Arbitration and Mediation / ADR

Arbitration and Mediation / ADR


In today’s construction environment, cost and schedule drive many of the decisions made by owners, design professionals and contractors. In tackling construction disputes with an eye on avoiding high litigation costs, our Construction Law Group embraces solutions outside the traditional court system that provide our clients with economic and time benefits. We often recommend arbitration, mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) as the best way to meet our clients’ business needs and obligations.

Successful Strategies to Avoid Litigation

Our attorneys have developed a unique method of working with clients facing disputes that might lead to litigation. From the outset, the contracts developed by our attorneys include the necessary language to allow clients to seek avenues other than traditional litigation. Whether it be in the trailers or in the boardroom, our attorneys remain actively engaged with our clients’ executives, managers and field staff throughout the different phases of a project, allowing us to address problems as they arise. This real-time process provides the client and our attorneys with a comprehensive background of the issue, allowing the parties to use ADR to resolve disputes as they happen. This is a cost-effective tool that often results in a substantial savings, as back-end litigation costs are avoided and the project schedule can remain on time.

Our “boots on the ground” approach of involving our lawyers with our clients’ projects from the outset also allows us to offer these real-time ADR solutions as a viable legal and business tool. We work with our clients to develop the proper course of action based on the importance of the matter, the economics of litigation versus using ADR, and the probability of the outcome.

Decades of Experience Resolving Disputes

We draw from our wealth of experience in using real-time mediations and other forms of ADR to best serve clients’ business needs. The Construction Law Group engages in 15 to 20 mediations/ADRs annually as a part of their project controls services and related practices, principally dealing with issues long before they reach litigation. Plus, as a result of more than two decades of actively using nontraditional methods to resolve claims, we have developed strong relationships with a number of the top mediators in the country. This allows us to deftly mediate highly-complex matters that can have a significant impact on the client’s bottom line.

Our arbitration, mediation and ADR experience includes representing an extensive collection of owners, design professionals, governmental agencies and specialty contractors in numerous types of disputes. Over the past 30 years, our attorneys have mediated, arbitrated or used other methods of ADR on issues as diverse as:

  • Schedule delay
  • Cost control issues and cost overruns
  • Disruption and loss of efficiency claims
  • Breach of contract for performance, scope of work and payment issues
  • Design and construction defect claims
  • Warranty and post-project claims
  • Insurance coverage
  • Indemnification claims
  • Environmental claims/violations
  • Utility industry technology issues
  • Unforeseen conditions
  • Personal injury and property damage
  • Building failure and collapse
  • Curtain wall and building envelope problems
  • HVAC claims
  • Construction intellectual property claims


Our attorneys lecture on ADR at Northwestern University’s School of Civil Engineering, the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Graduate School of Architecture, and Loyola Law School. The Schiff Hardin Construction Law Group was recently selected following a nationwide selection process to represent the City of Kansas City in a multimillion dollar construction dispute using ADR to resolve the claims.