Most Highly Regarded Lawyers: Construction 2012

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Doug Jones AM Clayton Utz, Sydney
Adrian Bastianelli III Peckar & Abramson PC, Washington, DC
Robert Peckar Peckar & Abramson PC, New York
Humphrey Lloyd QC Atkin Chambers, London
Andrew Ness Jones Day, Washington, DC
Deborah Ballati Farella Braun + Martel LLP, San Francisco
R Bruce Reynolds Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Toronto
Steven Stein Stein Ray LLP, Chicago
Julio Cesar Bueno Pinheiro Neto Advogados, São Paulo
Joseph Canterbury JR Canterbury Elder Gooch Surratt Shapiro & Stein PC, Dallas

A five-time recipient of the construction law firm of the year award in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, Pinsent Masons LLP again achieves the highest number of listings of any firm in the current research, with 15 lawyers ranking highly from seven offices in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The London headquarters is Pinsents’ best-represented office with four lawyers earning listings, including projects and construction group head Richard Foley. A former head of the firm’s Hong Kong office, Foley is praised by peers for his “international outlook” in advising clients on dispute resolution and avoidance strategies, having acted in public and private infrastructure matters throughout Asia and the Middle East. Also noted for his infrastructure expertise is Mark Lane, whose practice encompasses matters related to both public private partnership (PPP) and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), and who has a particular focus on the water, roads and energy sectors. Martin Harman’s infrastructure experience includes mass transit systems, sports stadiums, high-rise buildings and ports, and he is lauded for his “in-depth knowledge” of procurement strategies and dispute resolution. Mark Roe is Pinsents’ head of international arbitration and focuses the bulk of his work on construction and engineering disputes, with a strong emphasis on the Middle East, Africa and Asia. North of the border in Glasgow, Alastair Morrison assists national and international clients in all aspects of construction projects, from procurement through risk management and dispute resolution, and sources consider him to be a “leading light” in Scotland.

Kian Heong Hew is the head of the firm’s Shanghai office and “a big name in China” according to peers, regularly advising clients on a wide range of major infrastructure and commercial construction projects in the country and overseas. At the same office Ellen Zhang is described as a “great talent”. Beijing office head John Bishop is a “thoughtful leader” whose practice combines construction expertise with technology and natural resources acumen, as well as demonstrating “superb skill” in alternative dispute resolution. Two lawyers earn listings in Pinsents’ Hong Kong office, including head of office Vincent Connor, who focuses on the contentious aspects of construction law and boasts a “great reputation” for adjudication work under security of payment legislation. Dean Lewis is also recommended for his work in construction disputes, but also in non-contentious and advisory matters, and has “sought-after” knowledge of the power, water, engineering and waste sectors. The Singapore office fields an equally strong contingent, with joint office heads Mohan Pillay and Jon Howes both earning acclaim for their arbitration work.

Dubai office head Sachin Kerur is one of three lawyers from the Emirates to represent Pinsents’ in these pages. Sources pointed to his “first-rate” public and private projects work throughout the Gulf and in India, which include transport infrastructure developments, power plants, residential and commercial property developments and resources facilities. Michelle Nelson is a “go-to” lawyer for the representation of employers, consultants and contractors in construction disputes and is “highly accomplished” in Middle East arbitration matters. Bill Smith joined the firm in 2011 and “adds considerable weight” to the Dubai office according to respondents to our survey.


Fielding an eight-strong team of partners from offices in four states, Peckar & Abramson PC justifies its reputation among peers as “the best construction law firm in the US”. Founding partner Robert Peckar is a “hugely prominent” name in New York and nationally for his litigation and ADR work in construction disputes. Fellow founder Richard Abramson is also noted for his contentious work in state and federal courts and international and domestic arbitration tribunals, and supplements his work for construction clients with a strong banking, retail, manufacturing and real estate companies. The “world-class” Steven Charney joins Peckar in New York, while Patrick Greene and Bruce Meller appear alongside Abramson in River Edge, New Jersey. Adrian Bastianelli III represents the firm in Washington DC, and emerges as one of the most highly regarded lawyers in our research overall, with peers praising his expertise in government construction contract claims and disputes as “indispensable” and “market leading”. In Miami, Jerry Brodsky is recognised for his Latin American expertise, both in contentious and non contentious matters, and his project finance, PPP and public procurement work. At the same office, firm-wide vice chair Stephen Reisman is lauded for his contract negotiation and dispute resolution work, encompassing design defect, insurance and surety bond claims.

Jones Day sees five lawyers listed from offices throughout the US, as well as enjoying a listing in China courtesy of the “excellent” Ashley Howlett. One of the most highly regarded practitioners internationally, Andrew Ness represents the Washington, DC office and is recommended for his ADR and litigation work and his expertise in domestic and international government projects and contract issues. New York-based of counsel Susanna Fodor is a member of both the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the American College of Construction Lawyers and she provides clients with “comprehensive” and “highly valued” support in all stages of property development work, encompassing development, transactional matters, restructurings, risk analysis and PPP. A further three listings on the West Coast complete the firm’s impressive performance in this year’s research.

Three lawyers are recognised in Farella Braun + Martel LLP’s San Francisco office, among whom Deborah Ballati is “a must for inclusion” according to sources. Working “at the forefront” of construction litigation in the US, Ballati has represented such clients as the University of California, the Port of Oakland and BAE Systems, and compliments her work in this area with a strong focus on insurance coverage. Of counsel Alan Harris’s disputes experience encompasses commercial and residential property, public infrastructure, waste treatment plants and powerhouses, and sources recommend him for his “superb” work in and out of court. Charles Sink is a former head of the firm’s complex litigation department and a “go-to” lawyer for construction claims and related matters in the energy and insurance fields.

Similarly well represented in Dallas, Canterbury Elder Gooch Surratt Shapiro & Stein PC is also home to one of the most highly regarded practitioners in our research. A former recipient of our construction lawyer of the year award, founder and name partner Joseph Canterbury has been practising law for 45 years and is hailed as a “leading light” in ADR as well as labour and employment matters. Fellow name partners Robert Elder and Kyle Gooch also rank highly: both are hailed as “major players” for their arbitration work.

Both name partners of Chicago’s Stein Ray LLP rank highly in our research, and sources singled Steven Stein our for particular praise for his work in drafting and negotiating design and construction agreements, as well as acting in disputes in and out of court. He is one of the most highly regarded names internationally. Stephen Ray has a “very strong record” of defending and prosecuting construction claims as well as a “nationally prominent” practice in consultation to contractors and designers.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP puts in the strongest performance of any Canadian firm in our research, with six of its lawyers earning recognition. Foremost among these is Toronto’s Bruce Reynolds – one of the best-regarded lawyers internationally – who acts as chair of the firm’s international construction projects group and is lauded both for his disputes work and his drafting and negotiation of construction contracts. Also listed in Toronto, Richard Shaban is renowned for his work in construction contracts, disputes, liens, insurance and surety bonds, as well as public infrastructure and project delivery. The Montreal office is equally well thought of: Daniel Ayotte and regional head of the construction, engineering, surety and fidelity group as well as the international trade and arbitration team Simon Grégoire are both “big names” in ADR. Christopher O’Connor QC and Jeffrey Vallis QC complete the firm’s impressive showing with listings in Vancouver and Calgary respectively.

The “superbly talented” Julio Cesar Bueno is the leading construction lawyer in Latin America and one of the most highly regarded lawyers internationally according to this year’s research. A partner in Pinheiro Neto Advogados in São Paulo, Bueno’s practice encompasses all aspects of construction work, as well as internationally renowned expertise in project finance, public procurement and product liability work.


Clayton Utz fields six lawyers from offices in Hong Kong and Australia. From the Sydney office, Doug Jones AM emerges as the most highly regarded lawyer internationally in this year’s research, with peers hailing him variously as a “formidable talent” and a “thorough leader”. Jones’s client list includes such entities as Brisbane City Council, Queensland Government, the Australian Roads and Traffic Authority, Railcorp, and the concessionaire on the Taiwan High Speed Rail Project, which he advises on all aspects of project structuring and implementation, contract drafting and dispute resolution. At the same office, Sergio Capelli comes “highly recommended” for his contracting and procurement work on behalf of contractors and subcontractors, financiers and consultants in the commercial property, infrastructure, resources and defence sectors. Also noted for his non-contentious work is Brisbane’s Arch Fletcher, whose recent engagements include acting for a consortium in relation to the Gateway Upgrade Project in Brisbane and the Tugan Bypass project. Andrew Stephenson is noted for his disputes work, and heads the construction group and the international arbitration group in the Melbourne office. Glenn Haley counts infrastructure projects surrounding the development of Chek Lap Kok Airport and the establishment of Hong Kong Disneyland among his recent engagements, and he represents the Hog Kong office alongside arbitration “expert” Colin Dodd.


Barristers represent a growing contingent in our English listings. This year we feature 21 barristers from a number of different London chambers, with Humphrey Lloyd QC of Atkin Chambers emerging as one of the most highly regarded practitioners internationally in this edition. A former judge with the Technology and Construction Court of London, Lloyd’s career spans five decades and has seen him act as arbitrator and mediator in numerous disputes relating variously to public contracts and projects, energy infrastructure, and negligence claims among many other areas. A further six QCs who keep chambers in the same building are recognised, including the “outstanding” Andrew White QC, who focuses his practice on civil engineering and building disputes before all levels of the English judiciary and at numerous international arbitration forums. Another “first-class” name is David Streatfeild-James QC, who is known for his complex litigation and arbitration on behalf of public and private entities covering the fields of energy and technology alongside his “highly regarded” construction work

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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