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Building Better Construction Contracts 2013

Speaker(s): A.J. Manion, Alison A. Grounds, David J. Hatem, PC, David Mockbee, Jennifer W. Fletcher, L. Tyrone Holt, Patrick J. O'Connor, Jr., Robyn Baker, Stanley P. Sklar, Steven L. Wilner
Recorded on: Sep. 25, 2013
PLI Program #: 42671

PATRICK J. O’CONNOR, JR.  Partner with the international law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP in its Minneapolis, Minnesota office.  He received his B.A. degree from Hamline University in 1975 and his JD degree from The American University in 1981.  He was law clerk to Miles W. Lord, Chief Judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota.  Mr. O’Connor’s practice focuses on construction, suretyship and insurance.  He has served as litigation or coverage counsel for contractors, owners, design professionals, and product suppliers in disputes venued in over 25 states and Canada.  He also acts as a mediator, arbitrator and expert witness in construction and insurance disputes.  Mr. O’Connor is co-author of Bruner & O’Connor on Construction Law (West Group 2002), a twelve-volume construction law treatise.  He was an adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Third, Suretyship and Guaranty.  He works closely with a number of industry organizations on Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery initiatives.  Mr. O’Connor currently is Co-Chair of the BIMForum’s Legal Subforum.  Since 2007, Mr. O’Connor has counseled the AIA’s Documents Committee in connection with numerous contract forms.  Mr. O’Connor has held LEED AP (New Construction) certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.  He is a Fellow, former member of the Executive Committee, and Past-President of the American College of Construction Lawyers.  Mr. O’Connor is also a former member of the Governing Committee for the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry.  Mr. O’Connor is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” “International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers,” and “Minnesota Super Lawyers.”  (Contact Pat O’Connor at 612-766-7413 or email at

Steven L. Wilner is a partner in Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s New York office. Steven’s practice focuses on financial, corporate and real estate matters, ranging from global real estate acquisitions, dispositions, development and finance to international mergers and acquisitions and restructurings, including private equity investments and joint ventures.

Steven has been recognized by numerous guides and publications as a leading practitioner in global Real Estate law, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America. Steven was named a “Most Valuable Practitioner” in Real Estate by Law360, and was recently inducted into the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Steven is a frequent speaker on all aspects of Real Estate transactions and law, and participates in PLI’s ongoing “Bridge-the-Gap” series, which aims to teach young attorneys the essential skills for success in the business and practice of law.

Steven joined the firm in 1988 and became a partner in 1997. He spent 2001­2005 as the managing partner of the firm’s former Tokyo office.

B.A. 1971 (summa cum laude), Morehouse College; J.D. 1974, Stanford University; M. Theology, 1997 Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy; Member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, Delta of Georgia Chapter (1971).  Ty has over forty years of experience as a construction and commerical trial lawyer, public finance lawyer, construction transaction attorney, project development and deal structuring attorney.  He also has more than thirty-five  years of experience as a construction mediator and arbitrator.  Ty is listed in the “Red Book” of public finance professionals.  He currently serves as Co-bond Counsel for the City & County of Denver, Colorado and Co-underwriters’ Counsel Park Creek Metropolitan District, Denver, Colorado.

Ty served as the President of the College of Commercial Arbitrators from 2013 to 2014.  He served as a member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry from 2007 to 2010, and was the Chair of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry’s Special Projects and Education Committee (SPEC) from 2009 to 2011.  He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Stanford Law School; a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Arbitration Master Panel.  Certified Mediator, International Mediation Institute, [5 star rating review from AAA-ICDR - August 2019].

He currently serves as a Chair or Panel Member of two large, complex construction arbitration panels; and as the single arbitrator in several construction disputes.  Ty mediates approximatley 30-40 constuction disputes a year typically ranging in size from $500,000 to over $20,000,000.

Ty serves as a client advocate in a number of design and/or construction disputes in courts and before arbitration tribunals in various jurisdications throughout the United States.  He is actively engaged in the structuring, negotiating and documenting of design, construction and design-build contract relationships in the construction industry throughout the United States.

With a practical, efficiency-obsessed approach, Alison assists clients in all discovery-related aspects of litigation, internal and governmental investigations, subpoena response, and due diligence, as well as proactive litigation readiness. Clients across varied industries rely on Alison’s litigation experience and technology prowess to develop and manage the overall strategy and to advocate on their behalf during discovery conferences, meet and confers and hearings. She regularly handles discovery disputes across the country to ensure the compliance and responsiveness of her clients’ adversaries and takes and defends eDiscovery-related depositions in support of her clients.

Alison is the founder and managing director of eMerge, a wholly owned subsidiary of the firm, which provides end-to-end, integrated discovery services for legal matters. eMerge’s attorneys and technologists combine legal strategy with the latest technology to manage data, reduce costs, and identify facts needed to resolve disputes. Their novel approach effectively addresses two common causes of unanticipated costs and risks: disconnected stakeholders and processes. The technologies used regularly include artificial intelligence, technology assisted review, continuous active learning, predictive coding, analytics, email threading, data visualization and custom applications. eMerge also creates bespoke staffing, technological and project management solutions to ensure clients’ goals are achieved.

Clients rely on Alison for proactive litigation readiness, including the development of repeatable and defensible litigation response plans before litigation arises. She is known for developing effective plans for the preservation, collection, analysis, and production of electronically stored information (ESI) that keep the costs and burdens of discovery proportionate to the unique circumstances and needs of each case or matter.

Alison is an authority on eDiscovery law. She is an adjunct professor of eDiscovery and Legal Technology at Emory University School of Law and a frequent speaker and author on eDiscovery issues.


  • University of North Carolina (J.D., with honors, 2001)
  • Loyola University (B.A., summa cum laude, 1997)

Awards and Recognition

  • Nationwide, Litigation: E-Discovery, Chambers USA (2017-2018)
  • Selected as Georgia Super Lawyer (2015 - 2017)
  • Selected as a Rising Star in General Litigation by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2009-2014)
  • Inaugural Recipient of the Monica Bay STEM Leadership Award (2015)
  • Selected as ILTA’s Technology Advocacy Professional of the Year (2013)
  • Named to the Fulton County Daily Report's 2013 "On the Rise" list for top attorneys in Georgia under the age of 40
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America


David J. Hatem is a partner in the Boston-based law firm Donovan Hatem LLP. Nationally recognized for his expertise in representing engineers, architects and construction management professionals, David leads the firm’s Professional Practices Group which serves design professionals. David has been practicing law for approximately 40 years and has served as ACEC/MA Counsel since 1988. In recognition of his extraordinary career dedicated to the engineering sector, David received the Engineering Center Education Trust 2016 “Leadership in Professional Practice Legal Services” award and the 2008 ACEC Distinguished Service Award. David teaches Legal Aspects of Engineering at Tufts University and Legal Aspects of Civil Engineering at Northeastern University Graduate School of Engineering. He has authored and edited numerous articles and publications in his field of expertise, including the second edition of Public-Private Partnerships and Design-Build: Opportunities and Risks for Consulting Engineers, Subsurface Conditions: Risk Management for Design and Construction Management Professionals, Design-Build Subsurface Projects, and Megaprojects: Challenges and Recommended Practices.

Stanley P. Sklar, Esq. is a principal of Dispute Resolution Services where he deals with alternative dispute resolution methods regarding complex commercial and construction disputes. He has presented Webinars for  American Arbitration Association on various topics relating to commercial arbitration. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association Panel for Large Complex Construction and Commercial disputes. As a past President of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, he had participated in its award winning “Protocols for Efficient and Cost Effective Commercial Arbitration.” Mr. Sklar is also a past President of the American College of Construction Lawyers, the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys and a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. He is adjunct Professor at DePaul University, College of Law where he teaches commercial arbitration.