Skip to main content

Building Better Construction Contracts 2013

Speaker(s): A.J. Manion, Alison A. Grounds, David Hatem, David Mockbee, Jennifer W. Fletcher, L. Tyrone Holt, Patrick J. O'Connor, Jr., Robyn Baker, Stanley P. Sklar, Steven L. Wilner
Recorded on: Sep. 25, 2013
PLI Program #: 42671


WORK HISTORY: Executive Director of Arbitration Studies, Center for Dispute Resolution, DePaul University College of Law 2009-, Principal, Dispute Resolution Services, 2009 ; Partner, Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLC, 1995 2008; Partner: Schain, Firsel & Burney, 1994 95; Partner:  Pretzel & Stouffer, Chtd, 1982 94;  Partner: Mann, Cogan, Sklar & Lerman, 1970 82; Associate/Partner:  Fein & Pesmen, 1964 1970

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION EXPERIENCE: Arbitrator and mediator in construction contract interpretation, delay claims. Chaired panels concerning claims in excess of $8,000,000 including claims relating to design defects, change orders, underground tunneling, parking structures, processing plants, multi party insurance disputes and commercial lease disputes.  Chair, Construction Disputes Advisory Panel for Chicago Region, AAA. Member, Panel on Large, Complex Commercial Disputes. Member, AAA International Division Panel of Arbitrators. Chair, Task Force to Implement ADR for Circuit Court of Cook County Mechanics Lien Section.  Arbitration in Title Insurance Disputes, ABA Section on Real Property, Probate and Trust Law. Member, Panel for Construction Disputes, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution. Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County, Court Annexed Major Case Civil Mediation Panel.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION TRAINING: Member, AAA Construction Master Arbitrator Roster; Member, AAA National Commercial Arbitrator Training Faculty; Member, AAA Chicago Training Faculty for Construction Arbitrators, AAA Basic Arbitrator Training, Chicago 1986; 8 hour course Arbitrator Training (1997); Invited Observer, Uniform Arbitration Act Revisions Committee; Member, Task Force for Implementation of AAA Rules (Chicago Region); Constructive Resolutions Inc.: 16 hour course Mediator Training (1991); American Arbitration Association, 24 hour course, Mediator Training (1997); Harvard Law School, Advanced Mediation Workshop, (40 hours training) (2000); Arbitrator II Training and Trainer for AAA (2001), Instructor, Chairing the Arbitration Panel, AAAU (2011), Member, AAA National Construction Dispute Rules Committee.

PROFESSIONAL LICENSES:  Illinois Bar, 1964; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1965; Trial Bar of U.S.  District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1972; U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1965; U.S. Supreme Court, 1968; Licensed Real Estate Continuing Education Instructor, State of Illinois.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: College of Commercial Arbitrators, President (2010-2011); American College of Construction Lawyers, past President 1994-95; Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, President 2004-5; American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Fellow; Chicago Bar Association (Chair, Real Property Committee, 1991 92), Chair, Mechanics Lien Committee, (1973 75), Chair, Construction Issues Committee (1986 88), Chair, Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee (1997); American Bar Association, Member, Board of Governors, Forum on Construction (1993 96); Chair, Mechanics Lien Subcommittee, Litigation Division (1994   ); Chair, Construction Subcommittee, ADR Section (1994   ); Member, Construction Committee, Real Property Division (1972   ); Builders Association of Greater Chicago, Member, Board of Directors, (1993 1996); American Subcontractors Association, Board of Directors (1988 96); Construction Financial Management Association Legal Counsel Chicago Chapter 1985-2000); Northbrook Park District (1971 80); Legal Counsel, Chair, Northbrook Zoning Board of Appeals (1973-1999); Instructor, Associated General Contractors, Supervisory Training Program, Construction Law; Member, Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society.

EDUCATION: Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1964, University of Illinois, B.S. Industrial Administration, 1960

Alison Grounds is a litigation partner with Troutman Sanders LLP and also serves as the Managing Director of Troutman Sanders eMerge -- a wholly owned subsidiary focused on providing legal and technical solutions to effectively manage eDiscovery from preservation through trial. 

An experienced litigation partner, Alison combines her litigation and eDiscovery experience to work with clients to develop proactive, matter-specific, efficient, and defensible legal strategies for discovery. Alison also advocates on behalf of clients in relation to eDiscovery issues at hearings and depositions in state and federal courts around the country and consults with clients on all phases of eDiscovery.  She is a frequent speaker and author on eDiscovery issues and serves as a dedicated legal resource for Troutman Sanders' lawyers and clients on the intersection of eDiscovery law and technology.

Alison focuses her practice on advising clients on the efficient management, production and use of electronically stored information in litigation and internal/governmental investigations. Alison has assisted hundreds of Firm clients in a variety of industries, including energy, financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals, construction, technology, and manufacturing with eDiscovery issues in litigation, arbitration, and investigations


University of North Carolina (J.D., 2001) with honors
Loyola University (B.A., summa cum laude, 1997)

Work Experience

Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2012-present
Of Counsel, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2010-2011
Associate, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2001-2009
Fellow, Atlanta Legal Aid, 2002-2003


  • Selected as a Rising Star in General Litigation by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2009-2014)
  • Selected as Georgia Super Lawyer (2015)
  • Selected as ILTA’s Technology Advocacy Professional of the Year (2013)
  • Named to the Fulton County Daily Report's 2013 "On the Rise" list for top lawyers in Georgia under the age of 40


Steven L. Wilner is a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP based in the New York office.

Mr. Wilner’s practice focuses on financial and corporate matters, ranging from global real estate acquisitions, dispositions, development and finance to international mergers and acquisitions and restructurings, including private equity investments and joint ventures.

Mr. Wilner is distinguished as one of the country's best real estate lawyers by Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 U.S., the PLC Corporate Real Estate guide and the PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook. In 2011, he was named a "Most Valuable Practitioner" for real estate by Law360.

Mr. Wilner joined the firm in 1988 and became a partner in 1997. Mr. Wilner spent 2001-2005 as a partner in Tokyo. Mr. Wilner received a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 1988, where he was the 1987-1988 Blaustein Fellow of International Human Rights. He received his undergraduate degree from Tufts University in 1985.

Mr. Wilner is a member of the Bar in New York.

B.A. 1971 (summa cum laude), Morehouse College; J.D. 1974, Stanford University; M. Theology, 1997 Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy; Member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, Delta of Georgia Chapter (1971).  Ty has forty years of experience as a construction and commerical trial lawyer, public finance lawyer, construction transaction attorney, project development and deal structuring attorney.  He also has thirty years of experience as a construction mediator and arbitrator.  Ty’s firm is listed in the “Red Book” of public finance professionals and currently he serves as co-bond counsel for the City & County of Denver and Park Creek Metropolitan District, Denver, Colorado.

Ty is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Colorado Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and on a Pro Hac Vice basis in various federal and state trial courts.  As a Stanford Law School extern, he was a law clerk to the Honorable Preston Devine of the California Court of Appeals in 1974.

Ty’s clients include public entities, developers, owners, general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, suppliers and construction managers.  He serves as a "first chair" trial and counseling attorney for many construction industry clients in a variety of complex businss and construction disputes.  He currently practices in the Federal and State trial and appellate courts; before various federal, state and local agencies and administrative claims tribunals.

He serves as the Immediate Past-President of the College of Commercial Arbitrators.  He served as a member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry from 2007 to 2010, and was the Chair of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry’s Special Projects and Education Committee (SPEC) from 2009 to 2011.  He is a former Chair of the Litigation Council of the Colorado Bar Association.  He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Stanford Law School; a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Arbitration Master Panel and Construction Mega Project Panel of Arbitrators.   Ty is certified as a mediator by the International Mediation Institute.

Ty has been a frequent speaker for the American Bar Association (various Sections and Forums), American Arbitration Association, Design Build Institute of America, Practice Law Institute and other national programs, including the following, recent programs: American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry  (January 29, 2015) Mid-Winter Meeting, Westin Kierlin Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona, “Mistakes Attorneys Make in Complex Litigation and How to Deal With Them”;  Co-author, “Demystifying the Arbitrator’s Expectations: Best Practices for Promoting Efficiency and Economy in Arbitration” ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, January 2014, Nassau, Grand Bahama; Co-author of Chapter 63, “Large, Complex Construction Disputes:  The Dynamics of Multi-Member Mediation Teams”, AAA Handbook on Mediation, 2nd Edition, Juris Publishing (2010); Co-editor and a contributing author, Design Professional/Construction Manager Liability Law, ABA Press, © 2007; Co-author of “Large, Complex Construction Disputes:  The Dynamics of Multi-Party Mediation”, Dispute Resolution Journal, © 2007; Author of “Whither Arbitration?  What Can Be Done to Improve Arbitration and Keep Out Litigation’s Ill-Affects?” The DePaul University Business & Commercial Law Journal, 2009;  Co-author, Chapter 32, The Design Professional’s Perspective on ADR, Construction ADR Handbook, ABA Publications, Inc. © 2014 ; Co-author, Chapter 13, Ethical Issues in Mediation, Building Better Constrution Contracts 2013, Practicing Law Institute © 2013; Co-author, Chapter 2, The Design Professional, Fundamentals of Construction, Second Edition, ABA Publications, Inc. © 2014.

David J. Hatem is a Founding Partner of the multi-practice law firm, Donovan Hatem LLP. He leads the firm’s Professional Practices Group, which represents engineers, architects and construction management professionals. David has been practicing over 30 years and is nationally recognized for his expertise in representing engineers and architects. He frequently lectures on issues of professional liability for design and construction management professionals, risk management and design-build procurement issues, and has authored numerous related articles. He edited Subsurface Conditions: Risk Management for Design and Construction Management Professionals, Design-Build Subsurface Projects, Second Edition (Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Inc. 2010), is Co-Editor and chapter contributor for Megaprojects: Challenges and Recommended Practices, published in 2010 by American Council of Engineering Companies and is Co-Editor and chapter contributor for Public-Private Partnerships:  Opportunities and Risks for Consulting Engineers, published in October 2013 by American Council of Engineering Companies. David has served as ACEC/Massachusetts Counsel since 1988 and was the recipient of the 2008 American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts Distinguished Service Award. He was also selected for the 6th consecutive year for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2009 in the fields of Construction Law and Professional Malpractice. He teaches Legal Aspects of Engineering at Tufts University

PATRICK J. O’CONNOR, JR.  Partner with the international law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP in its Minneapolis, Minnesota office.  He received his B.A. degree from Hamline University in 1975 and his JD degree from The American University in 1981.  He was law clerk to Miles W. Lord, Chief Judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota.  Mr. O’Connor’s practice focuses on construction, suretyship and insurance.  He has served as litigation or coverage counsel for contractors, owners, design professionals, and product suppliers in disputes venued in over 25 states and Canada.  He also acts as a mediator, arbitrator and expert witness in construction and insurance disputes.  Mr. O’Connor is co-author of Bruner & O’Connor on Construction Law (West Group 2002), a ten-volume construction law treatise.  He was an adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Third, Suretyship and Guaranty.  He works closely with a number of industry organizations on Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery initiatives.  Mr. O’Connor currently is Co-Chair of the BIMForum’s Legal Subforum.  Mr. O’Connor was outside counsel to the AIA’s Documents Committee during its effort to draft the Single Purpose Entity family of IPD documents and the Multi-Party family of documents.  Mr. O’Connor has held LEED AP (New Construction) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.  He is a Fellow, member of the Executive Committee, and Immediate Past-President of the American College of Construction Lawyers.  Mr. O’Connor is also a former member of the Governing Committee for the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry.  Mr. O’Connor is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” “International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers,” and “Minnesota Super Lawyers.”  (Contact Pat O’Connor by phone at 612-766-7413 or email at