Visit The Contractors Legal Toolkit Website

Like you, I hate what happens to contractors and owners when they end up in court. Nobody wins (except the lawyers) and nobody can afford it (especially these days). It’s a trap and game that nobody needs. It shakes your confidence, drains your check book and kills your interest in this business. Do everything that you can to avoid the things that land you in court. Start with a good contract because that’s where problems often start.

We specialize in…

  • Construction Law

  • Mediation

  • alternative dispute

Gary Ransone is a licensed and practicing attorney, general contractor and real estate broker in Soquel, CA. He is the author of The Contractor’s Legal Kit and the managing member of The Contractors Legal Kit, LLC.

I have worked in and around many parts of the construction business for over 35 years – first as a laborer, carpenter, project manager, Builder and General Contractor, and for the last thirty + years also as an attorney focused on Construction Law, builder of my own projects, project administration and related legal areas. This “in the trenches” construction experience is why I work in this area of the law.

I have also worked as an arbitrator/mediator in numerous construction disputes and also done land use work. I currently hold licenses in California as an attorney, general contractor and real estate broker. I have also been trained in the past as an American Arbitration Association arbitrator. I’ve written numerous articles on construction contracts and construction contract administration along with a book sold nationwide called the Contractor’s Legal Kit, published by The Journal of Light Construction and spoke on these same topics at national construction conferences from California to the East Coast.

Like you, I hate what happens to contractors and owners when they end up in court. Nobody wins (except the lawyers) and nobody can afford it (especially these days). It’s a trap and game that nobody needs. It shakes your confidence, drains your check book and kills your interest in this business. Do everything that you can to avoid the things that land you in court. Start with a good contract because that’s where problems often start.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about the kinds of problems that contractors and owners face when trouble arises on projects and when trying to put together contracts. More importantly, I’ve learned some ways to resolve or better still, prevent some of these problems from occurring in the first place.

My approach to problems in the construction business is tempered by a strong dose of job site reality gained while working as a both General Contractor and an attorney. This is why an important part of my work is focused on PREVENTATIVE STEPS contractors can take to better organize and streamline the business basics (e.g. contracts, subcontracts, paperwork with the owner, etc…) in a way that minimizes agonizing and costly disputes and allows contractors and owners to have a successful relationship and avoid and/or quickly resolve disputes.

Please visit The website when you have a minute! The Resource information tab contains lots of useful information that may be of interest to builders. The site was developed in 2022 and The Contractor’s Legal Kit, LLC’s mission is to offer high quality, user friendly, easy to access editable contract forms online to builders both locally and nationwide that may help to minimize some of the risks that builders and remodelers face when building projects. The revised and new forms found on this site have many roots in the original Contractor’s Legal Kit first published back in 1996. Builders who have used the earlier forms have often asked about revised forms and you will now find the latest revised editable download version of The Contractor’s Legal Kit forms (no book or CD), along with some brand new forms on this site.

We strive now, as back in 1996 and with subsequent revisions, to infuse the Contractor’s Legal Kit forms with an understandable, practical, focused and editable template form language that comes from the unique perspective of having been both a builder and an attorney for many years. As construction evolved over the past decades, the various tools to creating and running a successful construction company have also evolved and towards that end we hope that you will find the information and most recently updated, revised and new Contractor’s Legal Kit forms and resource tabs on The Contractor’s Legal website useful.

Having had one foot in the construction world and the other in the legal world for decades, my focus and professional interest has always been in the creation, drafting, review and use of construction agreements as a builder tool in the hopes of improving communication and minimizing disputes on construction projects along with advising and trying to help people resolve construction disputes.

Gary Ransone’s publications and speaking engagements have included: Author of numerous articles on construction law and contract administration, The Contractor’s Legal Kit, 344 pages, Builderburg Group (1996) and Second Edition (2003); Created numerous contracts for Microsoft’s, Reader’s Digest Guide to Home Improvement with template contracts for owners & contractors; Edited Mechanic’s Liens (1998) by Nolo Press. Authored numerous articles on construction contracts and construction administration that were published in national builder’s magazines. He has been the featured construction law speaker at numerous local and national builder conferences from San Francisco to Chicago to the East coast.

The revised, expanded and latest version of The Contractor’s Legal Kit template forms may be downloaded at any time off the website or you can contact Gary Ransone at to purchase the CA version of the revised Contractor’s Legal Kit forms.

For legal work, advice and contract drafting/revision in California only, feel free to email Gary Ransone at or phone him at (831) 476-8784. Thank you for visiting my page on the Santa Cruz Construction Guild.

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11 Customer Testimonials
  1. Jeff Talmadge says:

    I have had the opportunity to work with Gary a few times during my career as a contractor here in Santa Cruz. Gary wrote all the contracts for a large custom home I was working on as the project manager for the homeowner. The documents covered everything from bid packages to lien releases and the project, which lasted three years, was completed without any problems.

    I was asked to arbitrate a small case with Gary and another local construction attorney. I found Gary to be fair and reasonable and I have a great deal of respect for Gary from both a legal and a builder perspective.

    We too, still use his legal documents from the Contractor’s Legal Kit!

    Jeff Talmadge, President
    Talmadge Construction, Inc.

  2. Chie Kawahara says:

    As homeowners taking on an challenging gut-remodel project we learned a lot by working with Gary Ransone where he coached us through the contractor selection, negotiation, risk management and contract drafting. Gary has seen the good, bad and the ugly from both contractor’s and homeowner’s perspectives and is capable of arguing from either side fluently. Our intent was to select a contractor that had the highest potential to deliver a project to meet the Passivhaus standard, a first in the County of Santa Cruz, at the best value and minimize our risk. He advised us on taking steps to minimize risk and drafted a strong and fair contract. We recommend homeowners and contractors to work with Gary. Not only is he competent and responsive, he has a good sense of humor and clearly explains concepts and details to homeowners with no building trades experience.
    Chie Kawahara
    Midorihaus Project

  3. Dan Forshner says:

    Gary and I go back quite a few years and I have been able to sit down with him on numerous occasions and receive valuable in sites to keep business transactions on an even keel. His knowledge both of the legal aspects and the experience of many years of actual working in the trades make his approach a real asset in both construction and Real Estate. Thank-you Gary

    Dan Forshner Construction,Inc.

  4. Jon Fiorovich says:

    “Our firm is both architecture and construction. I first became aware of Gary through the use of his “Contractor’s Legal Kit” and then realizing he was a local attorney. I have ask Gary for contract advise and used his services many time for real estate deals and most importantly to stay out of court. The experience and the outcome has always been very good.”

  5. Mike Hartrich says:

    I recommend Gary Ransone . He’s my local go-to guy for legal construction advice. His “The Contractor’s Legal Kit” contains a wealth of information. Give him a call.

  6. Marc Susskind from MS Builders says:

    I have worked with Gary on numerous occasions over the past 10 years and I appreciate his integrity, knowledge and direct approach. His goal, in our dealings, has always been to prepare and present a fair and equitable contract for both parties involved. He is thorough and concise and has always treated me with the utmost respect and honesty. I would highly recommend Gary to anyone who needs construction related legal services.

  7. Dave says:

    As a subcontractor I’ve used Gary’s services to rewrite contracts that were not in my interest. It has always worried me when I get a contract from the General and it’s over an inch thick with no reference any where to my original proposal. Gary has always been fair and thorough in making sure I’m protected before I sign on the dotted line.

    I would recommend Gary to any contractor needing help with understanding the law.

    Dave Pettigrew / Owner Diamond D Co.

  8. Josh Meschi says:

    Gary Ransone has been a great help to our business. His publication “The Contractor’s Legal Kit”, is what we have based our costruction contracts on. In addition, he has helped us write contracts for unique projects and given us legal advice when we have needed it. It is so refreshing to talk to a lawyer who has such a great understanding of construction law AND methods of construction. Gary really “gets it” and is easy to talk with. He has become an important part of our business and I highly recommend him.

  9. Myles F. Corcoran says:

    I recommend Gary Ransone, Esq. to the building trades.

    I have worked on and off with Gary for about two decades here in the Santa Cruz area. Gary is a very knowledgeable and well seasoned construction attorney. I know a fair deal about construction disputes and I strongly recommend that any construction business law questions or problems that you have – you take to someone who specializes in it – like Gary Ransone, Esq.

    Gary is an excellent choice.

    Myles F. Corcoran, CEO
    Myles F. Corcoran Construction Consulting, Inc.

  10. Michele Landegger says:

    Gary Ransone is a clear thinker helping to navigate the complex system of construction law.
    The Contractors Legal Kit is a comprehensive resource; I have used his contracts for the past 15 years and find them to be invaluable, proven over the test of time. A good contract protects both the contractor and the homeowner. Gary understands how to support a win/win relationship through contracts that actually communicate what is important for both parties.
    Over the years, I have consulted with Gary several times and he has been extremely informative and helpful. The construction industry is complex, especially for my business as a design build company. Gary has distilled his experience and knowledge and is an excellent resource to the Santa Cruz community. He is a big fish in a little pond, much to our benefit.

    Michele Landegger
    Boa Constructor Building and Design

  11. Sandy G Charney, says:

    I have worked with Gary Ransone several times over the past twenty years and have never been disappointed with the legal outcome.
    When the unexpected arises, as we all know it can, I put my trust, and faith in Gary knowing that he will apply his vast knowledge of Law, and General Contracting to work to get the very best results possible.
    I couldn’t ask for a better Friend, Attorney, or Construction Contract Advisor.
    Sandy G. Charney
    General Contractor

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