Overview

Ken concentrates his practice in the field of construction law, project controls and procurement contracts. He is consulted on a daily and ongoing basis by procurement and risk management departments concerning every aspect of planned or ongoing construction projects. He engages in a range of services from preparation and negotiation of contracts, project controls monitoring and advice during on-going projects, negotiation of change orders and contract additions, alternate dispute resolution through mediation, arbitration, dispute review boards, and when necessary, litigation.

Procurement/Contract Negotiation

By combining his skills as a litigator/advocate with his transactional experience, Ken provides clients with a set of unique services designed to suit their business needs. He has authored the standard forms for service and commercial contracts utilized by numerous companies and has also advised owners during contract negotiations and major procurements. He and his team have negotiated more than $35 billion in major procurement contracts over the past several years.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

U.S. News rated the Schiff Hardin Construction Law Group as the #1 Construction Litigation firm in 2011. Ken has an extensive background of representing owners, contractors and architect/engineers in multi-faceted, complex disputes involving delays, disruption and losses of efficiency; breaches of contracts for performance, scope of work and payment; and complex multi-party insurance coverage issues. He has sat on and chaired several dispute resolution boards involving projects ranging in size up to $1 billion. 

Ken is widely recognized for his successful use of alternate dispute resolution, having successfully resolved virtually every type of construction dispute. He and his team typically mediate 15-20 times per year as part of their Project Controls practice – generally relating to issues that have not reached litigation.

Ken lectures on ADR issues at Loyola Law School and teaches a graduate level course at Northwestern University’s Civil Engineering School that includes ADR for Engineers.

He and the Schiff Hardin Construction Law Group were recently selected in a nationwide selection process to represent the City of Kansas in a multimillion dollar construction dispute.

Power Plant Construction

Ken has been involved in all elements of power plant construction and technology, including low N0x burners, heat recovery steam generators (“HRSG’s”), selective catalyst reduction (“SCR”), precipitators, nuclear waste disposal and storage, coal handling systems, steam generators, gas and steam turbines, boilers, control systems and other operational and environmental equipment. His range of services — from preparing contracts to the monitoring of over 20 major power/industrial/commercial projects to the numerous mediations/arbitrations and negotiations over such projects — has given him a rare combination of technical and commercial insight that is useful in every aspect of his practice.

Project Controls

Ken has provided project controls advice and project monitoring on more than 20 major energy, industrial, and commercial projects, ranging from newly built projects to plant expansions during limited outages. His project controls engagements typically involve providing clients with realistic opinions of scheduling and cost issues, an objective appraisal of critical project issues, and resolution of disputes before they can impact ongoing work.

Ken has monitored construction-related and nuclear power plant litigation involving excess insurance and reinsurance issues. He has participated in numerous construction claims and other construction related disputes on behalf of insurance carriers as well as represented carriers on policy coverage issues. He also has extensive experience in government contract litigation, including representing a contractor in a state debarment proceeding, and government contract litigation involving the Corps of Engineers, TVA, and various State Departments of Transportation.

Corporate Governance

Ken was on the board of T.D. Williamson Inc., a world leader in both onshore and offshore pipeline equipment and services from 2009 until 2014. He is also a standing committee member of the American Bar Association/Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Corporate Governance Task Force, and he has presented to numerous corporate boards on the issue of data fidelity and the status of major capital improvements.

  • Credentials

    Education

    • University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Management Institute, post-graduate studies, 2007
    • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, post-graduate studies, 1999-2000
    • University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1985, with distinction
    • University of Iowa, B.G.S., Business, Political Science, Rhetorical Studies, 1982, with honors

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • Missouri
    • New York
      • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
      • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
      • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri

          Professional Memberships

          • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry, Section of Dispute Resolution, CLE Committee
          • American Bar Association, Section of Environment Energy & Resources
          • American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Corporate Counsel Committee,
            Past Chair
          • American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law, Construction Division,
            Vice Chair
          • American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Committee on Excess, Surplus Lines and Reinsurance, Past Chair
          • American Bar Association, Long-Range Planning Committee
          • American Bar Association, Task Force on Corporate Governance
          • Chicago Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Past Vice Chair
          • Corporate Counsel Institute, Standing Member
          • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, Board of Directors (2018 – present)
          • Illinois State Bar Association
          • Missouri Bar Association
          • New York Building Congress, Energy Committee Member
          • Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys

          Teaching Appointments

          • Chicago­Kent College of Law, Mediation Advocacy, Guest Lecturer (2015)
          • Northwestern University, Department of Civil Engineering Graduate Program, Construction Law & Risk Management, Adjunct Professor (2012-present)
          • Northwestern University, Department of Civil Engineering, Introduction to Risk/Finance for Engineers, Guest Lecturer (2013)
          • Loyola University Chicago Law School, Mediation Advocacy, Guest Lecturer
            (2005-2012)
          • Northwestern University, Department of Civil Engineering, Project Finance, Guest Lecturer (2008-2010)
          • Northwestern University School of Law, Mediation Advocacy, Guest Lecturer (2008, 2010, 2012)
          • University of Iowa, College of Business, Introduction to Business Law, Instructor (1984-1985)
        • Insights

          TITLE
          In The News
          News Release

          2019 Leading Lawyers Lists Recognize 95 Schiff Attorneys

          Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to have 95 attorneys named to the 2019 Leading Lawyers list.

          News Release

          Super Lawyers Names 39 Schiff Attorneys to 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

          Two partners were recognized among “best of the best” on 2019 Illinois Top Lists

          News Release

          Schiff Hardin Receives Law360 “Practice Group of the Year” Award for Construction

          Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce the firm’s Construction Practice Group has been named a 2018 “Practice Group of the Year” by Law360 for the group’s significant contributions to the construction industry.

          News Release

          61 Schiff Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America List and Six Recognized as “Lawyer of the Year”

          Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 61 attorneys have been included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, as well as six who were named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

          Other Publications

          • “Chapter 9 – Claims for Acceleration and Delay,” (co-author) Construction Dispute Litigation 2018 Edition, IICLE (Mar. 2018)
          • “Arbitrators,” (co-author) Construction ADR, Chapter 5 (2014)
          • "Claims for Acceleration and Delay," (co-author) Construction Dispute Litigation, IICLE (2013)
          • “Strategies to Mitigate Risk and Improve Investment Return in Large Capital Projects,” The Journal of Private Equity (Summer 2011)
          • “Mediating the Evaluative-Facilitative Debate: Why Both Parties are Wrong and a Proposal for Settlement,” 39 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 187 (2007)
          • “Recent Developments in Corporate Counsel Law,” Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Winter 2005)
          • “Effective Use of Design-Build on State and Local Government Projects,” Design/Build for the Public Sector, Chapter 5, Aspen Publishers (Jan. 2003)
          • “Building Harmony into Partnering,” Constructech (Apr. 2000)
          • Design-Build – The Single Entity Option,” (co-author) Independent Energy (Jan./Feb. 1997)
          • “Design-Build Contracts Under State and Local Procurement Laws,” (co-author) Public Contract Law Journal, Vol. 25, No. 4 (1996)
          • “Annual Survey of Excess, Surplus Lines and Reinsurance Law,” (co-author) Tort & Insurance Law Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Winter 1996)
          • “Ask the Attorney Before Your Partner,” Professional Services Management Journal, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Feb. 1993)
          • “Use a Facilitator,” Professional Services Management Journal, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Feb. 1993)
          • “Partnering: Prescriptions for Success,” Construction Litigation Reporter, Vol. 13, No. 11 (Nov. 1992)
          • “The Davis-Bacon Act, Another Setback for Labor: Building & Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO v. Donovan,” Journal of Corporation Law, Vol. 10:1 (1984). Reprinted by Westlaw: Yearbook of Procurement Articles, Vol. 22 (1985) andYearbook of Construction Articles, Vol. 4 (1985)

          Speeches & Presentations

          • “Construction Delay and Disruption Claims,” (co-presenter) Critical Issues in Construction Litigation, IICLE, Chicago, Ill. (Oct. 8, 2013)
          • “Seven Secrets to Successful B2B Mediations,” (panelist) ALI CLE Telephone Seminar and Audio Webcast (Dec. 2012)
          • “An Insider’s View of Preparing for and Responding to Disasters Caused by Acts of Terrorism,” (moderator) Disasters Caused by Acts of Terrorism, American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting Program (Aug. 2012)
          • “Integrated Project Delivery: An Introduction,” (keynote speaker) Northwestern University Master of Project Management Breakfast Meeting, Chicago, Ill. (Aug. 2, 2011)
          • “Seven Secret Benefits of Working with the Highly Skilled Mediator,” (panelist) Council on Litigation Management, 2010 Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA (Mar. 2010)
          • “U.S./Canadian Cross Border Issues in Construction Law,” (panelist) Resolving Construction Law Issues Across the 49th Parallel, JAMS/Canadian College of Construction Attorneys, Chicago, Ill. (May 28, 2009)
          • “IAM Plays Broadway,” (panelist) International Academy of Mediators’ 2009 Spring Conference (Apr. 2009)
          • “Diversity in the Boardroom,” (co-moderator) Beyond Legal: A Business Approach to Corporate Governance, American Bar Association (May 2008)
          • “Mediation Advocacy: Advanced Techniques and New Developments,” (panelist) American Bar Association Litigation Section Annual Conference (Apr. 2008)
          • “Construction of a Wind Energy Project: Practical Problems and Solutions,” (moderator) Innovations in Regulated Industries Conference, American Bar Association (Apr. 2008)
          • “Corporate Governance in the Privately Held Company,” (moderator) A Business Approach to Corporate Governance Program, American Bar Association (May 2007)
          • “Gold Standard Commercial Mediation: Joining Ethical Practice With Practical Results,” (presenter) American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution 2007 Spring Conference (Apr. 2007)
          • “Bad Data – Bad Decisions – The Adequacy and Accuracy of Information Flow to the Board,” (moderator) Corporate Governance Institute Program, American Bar Association (May 2006)
          • “A Risk Manager's Guide to Mediation,” (panelist) International Risk Management Institute Inc. 2005 Annual Conference (Nov. 2005)
          • “Mediating the Bet Your Company Case,” (moderator) American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting Program (Aug. 2005)
          • “The Cutting Edge of Mediation,” (panelist – “Mediating the Intense Scheduling/Expert Case”) Southern California Mediation Association's 2004 Annual Interactive Conference, Malibu, CA (Nov. 2004)
          • "Mediating the Intense Scheduling/Expert Case," Southern California Mediation Association's 2004 Annual Interactive Conference, Malibu, CA (Nov. 2004)
          • “Risk Shifting in Government Construction Contracts: Highway to the Future or a One-Way Street?,” (chair) American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section (Jul. 2000)