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Robert S Peckar
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Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Construction

Robert S Peckar, a founder of Peckar & Abramson, has served the construction industry and the construction bar throughout his career representing contractors around the world. He is highly regarded for his legal acumen, his energetic representation and his creative approach to solving his clients’ problems. Mr Peckar was among the pioneers of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques in the construction industry. Mr Peckar is a graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School.

What first motivated you to become a construction lawyer?

My father was a professional engineer responsible for building major buildings and I grew up watching him successfully deal with the problems that typically face contractors. I also watched his interaction with his construction lawyers. When I decided to practise law, it was a “no-brainer” that I would be a construction lawyer as well.

What are the most significant issues facing construction lawyers right now?

Those issues fall into two categories: the first, challenges faced by their clients; and the second, challenges faced by the lawyers! Clients are challenged by the emphasis on regulations and laws never considered terribly important in decades past, including corporate compliance, the criminalisation of conduct formerly limited to civil remedies including among others fraud, false claims and serious accidents. Lawyers are challenged by the speed of information transmission and the expected speed of responsive legal counsel, the quest of clients for alternative fee arrangements and client billing programmes that require significant effort.

What are the best methods of tackling corruption in the construction industry?

A strong compliance programme designed to respond to the real risks of corrupt activities comprised of a strong policy supported by the highest management, regular training, compliance auditing (practices and financial) and a zero-tolerance policy.

How do you and the firm distinguish yourselves from the competition in the industry?

We are fortunate to practise in a field with many fine lawyers. At P&A we believe our differentiator is our almost 40 years of successful representation of our clients based upon a deep understanding of their business coupled with our creative approach to helping them solve their problems short of litigation – and then winning when arbitration and litigation are required.

What role do you think ADR methods can play in resolving construction disputes?

ADR works! That is already proven. The key is selecting the appropriate ADR method, finding the best qualified facilitators and demanding that all parties engage in good faith with the representatives with resolution authority present.

What collaborative role do public and private bodies have to play in construction matters? What is the nexus of power when it comes to construction projects currently?

The presence of a collaborative project owner and other reasonable team members provides the best chance for a successful project that does not require contentious proceedings.

Is there a recent piece of legislation that you feel has significantly aided the environmental sustainability of the construction industry?

Existing environmental laws and regulations in the US have certainly made things better, but there is room for improvement.

What in your career do you feel you have not yet achieved, but would like to?

I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by great partners and associates who have allowed me to achieve most of my goals.


Who's Who Legal Construction: Lawyers

Robert S Peckar is the founding partner of Peckar & Abramson and a recognised leader of the construction bar. Having spent the first half of his career successfully litigating complex construction cases, he has since concentrated his efforts in guiding clients to the resolution of complex project disputes through creative solutions, including the use of ADR processes of which he is one of the leading advocates. In recent years, Mr Peckar has dedicated a significant portion of his practice to issues confronting complex international construction projects, including counseling global clients on policies and practices to combat corruption and operate in accordance with domestic and international corporate integrity laws.

Mr Peckar has devoted his career to serving the construction industry and bar. He regularly makes presentations to major industry and bar groups domestically and internationally. He has served as general counsel to major construction industry organisations, and is a fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers where he presently serves as chair of the international law committee. Mr Peckar has written many articles on construction law, mediation of global arbitration disputes and corporate integrity issues. He is the contributing author of several construction law textbooks.

Mr Peckar's prominence in construction law has led to glowing praise from clients and colleagues alike. Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business has stated he is “undoubtedly one of the sector's super-lawyers”, “super-intelligent, creative and business-oriented”, and on “everyone's shortlist” for dispute resolution. Mr Peckar has been named as the leading construction lawyer in the world by Who's Who Legal from 2006 to 2014.

Mr Peckar graduated from Rutgers College and Columbia Law School.

WWL says: Robert Peckar is known to be “a very well-respected” and “a really key member of the construction market”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Construction which can be purchased from our Shop.

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