Our firm has a long history of advising a whole range of project participants around the world in delivering complex, high value construction and infrastructure projects. We represent our clients in international arbitration, statutory adjudication, dispute resolution boards, mediation, and litigation before national and local courts including mini-trials, bench trials, and jury trials.
We leverage our deep sector-specific knowledge in diverse areas including energy, rail, roads, water and wastewater, mining, airports, telecommunications, and shipping and offshore construction. We regularly deal with disputes under a wide range of standard forms of construction contract including FIDIC. Our dispute practice covers the full spectrum of engineering and construction disputes, as well as related product liability litigation, health and safety, employment issues, toxic tort and environmental claims, insurance coverage litigation, intellectual property disputes, and professional liability disputes.
Our capabilities include:
Because our construction lawyers possess in-depth experience preparing, evaluating, negotiating, and litigating claims, many of our clients involve us early in the claims process to investigate the facts and circumstances and develop legal theories to support or defend claims. By preparing and presenting a well-developed, well-supported, and persuasive claim, our clients increase their chances of an early and successful resolution. Our lawyers frequently work with leading consultants to develop critical path and other scheduling analyses, and use advanced damages analyses to support or defend delay, disruption, loss of productivity, cumulative impact, wrongful termination, extra work, differing site conditions, unforeseen circumstances, and other types of construction-related claims. Because of our extensive legal and industry experience, we ask consultants to support our work rather than asking them to work up a claim and explain the results of their work afterward. This approach leads to greater cost effectiveness.
We strive to assist our construction industry clients in resolving disputes when they arise and before they escalate into expensive and complicated litigation. Through knowledge of substantive law, industry, and technical know-how and negotiating experience, our lawyers quickly develop appropriate negotiating strategies that clients may pursue to maximize the potential for a negotiated settlement and at the same time minimize the risks of financial loss and injury to their important business relationships.
Our team has extensive experience in conducting forensic investigations concerning defects, structural failures, and other design and construction defects occurring in connection with construction projects. As a result of our experience in various engineering and construction disciplines, we are familiar with the terminology, procedures, and methodologies used to isolate the root cause of defects and failures. We negotiate site access and evidence preservation agreements. We work with all manner of engineering and other consultants to develop creative pre-litigation solutions, and, if necessary, to present our expert witnesses at trial or arbitration.
Internal Investigations and Preliminary Case Assessments
Frequently, we are engaged to perform confidential internal investigations and preliminary case assessments concerning the history, facts, and legal issues involved in difficult projects, including domestic and international multibillion-dollar megaprojects. As part of the firm’s preliminary assessment, we develop and suggest various strategies for resolving the issues at hand and endeavor to formulate a solid legal and business strategy with the active involvement of our client that incorporates management’s objectives and sensitivities.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
With the advent and evolution of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the shapes and forms of dispute resolution are limited only by the creativity of those drafting the dispute resolution procedures contained in the applicable engineering and construction contracts. Our lawyers are experienced in the many facets of ADR, and a number of the firm’s construction lawyers have acted as adjudicators, arbitrators, or mediators in both domestic and international disputes. We have assisted clients in a variety of alternatives to traditional in-court litigation, including mediation, informal proceedings before dispute resolution boards, mini-trials, and claim audits. Our arbitrators provide clients with claim prevention and resolution seminars and periodic updates on new and relevant legal developments.
Many of our clients are actively pursuing new work all over the world. International construction brings with it a whole host of new and sometimes unusual challenges. When projects go bad, our clients appreciate a steady, experienced counselor at their side. We have acted on some of the world’s largest, highest profile, and most complex international arbitrations in this sector. Our experience includes successful results in arbitral proceedings in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and Asia under all major international arbitration rules including those of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, International Chamber of Commerce, International Centre for Dispute Resolution, Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Santiago Arbitration and Mediation Center, London Court of International Arbitration, German Institute for Arbitration, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission. We are also accomplished in ad hoc arbitrations under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Rules and with investment treaty cases under Multilateral and Bilateral Investment Treaties acting on behalf of both investors and respondent sovereign states. Our arbitration practice has been recognized by prominent publications such as the Global Arbitration Review, and by directories and rankings such as Legal 500 and Chambers.
Not all cases can be settled on terms that are reasonable for our clients, and in those instances our lawyers have significant experience in trying complex construction cases. Moreover, while there is a general perception that construction cases are too complex for a jury trial, we have shown otherwise with many successful jury verdicts representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Because we are prepared to take cases to trial when a reasonable settlement is not offered, we have been able to achieve better outcomes for our clients. Our trial experience also includes trying cases before Government Boards of Contract Appeals and the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Insurance Coverage and Suretyship
Our lawyers are experienced in prosecuting insurance coverage claims arising in connection with construction projects around the world. We also assist clients with insurance-related issues before claims arise by, among other things, identifying and evaluating policy terms, conditions, and exclusions, and drafting contractual provisions designed to transfer risk, by way of indemnification and insurance. We represent owners, contractors, subcontractors, developers, designers, and manufacturers in obtaining and evaluating coverage under a variety of policies. Included among them are builders risk insurance, property insurance, professional indemnity insurance, wrap-up policies such as owner-controlled insurance policies (OCIP), commercial general liability insurance, ocean marine cargo insurance, title insurance, and consequential loss insurance, including delay-in-start-up and efficacy insurance.