2022 DRI Construction Law Seminar

January 26-28, 2022 | Austin, Texas

DRI Construction Law

Join us in Austin for Our First In-Person Seminar in Two Years!

After two years of virtual conferences, DRI's Construction Law Committee is excited to present its 2022 Construction Law Seminar in person – January 26-28, 2022 in Austin, Texas. Learn the long-term implications of America’s gaining housing stock and infrastructure, how to leverage new technology at trial to simplify complex construction concepts, how to meet diversity and inclusion goals, and more. Plus, don’t miss your chance to make new contacts and reconnect with long-standing colleagues, clients, and friends at local Dine-Arounds, networking happy hours, and more.

View registration information here, and make sure to register by January 10 for the best pricing!

What You Will Learn:

  • Strategies for dealing with insurance exhaustion issues
  • What are corporate sustainability goals, and how can industry leaders partner with utilities to meet them?
  • Meeting diversity and inclusion goals in a post-COVID world
  • The implications of aging residential construction in America
  • Leveraging new technology at trial to simplify complex construction concepts
  • The impact of insurance coverage issues on the defense of complex construction matters
  • Ethics issues in federal court

Expand Your Network By:

  • Meeting and networking with other Construction Law committee members and industry professionals.
  • Enjoy our networking happy hours (to be held in conjunction with DRI’s Women in the Law Committee).
  • Attending dine-arounds to meet with new members and expand your network of contacts in the construction industry!

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Thank You to DRI's Construction Law Committee Leadership

Mark D. Shifton
Mark D. Shifton
Program Chair
Lisa J. Black
Lisa J. Black
Program Vice Chair
Melissa Lin
Melissa Lin
Program Vice Chair
Danielle Waltz
Danielle Waltz
Committee Chair
Andrew Ferguson
Andrew Ferguson
Committee Vice Chair
Glenn Zakaib
Glenn Zakaib
Law Institute

Join the Construction Law Committee

Registration Information

DRI Member Pricing: $995
Non-Member Pricing: $1,295

DRI Member Pricing: $1,295
Non-Member Pricing: $1,595

Early Bird Pricing: $695
Regular Pricing: $995

Register by January 10, 2022 to receive the early registration rate.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

Register Now

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
9:00 a.m. DRI Cares Community Service Event (optional)

Join us (and the DRI Women in the Law Committee) for an in-person community service event to benefit Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit whose mission is to prevent and end homelessness for people in Greater Austin. Stay tuned for more details!
1:00 p.m. Registration
3:00 p.m. Construction Law 101

Construction litigation is a complex animal. Properly working up a case from the outset can be critical to ensuring the smooth resolution of a case. Hear from experienced panelists who will provide time-honed strategies for managing a complex construction case, including such topics as gathering client documents, attending to risk transfer issues, and early retention of experts. Because we were all junior lawyers once in our lives…

Jon Anders Hammerbeck, Ford Walker Haggerty & Behr, LLP, Long Beach, CA
Robin Leibrock, State Auto Mutual Insurance Co., Columbus, OH
Terence D. Kadlec, PE, Envista Forensics, Denver, CO
4:00 p.m. How to Win Clients and Influence Partners

What defines excellent client service? Nothing is more important to the long-term success of a young attorney than learning how to provide clients with what they need, when they need it. Hear from two experienced insurance professionals about what they expect from their outside counsel, what makes their lives easier, and what simply wastes their time.

John W. Hays, Jackson Kelly PLLC, Lexington, KY

Stephanie Petras, Phelps Dunbar LLP, New Orleans, LA
Timothy Donnelly, Sompo, New York, NY
6:00 p.m. DRI Networking Reception (and Memorial Event in Honor of David Wilson)

Former Committee Chair David Wilson was a leader, mentor, ambassador, and passionate advocate for both DRI and our committee. Dozens of committee members owe their roles in DRI to David’s guidance and mentorship. David made such an impact on DRI and our committee that DRI sanctioned an annual award in his honor. Join us at this reception honoring David’s legacy in his home State of Texas.
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (more details to come).

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Law Institute
Glenn Zakaib, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Toronto, ON

Program Chair
Mark D. Shifton, Gfeller Laurie LLP, Princeton, NJ
8:10 a.m. The Aging of America’s Housing and Infrastructure

Recent events and tragedies have drawn a harsh spotlight onto America’s aging structures and infrastructure. A panel of experts will discuss the likely implications over the next decade, such as expanded third-party liability, greater regulation and government oversight, and the importance of maintaining structures.

Joshua W. Mermis, West Mermis, Houston, TX

Susan Asmus, National Association of Home Builders, Washington, DC
Natalie Anderson, TopBuild, Daytona Beach, FL
Matthew Pavelchak, PE, Walter P. Moore Associates, Houston, TX
9:10 a.m. Corporate Sustainability Goals – Net Zero by 2030?

Many corporate entities have set aggressive renewable energy goals such as achieving net zero by 2030. Some have likened these steep goals to President Kennedy’s declaration of putting a man on the moon. To meet these challenges, some entities have developed partnerships with utilities to develop useable commercial and industrial programs and economic structures targeted to function within the regulatory compact and with minimal impact to non-participating customers. These programs can be developed to serve larger commercial and industrial customers of a particular utility and can have a community approach to provide renewable energy resources to all customers in the utility’s service area.

Stephanie Eaton, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, Winston-Salem, NC
Lisa Perry, Walmart Inc., Bentonville, AR
Dianne Triplett, Duke Energy Florida, St. Petersburg, FL
10:10 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:30 a.m. The New Normal – Balancing Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives with Remote/Hybrid Work Policies

Corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives serve the important function of ensuring the diversification of the entity’s workforce and leveraging that diversity to meet the entity’s business goals. Achieving these initiatives requires a company-wide commitment to taking concrete steps to measurably increase diversity while supporting a culture of inclusion. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many employers to reevaluate their office footprints. How can a corporate entity maintain a culture supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives while balancing the need for remote/hybrid work policies over the next few years?

Toyja E. Kelley, Locke Lord LLP, Washington, D.C.

Lenore R. Chouinard, Hartford Steam Boiler, Alpharetta, GA
Ashley Welvaert, Liberty Oilfield Services, San Antonio, TX
Michelle M. Arbitrio, Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP, New York, NY
11:30 a.m. Lunch (On your own)
1:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions (Track A)
Case Law Update: Race Against the Clock

Stay on the cutting edge of the law by hearing a panel of attorneys discuss the latest developments in the field. But there’s a catch – all speakers will be operating under strict time limits. Can they inform and entertain within the designated time? AND begin…

Chris Begeman, Righi Fitch Law Group, Phoenix, AZ
Nicole M. Varisco, Brooks, Berne & Herndon, PLLC, Elmsford, NY
Seth Alhadeff, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, Miami, FL
Insurance Coverage 101

Construction cases nearly always involve significant coverage issues, and even counsel retained only to defend an insured must be conversant with basic issues of insurance coverage. Learn what you need to know, even if you don’t know an exclusion from an exception.

Jacob Esparza, Holman Fenwick Willan LLP, Houston, TX
2:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions (Track B)
Hot Topic Potpourri

There are so many interesting topics to discuss we could barely fit them all! Hear three speakers present “bite-sized” presentations on various timely and interesting topics. The word of the day is “brevity!”

Stacy L. Moon, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP, Birmingham, AL
Peter T. DeMasters, Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC, Morgantown, WV
John M. Sier, Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook, Detroit, MI
Insurance Coverage (But No Potent Potables)

Think you know about insurance coverage? We invite you to test your mettle by participating in an interactive session of insurance coverage “Jeopardy.” Audience participation will be strongly encouraged.

Diana L. Winfrey, Selman Breitman LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Diana Gerstberger, Arch Insurance Group, Alpharetta, GA
Kelli G. Hawley, McCathern PLLC, Los Angeles, CA
3:00 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:30 p.m. Experts View on Wearable Technology: Hands-On Demonstration

Wearable technology at the construction site is nothing new. But how many of us have experience with wearable tech beyond trying on a Fitbit? That’s about to change. Join us for this hands-on demonstration where you will experience real-time use of wearable tech at an active construction site -- all from the comforting environment of a conference room, brought to life through the miracle of virtual reality.

Jared Henthorn, S-E-A, Ltd., Columbus, OH
5:00 p.m. Business Meeting/SLG Meetings
5:30 p.m. Women’s Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. Networking Reception (in collaboration with DRI’s Women in the Law Seminar)
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).
9:00 p.m. Premier Networking Event: Speakeasy Austin

Join attendees from the Construction and Women in the Law Seminars for this premier networking event at Speakeasy Austin. Take in the downtown skyline from the rooftop, where we'll be entertained by one of the best DJ's in Austin. Engage in friendly competition games (darts, shuffleboard, pool table and bowling), soak up the roaring 20’s vibe, relax with a cocktail and mingle with friends and colleagues. Could there be a better way to expand your network and build your book of business to start the new year? We don’t think so. There is a maximum of 2 tickets per person.

Registration for this event will be on the DRI seminar registration page. You will need to scroll down after the Questions to purchase a ticket. You must purchase your ticket by January 21, 2022.

*The cost is $100 per ticket and ticket is non-refundable.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Time (Central) Session Description
6:00 a.m. DRI for Life Event

Join your colleagues for an early morning run/walk along the river to lift your spirits and start your day.
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Lisa J. Black, Black Marjieh & Sanford, Elmsford, NY
Melissa Lin, Righi Fitch, Phoenix, AZ
8:10 a.m. Filling the Coverage Void: Exhaustion Issues

The resolution of complex construction defect cases often turns on the availability of insurance coverage. When insurance policies become exhausted, however, parties are often forced to reevaluate their strategies, and tailor their claims against parties with more insurance coverage. Learn how to deal with these thorny issues before they derail the settlement of your next case!

Rinaldo J. Cartaya III, Quinteros, Prieto Wood & Boyer, P.A., Orlando, FL

Amanda K. Anderson, Boyle, Leonard & Anderson, P.A., Tampa, FL
Todd Woolery, CCIS Construction Consultants, Fort Lauderdale, FL
9:10 a.m. View From the Other Side of the "V"

While we are defending our clients, our friends and colleagues across the aisle are honing their strategies and identifying their next targets. Hear from a distinguished plaintiff’s attorney about the new trends and strategies being employed in construction litigation by those who represent owners against contractors, manufacturers, design professionals, and insurers.

Brian K. Carroll, Sanderford & Carroll, P.C., Temple, TX
10:10 a.m. Defending Crane Cases

We have seen tragic collapses that have led to millions of dollars in property damage, delay, and bodily injury claims. Learn from a panel of experts who deconstruct a crane collapse and discuss how these events occur and how to respond when they happen.

Jeffrey D. Schulman, Pillinger Miller Tarallo LLP, Elmsford and Syracuse, NY
Fred A. LeSage, AXA XL, Chicago, IL
James Mason, Ph.D, P.E., ARCCA, Oakland, CA
11:10 a.m. Refreshment Break
11:30 a.m. The Use of Technology to Simply Trials (joint session with DRI’s Women in the Law Seminar)

Construction cases are replete with voluminous documents and esoteric concepts, and effectively translating these issues to a jury can often be problematic. Savvy practitioners can leverage technology solutions to effectively communicate difficult concepts. Learn from a distinguished Judge how this can be done.

Hon. Jessica Mangrum, Civil District Court, Austin, TX
12:30 p.m. Litigation Ethics in Federal Court (joint session with DRI’s Women in the Law Seminar)

When lawyers are sworn in as members of the bar, they agree to abide by their jurisdiction’s ethical rules. Despite the existence of these rules, and all lawyers’ agreement to follow them, violations of the rules may still occur. This presentation will discuss how attorneys should conduct themselves in Federal Court in order to adhere to the ethical rules, as well as what lawyers should do to maintain the positive reputation of the profession.

Hon. Thomas Kleeh, United States District Court, Northern District of West Virginia
1:30 p.m. Adjourn

Hotel and Travel Information

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the Austin Marriott Downtown, 304 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701. Take advantage of the group rate of $299.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

The hotel block is limited and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by December 28, 2021 to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after that date are subject to room and rate availability. A small portion of your room rate offsets the costs of the seminar.

Travel Discounts: DRI is pleased to announce that discounted air fares are available on various major air carriers for DRI seminar attendees. To receive these discounts, please contact Direct Travel Ltd., DRI’s official travel provider, at 800.840.0908. If you would like to have access to the DRI online travel booking tool, you must complete a Business Travel Profile form at www.dt.com. Within 24 business hours, you will receive information on accessing the system.

CLE Information

Earn up to 13.50 hours of continuing legal education hours, including 1 hour of ethics credit from this seminar.

Construction Law CLE Grid (PDF)


DRI's Construction Law is proudly sponsored by:

Envista Forensics ESi
Exponent logo Jackson Kelly PLLC Rimkus Consulting Group Inc The Experts Robson Forensic

DRI thanks our Official Supporter: Gunther Legal PLLC

If you would like to contact DRI about seminar sponsorship opportunities, including pricing, or to reserve a spot, please go to Advertising and Sponsorship.

DRI Cares

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DRI Cares content here.


Event Terms

Read the Event Terms, including DRI’s risk-free registration policy

In-House Counsel and Claims Executives Initiatives

Read the In-House Counsel and Claims Executives Initiatives for DRI Seminars

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding DRI programs, please contact DRI Customer Service at 312.795.1101 or custservice@dri.org.