Construction 2017: Analysis

785 practitioners from 399 firms are identified as the leading practitioners active in construction law worldwide. They handle a range of matters, from contentious disputes requiring resolution in national courts or international arbitration, to contractual and regulatory issues requiring specialist expertise. The leading practitioners in each region are highlighted in turn below.


Thought Leaders
1. Rupert Choat Atkin Chambers, London
2. Roger ter Haar QC Crown Office Chambers, London
3. Phillip Capper White & Case, London
4. Christopher Seppälä White & Case, Paris
5. Claus Lenz LST Lenz Schuhmacher Tap Rechtsanwälte, Cologne

KEATING CHAMBERS earns an impressive 24 listings in the UK, which is more than any other institution earns in a single jurisdiction in our research.
Robert Gaitskell has a reputation for being “thoroughly conscientious and very pleasant to work with”. Clients say they can “definitely recommend” him for his international alternative disputes resolution practice, which includes handling complex arbitrations, mediations, adjudications and litigation, with particular experience pertaining to the oil and gas power station, and distribution matters.
Richard Fernyhough QC is a leading construction arbitrator who secures nominations from as far afield as the USA, Australia and the UAE.
Marcus Taverner QC has been described by sources as “perhaps the best all-round barrister at the construction Bar today”, with a broad practice encompassing all manner of litigation and arbitration matters in the area. He is highlighted as “brilliant on his feet and on paper”.
John Marrin QC stands out in our research as “one of the best arbitrators” there is and “an excellent tribunal chair”.
The “fantastic” Richard Harding QC impresses with his “sharp mind”. He counts governments, contractors, private employers and other professionals among his impressive construction clientele.
Clients say Adam Constable QC is “always a pleasure to work with" and “one of the top silks in his set”. He receives praise for his “impressive attention to detail” and for being “amazing in cross-examination”.
Rosemary Jackson QC is known in the market for being “a thoroughly excellent” construction mediator. She is described as a “rare talent who has the simultaneous ability to understand the detail of complex cases while at the same time thinking strategically about the big issues”.
Paul Darling OBE QC is described as “super intelligent and charming”. When handling difficult cases “there is no one better at turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse”.
Simon Hargreaves QC is known to be “a very good operator” and sources “can’t speak highly enough” of him in construction disputes.
Clients praise John Uff CBE QC as being “one of the top practitioners in this industry”.  He focuses on major international arbitrations in the construction sector.
Stephen Furst QC is “technically brilliant” with experience handling cases involving projects relating to pipelines, tunnelling, power stations and oil rigs, among other matters.
Simon Hughes QC has “extensive experience” in disputes relating to international power plants and major infrastructure projects across the Far East, and the Asia-Pacific region.

ATKIN CHAMBERS follows behind with 13 listings in this chapter, demonstrating the breadth and depth of specialism available in this set.
Rupert Choat wins praise from clients for being “charming and talented”. He is known to be “an exceptional talent”, impressing with his “wide-ranging experience” gained from having acted on disputes in over 40 countries.
Humphrey Lloyd QC is regarded as “a dean among international arbitrators”, and “a real heavyweight” specialising in construction and building law.
Douglas Jones AO splits his time between the UK and Australia and is mentioned in the Australia editorial below.
Clients describe David Streatfeild-James QC as a “very impressive lawyer” who has “lots of experience and is a strategic thinker”. His practice includes major clients involved in infrastructure projects worldwide.
Head of Chambers Andrew White QC specialises in international and domestic civil engineering and construction disputes. He is described as “particularly easy to work with” by clients, who include major contractors, manufacturers and governments, among others.
Nicholas Dennys QC is “highly recommended” by sources who note him as “very good indeed”. Sources particularly highlight his skill as an arbitrator.
Manus McMullan QC wins praise from clients as “probably the best cross-examiner I have ever encountered”. His broad commercial practice includes a wide variety of construction disputes.
Stephen Dennison QC has a comprehensive construction practice that sees him act as an advocate, expert and adjudicator, thanks to his superb experience in the field.

PINSENT MASONS boasts 11 impressive practitioners in both England and Scotland who are recognised for their expert practices in the construction field.
In the firm’s London office Mark Roe is a senior figure in the practice who specialises in international arbitration relating to construction and engineering matters, with particular experience in dispute resolution across Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Melanie Grimmitt is described as “a fine lawyer with intellectual strength, experience and knowledge”. Clients say they choose her because she has the “energy and enthusiasm we require to deliver large and complex projects”.
Richard Laudy is known to be a “top lawyer” and stands out in our research for his practice specialising in advisory work and procurement strategies relating to the construction and engineering industries.
In Scotland, Colin Fraser impresses clients and peers with his specialist dispute resolution practice. His major clients include contractors, subcontractors, professionals and insurers.
Kenny Valentine is described as “the go-to man in Scotland" for clients. They “particularly rate him” for being “highly knowledgeable and thorough” in his advice on complex matters.
Clients recommend Fraser McMillan for his “very high-quality and measured commercial advice taking full account of the risk profile of the matter”. McMillan is the firm’s head of construction and has deep experience in the area.
Brandon Nolan is a strong practitioner who advises on all areas of construction law including disputes, consultancy, contract drafting and advisory work across the engineering and construction sectors.

HOGAN LOVELLS impresses in the market, with four outstanding European practitioners identified by our research.
Tony Marshall has over 30 years of wide-ranging experience advising clients on matters relating to the procurement of construction and infrastructure projects. He is highly rated by peers around the world.
Roberta Downey is known in the industry for her “superb expertise” in large international construction disputes as well as her excellent capability at advising clients on non-contentious matters.

FENWICK ELLIOTT performs well in our research, with six lawyers listed.
Nicholas Gould is “extremely well known” and is an “excellent construction lawyer” whose practice covers the gamut of contentious and non-contentious work.
Simon Tolson is highlighted by sources as “consistently one of the top construction disputes lawyers around”, handling some of the most complex arbitrations and litigation in the UK and worldwide. 

From WHITE & CASE, five excellent lawyers are included in our listings.
Phillip Capper is known to be “an amazing advocate”. He is “highly regarded in his field” and is a “really pre-eminent construction lawyer”, according to impressed sources. He is highly experienced in construction issues arising from major infrastructure projects.
The highly experienced Ellis Baker is also regarded as a leading figure in the market by various sources who say he “quite literally wrote the book on FIDIC!”
Christopher Seppälä in Paris is a thought leader in this area and is widely regarded as “one of the top 10 construction lawyers in the market”. He is particularly well known for his FIDIC contracts expertise.

At LST LENZ SCHUHMACHER TAP RECHTSANWÄLTE, Claus Lenz gains nominations from a vast array of commentators who highlight him as “a real player in the region”.

Roger ter Haar QC at CROWN OFFICE CHAMBERS is "a stalwart of the construction Bar” as well as being “universally liked and admired". Sources say he “should be included on the list until the day he stops practising law” as he is “one of the very best in the industry”. 

Marc Frilet at his own firm “works on a different level” according to sources, who highlight him as “very knowledgeable and with an international outlook on big-picture infrastructure matters”.

Edward Corbett at CORBETT & CO INTERNATIONAL CONSTRUCTION LAWYERS is “definitely a leading figure in this area”, according to interviewees. His expertise in FIDIC matters marks him out as a top lawyer in Europe.

John Wright at GOODMAN DERRICK has “a great reputation in the global construction Bar” as “a go-to arbitrator for difficult cases” and a lawyer who is “able to synthesise a significant amount of data efficiently while being polite and no-nonsense”. 

Shona Frame at CMS CAMERON MCKENNA is identified by our research as the leading construction lawyer in Scotland. Interviewees note her as “tenacious and thorough” with a “highly visible practice”.

In Switzerland, Michael Schneider at LALIVE is one of the most prominent practitioners. One peer says: “You don’t need me to endorse him – everyone does!”

Also at the firm is Matthias Scherer, who is “extremely knowledgeable and well-respected”, according to a range of commentators.

Mauro Rubino-Sammartano at LAWFED BRSA in Italy is highlighted as “an outstanding practitioner” with near-unrivalled experience in the Italian market.

Middle East

Thought Leaders
1. Erin Miller Rankin Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dubai
2. Mark Blanksby Clyde & Co, Dubai
3. Michael Grose Clyde & Co, Dubai
4. Craig Shepherd Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Dubai
5. Peter Shaw Dentons, Dubai

 The Middle East remains an extremely strong market for construction work and some of our highest-rated practitioners are listed here.

CLYDE & CO is home to a superb team in the Middle East. 
Mark Blanksby is a “top name” who “everyone in the market knows”. He advises the full range of clients, including contractors and supplies on complex construction projects across the region.
Michael Grose is an “obvious inclusion” who sources say is “to be commended for his recent work on construction in the UAE”. Hs is known for his contract-related work with standout expertise in the FIDIC suite.

PINSENT MASONS is home to six excellent construction practitioners in the United Arab Emirates.
The “excellent” Michelle Nelson is “definitely rated” by peers across the world. She is particularly well regarded for her representation of contractors.
Mark Raymont wins praise for his wide-ranging experience gained from 35 years of practice. He advises a broad variety of clients with regards to their international projects.
Sachin Kerur has a reputation for being “a major regional player”, and is particularly recommended by sources for his “sound local industry knowledge”.  

They are joined in Dubai by Nabeel Ikram at HOGAN LOVELLS who is a “very impressive practitioner”. Sources say “he is not to be underestimated” and praise him for being “audacious and dogged in his approach to matters”. 

Craig Shepherd at HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS “really knows what he’s doing” in construction disputes and possesses standout expertise in arbitration matters.

At DENTONS, senior consultant Peter Shaw is a “true regional heavyweight who would count in the cadre of the top 10 very best construction lawyers around”.

Erin Miller Rankin at FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER is our leading construction practitioner in the region. She has a well-deserved reputation as a “doughty fighter” who has “great assertiveness and experience in Middle Eastern matters”.

The “absolutely excellent” Thomas Wilson at SQUIRE PATTON BOGGS (MEA) heads the firm’s Middle Eastern offering and is “one of the most likeable and well thought-of construction lawyers in the UAE today”.

North America

Thought Leaders
1. John Heisse Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, San Francisco
2. Adrian Bastianelli III Peckar & Abramson, Washington, DC
3. R Bruce Reynolds Borden Ladner Gervais, Toronto
4. Deborah S Ballati Farella Braun + Martel, San Francisco
5. Robert Peckar Peckar & Ambramson, New York
6. Andrew Ness Jones Day, Washington
7. Douglas Oles Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker, Seattle
8. John B Tieder Watt Tieder Hoffar & Fitzgerald, McLean
9. Charles M Sink Farella Braun + Martel, San Francisco
10. Alan E Harris Farella Braun + Martel, San Francisco

North America remains the leading region for construction matters, with over half of the top 100 lawyers listed in our research practising in either the USA or Canada.

PECKAR & ABRAMSON leads the way in our research in this region with 17 “exceptionally gifted practitioners” recognised by our research.
Adrian Bastianelli III is described as an “excellent lawyer” and “at the top of everyone’s list”. His practice includes a specific focus on construction litigation relating to government construction contracts, and he also has a “very dynamic alternative disputes practice”.
Robert Peckar is known to be “very well respected” and “a really key member of the construction market”.  He has an impressive and long-standing practice representing contractors across the world.
Firm chairman Steven Charney continues to stand out as one of the leading practitioners in the US for construction matters. He has exceptional experience in the full range of construction disputes conducted in courts and arbitrations.
Michael Branca is “an excellent lawyer” in the construction and government contracts fields who comes especially recommended by clients for his “outstanding work on big power plant cases”.
Jeffrey Ford has a reputation for being “one of the best in the business”. Sources are quick to highlight his “great knowledge of the construction industry” and the quality of “the great counsel” he provides clients.
Jerry Brodsky is also on the firm’s excellent roster of attorneys. He has wide-ranging experience advising and representing clients across Latin America and the Caribbean in relation to large industrial and infrastructure construction projects.
Richard Abramson is an extremely well-known figure in the construction market who handles an array of major cases in the area.

BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS leads the field among Canadian firms and is home to an impressive nine practitioners.
The “very cerebral” Bruce Reynolds is “one of the first people that comes to mind for any dispute in Canada”, with sources highlighting him as a “distinguished advocate and an experienced arbitrator”. He continues to be regarded as one of the foremost construction practitioners in the world.
Sharon Vogel heads the firm’s Canadian construction practice, handling major infrastructure project-related disputes. She receives praise for being a “strong and dependable lawyer” in the area.
The “brilliant” Daniel Ayotte is a “leader in Quebec” who represents contractors, insurers and multinational corporations. His broad-based disputes practice includes deep experience acting in construction-related matters.
Christopher O’Connor QC has an emphasis in his practice on international and domestic construction disputes, and is regarded as “a very senior and well-regarded disputes counsel in Vancouver”.

PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN garners an excellent six listings in the US in this edition.
The “excellent” John Heisse is a “really superior lawyer” who is identified by our research as a thought leader and one of the very best construction lawyers worldwide. He has exceptional expertise representing a wide range of clients including international and domestic owners, developers, builders and designers.
Robert Thum stands out in our research as a “really highly regarded guy” who possesses exceptional experience in all matters relating to engineering and construction.
David Dekker is known as “Mr construction insurance” among peers, for his expertise relating to complex and intricate insurance matters within the construction industry.

WATT TIEDER HOFFAR & FITZGERALD also scores highly in this edition, with eight practitioners listed, including the outstanding John Tieder who is “excellent with clients, reasonable and thorough” and “knows construction law inside and out”.
Shelly Ewald is also highlighted for her “great work in federal government contracts and bid protest matters”, while Lewis Baker is “an excellent lawyer for big construction projects”.

FARELLA BRAUN + MARTEL’s construction team packs a real punch, with all three of its listed lawyers considered thought leaders for North America in our research.
Deborah Ballati is a consensus pick as “one of the best construction lawyers in the US” with sources from all corners of the country highlighting her standout expertise as a litigator on major construction delay and defect cases.
Of counsel Charles Sink continues to be highly rated by the market for his skill and experience in construction matters, including disputes involving the energy sector.
Alan Harris is also extremely well known for his construction work and offers clients over 30 years of experience in the area. In addition to his role as a litigator, he is also an extremely accomplished mediator.

At JONES DAY, Andrew Ness is known in the construction market as “outstanding and probably one of the leading lawyers in the country. Clients choose him because his “depth of experience is second to none” and highlight him as a “low-key, methodical and really good attorney”.

Interviewees have “a great deal of respect” for Mabry Rogers at BRADLEY ARANT BOULT CUMMINGS. He handles a wide array of construction matters, with particular expertise in energy-related projects in the solar, and oil and gas industries.

Duncan Glaholt at GLAHOLT in Canada is “a top-notch litigation and arbitration counsel who is one of the best at what he does”. Sources say: “Duncan is widely respected and very experienced in handling disputes.”

Douglas Oles at OLES MORRISON RINKER & BAKER is described as “the go-to lawyer in Washington state” and “a genius when it comes to construction” by prominent peers in the market. He has over 25 years of experience handling complex matters in the area and is also well known for his role as mediator and arbitrator in construction disputes.

Rest of the World

Thought Leaders
1. Douglas Jones Independent Arbitrator, Sydney
2. Júlio César Bueno Pinheiro Neto Advogados, São Paulo
3. Andrew Stephenson Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Melbourne
4. Peter Pether King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney
5. Mohan Pillay Pinsent Masons Mpillay, Singapore

 PINSENT MASONS continues to be regarded as one of the leading construction firms worldwide, with exceptional international coverage.
In the firm’s China office, Kian Heong Hew is recommended for “understanding contractors’ commercial needs and providing practical solutions on tough issues”. Sources are impressed by “his strong grasp of the legal, technical and regulatory requirements of the construction industry”, also noting him as “a bright star in the area”.
In the firm’s Hong Kong office Dean Lewis is “very impressive” and “one of the smartest lawyers I’ve come across in the industry”, according to one commentator who also describes him as “razor-sharp and very quick”.
Mohan Pillay in the Singapore office (Pinsent Masons MPillay) has over 30 years’ experience in the area and is known to offer “really hands-on and pragmatic advice.” Clients particularly value his “in-depth knowledge of the law, combined with being very commercially minded”.

Timothy Hill at HOGAN LOVELLS in Hong Kong heads the firm’s Asian construction practice and is recommended by a plethora of sources for his standout expertise in the area. 

HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS has an excellent reputation for its construction practice globally.
In the firm’s Australian office, the “excellent” Hamish Macpherson is described by clients as “a name I would always pick as a construction expert” for his “really strong disputes practice”.
Emma Kratochvilova in the firm’s Japan office handles “a large number of big cases in the construction sector” while in Singapore, Alastair Henderson has a reputation among clients and peers for being “extremely well versed in dispute work and with a broad knowledge of the construction market”.

Júlio César Bueno of PINHEIRO NETO ADVOGADOS is an “acknowledged master of construction law”. Sources comment: “His international experience is much appreciated and recognised. He understands the construction industry in Brazil and can easily find solutions for its gaps and challenges.”

Roberto Hernandez of COMAD is the most highly regarded individual in the Mexican research and stands out as “extremely well known and internationally respected” for his work in this sector. 

DENTONS RODYK is home to the “much sought after” Philip Jeyaretnam SC in Singapore, is “highly respected for arbitration matters in the construction arena”. 

Neil Kaplan at his own firm in Hong Kong is described as "one of the pre-eminent figures in the construction industry”. He is particularly known for his outstanding experience and skill as an arbitrator.  

Independent arbitrator Douglas Jones AO is described as “one of the best construction lawyers and arbitrators in the world”. Sources praise him for being “unbelievably efficient” and for his ability to “handle the most acrimonious of disputes”. 

Andrew Stephenson at CORRS CHAMBERS WESTGARTH is one of the leading Australian lawyers in our research. He is “an acknowledged leader in the field” and a “really exceptional disputes lawyer.”

The “top-notch” Peter Pether at KING & WOOD MALLESONS in Australia handles an array of contentious construction matters. Interviewees describe him as a “formidable litigator and tactician who is astute to all the avenues to resolve differences and preserve corporate relationships”.

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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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