, leases, site acquisition, and construction, so our clients are aware of industry practices and valuations that advance their rights.
Most attorneys have never negotiated a cell tower lease in their entire career.  Many highly talented attorneys retain CellWaves to work with them on cell tower lease negotiations.Consultants at CellWaves are highly proficient in essentially all issues related to cell site leases.
Are competent in reviewing contracts. This is a business matter and contract reviews are done after the business terms are agreed to.Our consultants are prepared to advocate for you throughout the entire negotiation process.

As you can see, both cell tower attorneys and CellWaves consultants have strong benefits.  You can gain the greatest advantage by utilizing both in your negotiation process; however, if you choose to only hire one for your lease negotiation, but sure to conduct an in-depth analysis of how each could benefit you.

Why Having Support from Both is Better

When you think about how long your cell site contract will last (perhaps up to 99 years) and the amount of loss you could experience if you don’t have top talent working on your behalf, you’ll recognize the importance of obtaining the very best support to help you negotiate acceptable compensation and positive terms.

While hiring an attorney is not required to complete any transactions with CellWaves, some landlords feel more comfortable having an attorney involved.  Our expertise is in wireless leasing, zoning, engineering, construction, cell tower operations, and negotiating the best terms for your specific property.  An attorney’s expertise is in legal matters. The combination of these two areas will help you maximize your financial returns and advance your legal interests.

We welcome the opportunity to educate and inform all your trusted advisors and professionals, and our staff is always available to answer any questions your team may have.  We think it is a smart idea to have your own trusted professionals working on your side, and we encourage our clients to have their attorneys review the legal documents with us to ensure their interests are doubly protected.

When a lawyer is involved, he or she can often work with us to resolve any title issues with your property that hinder transactions involving cell tower lease rights.  While we focus on technical terms of the lease such as engineering concerns and drawings, site placements, site market value, and lease negotiations, your lawyer can assist in a variety of other tasks to maximize protection of your legal rights and limit your risk.

Tips for Hiring a Cell Tower Attorney

If and when you choose to hire an attorney to help with the negotiation process, we recommend exercising caution, just as you would with any other business decision.  Not every attorney has experience in cell tower leasing. You’ll want to hire an attorney who is competent and familiar with the industry-specific issues that are likely to arise.  Having an unskilled attorney on your team could possibly be worse than not having one at all. Therefore, even if you have an attorney you usually work with, be sure to ask if he or she has the experience necessary to be considered an expert in cell site leasing.  Doing so is a matter of making the best business decision you can for your specific situation.

How a Consultant Can Help

Although consultants are proficient in many areas regarding cell tower leases, they should never offer legal advice.  Instead, CellWaves consultants can perform multiple tasks to assist with your acquisition of a cell tower lease, along with any number of issues that may arise later.  We are prepared to be your advocate throughout the entire process and will always have your interests as our top priority. You can count on CellWaves consultants to be there for you via text message, email, or a simple phone call.

There are also some things a consultant can do that an attorney normally will not.  An attorney’s time is limited and expensive, they bill by the hour or minute, and they may not be willing or able to be by your side throughout the entire process. This, however, is where our consultants excel.  Our passion for helping our clients get the best deals on their cell tower leases translates into peace of mind for the landlords, better rent on their properties, and fair terms on their contracts.

We have found that landlords who are represented solely by lawyers tend to miss out on certain nuances in cell tower leases. This is because most lawyers do not understand wireless technology and its evolution as consultants do.  We find that combining our industry expertise with the legal representation you trust gives you the ultimate protection and advantage in negotiating any lease extensions and modifications with a wireless carrier or tower company. Citation 2

Be aware that the wireless carriers and tower companies have teams of seasoned professionals at their disposal.  They’re looking out for their own interests, so you should have your own seasoned professionals to protect you and your property.  CellWaves is on your side when it comes to dealing with the wireless carriers.

Ultimately, it is beneficial to hire a consultant to work with you on your cell tower lease plans.  Consultants can assist with negotiations, get you a fair price for rent, help you get better terms in your agreement, and warn you about potential mistakes that might cost you later.   It is even more beneficial to employ both a consultant and an attorney for your negotiations. Each lends different levels of experience and expertise to your team, and working together, they can ensure your interests are well represented.

Cell tower lease negotiations are lengthy and complicated, and most landlords and lawyers are new to the process.  If you pair experts at CellWaves with a competent, qualified attorney, you’re less likely to be misled or make damaging mistakes.

Interested in having one of our consultants work with you and your attorney on a Cell Tower lease? Let us know!