Mr Brodsky was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and is a partner, director of the Latin American practice group and co-chair of the international dispute resolution practice group at Peckar & Abramson. He received his Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Lehigh University and his law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Miami. Mr Brodsky represents contractors, construction managers and sureties throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, in the preparation, negotiation and resolution of disputes involving design and construction contracts.
What do you enjoy most about working in the construction sector?
The most enjoyable aspect of working in the construction sector is helping clients face and overcome the wide range of challenges that arise during the life cycle of complex design and construction projects.
How has the field of construction changed since you first began your career?
Among the many changes in the field of construction over the past 27 years, the most remarkable to me has been the transfer of know-how, technology and experience among countries in the Americas, and the resulting increased integration and teamwork among project participants from different countries in the region.
You have an engineering background and an international profile. How does this enable you to provide added value when servicing clients?
My engineering background helps me to better understand technical issues affecting construction projects, and to use legal principles and strategies to address technical issues, working with clients and technical consultants. Beyond being able to work with clients and consultants in three languages, having a deep and nuanced understanding of different cultures allows me to better understand and interact with clients, consultants and even opponents, and to bridge business/cultural gaps as part of dispute avoidance and resolution strategies.
What qualities make a successful construction lawyer in today’s environment?
I believe construction lawyers must: a) know the laws and legal principles that govern and apply to the issues and challenges on which they are hired to counsel their clients; b) possess excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and c) have the judgement, formed by knowledge and experience, and the communication skills required to effectively help clients frame and achieve their business goals and strategies.
How has the massive wave of corruption prosecutions in the construction sector impacted the business strategy of your clients?
The biggest impact by far, has been the realisation that “what happens in Latin America does not stay in Latin America” – and that corruption issues can have far-reaching and devastating consequences. Therefore, for some clients, this has resulted in withdrawal from certain markets. For most clients, the biggest impact has been to emphasise, at every level of the company, a renewed focus on compliance, understanding and avoiding corrupt practices, particularly those that are considered locally acceptable and customary.
As the firm’s practice leader for Latin America, how do you seek to integrate the expertise of parties based in different locations for the benefit of construction projects?
Large construction and infrastructure projects in developing parts of the world invariably require that companies from different parts of the world team up and combine their resources, skills and experience. These teams often include people from different countries, who speak different languages and have different business cultures. Providing counsel and guidance to these teams in order to overcome cultural differences is and has been an important part of my role and experience.
Looking back over your career, what is the most memorable case you have worked on?
Without a doubt it was representing the surety during the disputes that arose on the project for the expansion of the Panama Canal. Beyond its magnitude and global impact, that project involved project participants from many different countries and cultures and significantly deteriorated conditions and relationships by the time the surety became involved, all of which created significant challenges for all parties involved, and their counsellors, to reach an agreement that allowed for the completion of the project. It was also the only project I have been involved in where there was paparazzi.
What advice would you give younger practitioners hoping to be in your position one day?
First, master your legal skills and substantive knowledge. Then, recognise and use your skills, background, personality and experience to counsel and help your clients solve and overcome the challenges they face on their projects.