A founding partner of the Schiff Hardin Construction Law practice group, Mark Friedlander has been at the forefront of construction and design law for more than thirty years. He has been voted by his peers to be the number one construction lawyer in the Chicago area by Leading Lawyers Network of Illinois, an affiliate of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. He is widely recognized as one of the country's leading pioneers in innovative project delivery structures and is one of the profession’s most accomplished and prolific speakers and writers on various construction law topics.

When it comes to resolving legal issues and problems for clients that include virtually all participants in the construction industry, Mark takes a practical and direct approach. His clients laud him for his efficient and cost-effective work, knowing he has the experience and knowledge to achieve their objectives by focusing on the critical issues in negotiations or disputes.

  • Experience

    Over the last ten years, Mark has focused a significant portion of his practice on alternative project delivery methods, particularly design-build and related turnkey-type structures like integrated project delivery. Mark is one of the country’s most frequently sought-after writers and speakers on the law and practice of design-build construction.

    • Mark has developed and copyrighted the contract documents for a unique business plan under which architects and engineers can lead their own design-build teams. Architects and engineers from firms of all sizes and specialties have used Mark’s business structure and contract documents with success.
    • Mark has participated in the structuring of and/or contract negotiation for most of the major construction projects in the Chicago area.
    • Mark is a leading national commentator on the viability of tort claims for professional malpractice that seek recovery of solely economic losses.
    • Mark has successfully defended real estate brokers, accountants, attorneys and insurance brokers in professional malpractice actions.
    • Mark established an important precedent in the federal courts with regard to the recovery of attorney’s fees in frivolous claims.
  • Credentials


    • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1981
    • University of Michigan, B.A., 1978, with high honors

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

        Professional Memberships

        American Arbitration Association

        Construction Arbitration Advisory Panel

        Arbitrator, Large Complex Case Panel


        American Bar Association

        Forum Committee on Construction Law


        American College of Construction Lawyers


        American Consulting Engineers Council


        Chicago Bar Association

        Forum Committee on Construction Law


        Design Build Institute of America

        Former Chair of Professional Practices & Contracts Committee


        Illinois State Bar Association


        National Academy of Engineering

        Committee on Outsourcing of Design and Construction


        Services for Federal Facilities

        Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems


        Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys

        Professional Certifications

        Arbitrator – American Arbitration Association
        Mediator – JAMS/Endispute

        Teaching Appointments

        Adjunct Professor, School of Architecture of the University of Illinois at Chicago



        Georgia Tech College of Architecture

        Northwestern University, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

        University of Wisconsin, College of Engineering

        Illinois Institute of Technology, Armour College of Engineering

      • Insights

        Other Publications

        “Arbitrator-Directed Arbitration:  ADR With A Samurai Arbitrator,” JACCL, Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter, 2012

        “Construction Project Delivery Methods:  Which is Best for You?,” Illinois State Bar Association - Building Knowledge Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, May 2011

        “Examining Studies Used to Support Expert Opinions:  Does the Study Make the Grade?  An Illustrative Test for Suitability,” American College of Construction Lawyers Journal, Winter, 2011

        “Proposal for a New Performance Bond for Designer-Led Design-Build,” Construction Accounting and Taxation, May/June, 2010

        “Ch. 5 - A Practical Guide to New and Controversial Issues in AIA B101 – 2007” (Co-Author, Heidi H. Rowe) Risk Management for Design Professionals in a World of Change (Ardent Publications), November, 2009

        “Representing Architects (Chapter 2 of “Pre-Construction Issues”)” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), June 11, 2009

        “Designer-Led Design-Build:  Returning to the Concept of Master Builder” (Co-Authored by A. Ray Pentecost III, Dr. PH, AIA, ACHA), Rice University, Winter, 2007

        “Responsibilities and Liabilities of Architects and Engineers for Construction Failures” (Chapter 2) Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 2006 Edition

        Speeches & Presentations

        American Consulting Engineers Council Webinar, entitled "Engineer-Led Design-Build:  Simple, Safe & Profitable,” Chicago, Illinois (February 27, 2014)

        Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, entitled "Arbitrator-Led Arbitration,” Illinois (January 21, 2014)

        American Council of Engineering Companies Annual Conference entitled "Engineer-Led Design-Build:  Simple, Safe & Profitable,” Scottsdale, Arizona (October 27-30, 2013)

        IICLE seminar entitled "Critical Issues in Construction Litigation,” Chicago, Illinois (October 8, 2013)

        American Arbitration Association Webinar entitled "Critical Elements of Construction Law for the Non-Attorney Arbitrator,” (Lead Presenter) (October 2, 2013)

        Willis Webinar entitled “Construction Project Delivery Systems:  What They Really Mean, and How They Really Work,” Chicago, Illinois (March 13, 2012)

        HalfMoon, LLC Seminar entitled “Working in Traditional/Alternative Project Delivery Systems”, Wheaton, Illinois (December 7, 2011)

        Willis Webinar entitled “Working With Subcontractors”, Chicago, Illinois (April 11, 2011)

        Aon Panel Discussion entitled “Risk Management, Liability and Insurance on Sustainable Projects”, Greenbuild 2010, Chicago, Illinois (November 18, 2010)

        Willis Webinar entitled “Tool Kit Series - Risk Management”, Chicago, Illinois (November 16, 2010)

        Wills Webinar entitled “AIA Took Kit Series Contract Review”, Chicago, Illinois (November 9, 2010)

        Willis Webinar entitled “AIA Tool Kit Series The Business of Architecture,” Chicago, Illinois (November 2, 2010)

        AIA (Minnesota Chapter) entitled “Architect-Led Integrated Project Delivery,” Minneapolis, Minnesota (November 3, 2010)

        Willis Webinar entitled “A/E-Led Integrated Project Delivery”, Chicago, Illinois (August 9, 2010)

        With Willis USA, webinar entitled “Visiting the Jobsite: It’s Not like Visiting Grandma’s House,” Chicago, Illinois (January 11, 2010)

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      Which Construction Project Delivery Method Is Best for You?

      Chicago partner Mark Friedlander walks project owners and sponsors through the construction project delivery selection process, evaluating the major pros and cons of the most common options. More

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      Design-Build Web Site

      Mark Friedlander has analyzed and written about design-build from a theoretical standpoint, particularly from the point of view of the design professional. Collected on this Web site are some of the more interesting and useful materials that he has written or published about potential design-build construction. MORE