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Building Better Construction Contracts 2013

Speaker(s): A.J. Manion, Alison A. Grounds, David J. 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

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 matter-specific legal and technical solutions for the management of electronically stored information (ESI) in legal matters. 

Alison advocates on behalf of clients in relation to eDiscovery issues before courts, adversaries and agencies around the country and consults with clients on all phases of discovery, including litigation readiness.  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 discovery law and technology.

Alison leads a team of lawyers and technologists, including custom programmers, who assist clients with data management issues from preservation through trial as well as through custom applications for legal compliance. Alison has assisted hundreds of clients in a variety of industries, including energy, financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals, construction, technology, and manufacturing with data management issues in litigation, arbitrations, and investigations.

Alison was selected as ILTA’s Technology Advocacy Professional of the Year in 2013 and was the first recipient of the Monica Bay STEM Leadership award in 2015.


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


  • Selected as a Rising Star in General Litigation by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2009-2014)
  • Selected as Georgia Super Lawyer (2015 - 2016)
  • 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
  • Inaugural Recipient of the Monica Bay STEM Leadership Award (2015)
  • Associate Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

David Hatem is a partner in the Boston-based law firm, Donovan Hatem LLP. Nationally recognized for his expertise in representing engineers, architects and construction management professionals, he leads the firm’s Professional Practices Group which serves design and construction professionals. He is regularly called upon by this country's leading architect-engineering firms to provide risk management strategies and solutions, especially on major subsurface projects.

Throughout his career, David has dominated the representation of consulting engineers and construction managers, providing legal advice to design and construction management professionals on major Boston-area construction projects, including:

  • The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Boston Harbor Cleanup Project, and its Metrowest Tunnel Project;
  • The Massachusetts Highway Department’s Route 3 Design-Build Project;
  • The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s Greenbush Project; and, most prominently,
  • The Central Artery/Tunnel Project.

In addition, David has been retained by professional liability insurers under owner-controlled insurance programs to represent engineering consultants and construction program management professionals on major projects throughout the United States, including: 

  • LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Building Replacement;
  • Maryland Purple Line;
  • New York City’s East Side Access Project and Second Avenue Subway Project;
  • L.A. Metro’s Red Line and East Side Extension Projects;
  • Seattle’s Sound Transit Project;
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District’s Deep Tunnel Project;
  • Dallas’ DART Light Rail Transit Project;
  • Houston’s Rapid Transit Project;
  • Washington’s Brightwater Tunnel System;
  • Virginia’s Midtown Tunnel; and
  • Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Project. 

For over 20 years, David has taught Legal Aspects of the Engineering Process at Tufts University School of Engineering. He also teaches Legal Aspects of Civil Engineering at Northeastern University Graduate School of Engineering. He frequently lectures on issues of professional liability and risk management for design and construction management professionals, and he has authored numerous related articles. His most recent book, in which he was a contributing author and co-editor, is Public-Private Partnerships and Design-Build: Opportunities and Risks for Consulting Engineers, published in 2016. He is also a chapter contributor and co-editor of both Megaprojects: Challenges and Recommended Practices, which was published in 2010 by the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the second edition of Design-Build Subsurface Projects, published in 2010 by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.

Admitted To Practice

  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Claims Court


  • Boston University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1974; J.D., 1977)

Business and Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Professional Practice Committee, Boston Society of Architects, 1984
  • Legal Counsel: American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts, 1988-present
  • General Counsel for Design-Build Institute of New England, Inc., 2000-present
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (Affiliated Member)
  • Boston Society of Architects/AIA (Corporate Affiliate Member)
  • Transportation Research Board (Organizational Affiliate Member)
  • National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (Corporate Member)
  • International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Associate Member)
  • Geoprofessional Business (Individual Consultant Member)
  • New York Building Congress (Member)

Honors & Awards

  • 2016 recipient of the Engineering Center Education Trust (TECET) “Leadership in Professional Service to the Engineering Community” award. TECET presents this award in recognition of a career dedicated to the engineering sector.
  • 2008 American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts Distinguished Service Award. ACEC/MA presents this award only in years in which a candidate distinguishes him or herself through the extraordinary support of the engineering profession.
  • Selected by his peers every year since 1990 for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Construction Law and Professional Malpractice. The Best Lawyers in America® lists attorneys who have been selected through an exhaustive nationwide survey in which thousands of leading attorneys evaluate their professional peers.
  • Reaching the height of professional excellence, David has received an AV Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

Additional Information

  • Instructor, “Legal Aspects of Civil Engineering,” Northeastern University,2016 – Present
  • Instructor, “Legal Aspects of the Engineering Process”, Tufts University, 1994 – Present
  • Editor, Boston University Law Review, 1976-1977

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.

WORK HISTORY:  Executive Director for Arbitration Studies, Adjunct Professor, Commercial Arbitration, DePaul University College of Law, Center for Dispute Resolution, 2009-; Principal, Dispute Resolution Services, 2009-;Partner, Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLP, 1995-2008; Partner, Schain, Firsel & Burney, 1994-95; Partner, Pretzel & Stouffer, Chtd., 1982-94; Partner, Mann, Cogan, Sklar & Lerman, 1970-82; Associate, Fein & Pesmen, 1964-70.

EXPERIENCE:  Over 35 years' experience specializing in real estate and construction representing owners, design professionals, lenders, contractors, subcontractors, and title insurance companies handling contract negotiations, construction claims, commercial lease disputes and workouts. Adjunct Professor, Graduate Real Estate Program, John Marshall School of Law teaching Construction Law. Instructor, Oakton Community College, Architectural Technology Program teaching Construction Law. Master Teacher, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Attorney, Northbrook Park District (1971-80) and Northbrook Zoning Board of Appeals (Chair, 1973-99).

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION EXPERIENCE:  Chaired panels concerning claims in excess of $10 million on several Large Complex Case panel matters and sole arbitrator in several Large Complex Cases.  Arbitrator and mediator in construction contract disputes, payment disputes, delay claims, and failure claims; design defects; change order disputes; insurance coverage disputes and surety claims; common area maintenance contributions under multiple shopping center leases; international shopping center disputes; underground tunneling project involving trenchless technology; concrete defects in high rise office building; concrete defects in parking deck and garage structures; alkali silica deterioration for commercial pavers in office complex, concrete failures, curtain wall water intrusion, structural steel failures; HUD financed retirement facilities; marine structures including breakwater construction for lake erosion protection; delay claims relating to processing plant; energy supply contract disputes involving coal mines and public utility; supply contracts for coal forced steam generating plant; energy savings performance contracts; circulating fluidized bed steam generators for power plant, floating casinos, hospital and health center retro-fitting and new construction, lease workletter disputes and workouts, demolition and disposal of nuclear waste; claims relating to auto dealership facility construction; multi-party mediations regarding insurance coverage for construction defects; and title insurance coverage disputes.  Member of the AAA Large Complex Case Panel for Commercial and Construction Disputes; AAA Construction Arbitration Master Panel; AAA National Commercial/Construction Arbitrator Training Faculty; and instructor for ACE courses on Ethics, Chairing the Arbitration Panel.  Arbitrator, Circuit Court of Cook County Mechanics Lien Section.  Mediator, Circuit Court of Cook County Court Annexed Mediation.  AAA Faculty:  AAA Construction Arbitrator II:  Advanced Case Management Issues, 2005; Arbitrator Ethics and Disclosure, 2004, 2005; member, AAA National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee; Member, AAA National Construction Dispute Rules Committee, Adj. Professor, DePaul College of Law, Commercial Arbitration, Mediation Certification Program.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION TRAINING:  ALI ABA Course on Special Masters in Federal Courts, 12/05; ACE004 - Practical Tips for Dealing with Delay Tactics of Parties and Advocates, Chicago, 4/05; AAA International Arbitration Symposium, San Francisco, 9/03; Attended AAA Neutrals Conference and satisfied 2003 ACE requirements, Providence, 8/03; faculty, AAA Neutrals Conference, Scottsdale, 1/03; AAA Arbitrator Update 2001; AAA Construction Train the Trainer Course, Phoenix, 12/00; attended AAA Mediator Conference Workshop, Chicago, 9/00; AAA Continuing Education, "Concrete Deterioration," Chicago, 9/00; AAA Continuing Education, "Sticks and Stones and Managing the Process of Arbitration," Chicago, 7/00; AAA Continuing Education, "Scheduling Damages and Discovery Management in Arbitration," Chicago, 5/00; presenter, AAA National Mediator Conference, Denver, 3/00; Harvard Law School Advanced Mediation Workshop, 2000; faculty, AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training, Atlanta, 11/98; AAA Construction Law Seminar, Chicago, 11/98; faculty, AAA Construction Industry Arbitrator Training, Chicago, 6/97; faculty, AAA Construction Mediator Workshop, Chicago, 5/97; Constructive Resolutions, Inc., Mediation Training, 1991; faculty, Chicago Region Arbitrator Training Programs; various other ADR training.

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;

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: College of Commercial Arbitrators, President (2010-2011);  American College of Real Estate Lawyers (Elected Fellow); American College of Construction Lawyers (Elected Fellow; Past President); Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys (Past President);  Chicago Bar Association (Real Property Committee, Past Chair; Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee; Construction and Mechanic's Lien Subcommittee); American Bar Association (Forum on Construction, Board of Governors); Builders Association of Greater Chicago (Board of Directors); American Subcontractors Association (Board of Directors; Governmental Relations Committee, Chair); Construction Financial Management Association (Chicago Chapter, Legal Counsel); Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society. Member CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals. International Mediation Institute (IMI) Certified; International Association of Mediators, Distinguished Neutral, American Arbitration Association, Panel for Large, Complex Commercial/Construction Disputes.

HONORS:  Recipient of ABA Forum on Construction Industry Cornerstone Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of Construction Law (2004); Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business stated “rivals extol Stanley Sklar as “one of the preeminent construction law practitioners in the country.” Member of Lambda Alpha Honorary Land Economics Society and Leading Lawyer Network – Construction consisting of top 5% of lawyers in Illinois..

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

PUBLICATIONS:  Contributing author, "Construction Liens" and "Arbitration," chapters, CONSTRUCTION LAW, Matthew Bender, EFFECTIVE USE OF ADR IN REAL ESTATE DISPUTES, ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION FOR LAWYERS, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education; THE ALLOCATION OF RISK IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM, Aspen Law Publishers, 2000; lead editor, ILLINOIS CONSTRUCTION LAW, Illinois Institute Continuing Legal Education, 1997;  ARBITRATION OF CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES, Construction Business Handbook; "Special Problems in the Construction Loan Workout," American College of Real Estate Lawyers American Bar Association Papers;

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.

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), an eleven-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.  Since 2007, Mr. O’Connor has counseled the AIA’s Documents Committee in connection with numerous contract forms.  Mr. O’Connor has held LEED AP (New Construction) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.  He is a Fellow, former member of the Executive Committee, and 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.”