2023 DRI Construction Law Seminar

January 23–25, 2023 | Las Vegas, Nevada

Construction Law planning

Stay Current with Construction Law!

The future of construction defense is happening now. During challenging legal and economic times, how do we, as insurance and industry leaders, as well as lawyers, stay relevant and successful as we represent our insureds, companies, and clients. Join the DRI Construction Law Committee in Las Vegas as we share thoughts and strategies for advancing the defense construction practice moving forward.

View registration information here.

What You Will Learn:

  • Effective management of multi-party, complex construction litigation
  • Charging a jury and when to engage appellate counsel
  • The risks and rewards of successful trial strategies from the Plaintiff and Defense Bar
  • Defending clients under OCIP/CCIP policies and how avoid conflicts
  • Best practices for MBE/WBE/DBE contractors on public projects
  • How to harness psychology to achieve favorable litigation outcomes

Expand Your Network By:

  • Meeting and networking with other Construction Law committee members.
  • Enjoying our networking cocktail hour and Premier Networking Reception (to be held in conjunction with DRI’s Women in the Law and Governmental Liability Committees).
  • Attending dine-arounds to meet with new members and expand your network of contacts.

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Thank You to DRI's Construction Law Committee Leadership

John P. Cahill, Jr.
John P. Cahill, Jr.
Program Chair
Denise Montgomery
Denise Montgomery
Program Vice Chair
Rinaldo Cartaya
Rinaldo Cartaya
Program Vice Chair
Danielle Waltz
Danielle Waltz
Committee Chair
Andrew Ferguson
Andrew Ferguson
Committee Vice Chair
James Weatherholtz
James Weatherholtz
Law Institute

Join the Construction Law Committee

Registration Information

  Member Pricing Non-Member Pricing
Regular Registration* $1,395 $1,695
Group Registration (Non-Sponsored)** $995/person $995/person
Government Government members will receive the applicable government rate for the seminar upon login. If the government rate does not appear after logging in, please call DRI directly at (312) 795-1101 to receive the discounted rate. Invoices can be sent after purchase upon request.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate. If you would like to join DRI to receive the member pricing and see the benefits of becoming a member, click here to go to the Application page.

**Group registration is for registering 4 or more attendees, members and non-members. There is one free registration with every 10 registrations. You must lock in the rate three weeks prior to the seminar. If you want to register for the group pricing, please send an email to rstiner@dri.org (online registration is not available for this offering).

Premier Networking Reception | Paris Hotel Rooftop
Sponsored by: Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

Date: Tuesday, January 24 from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Pricing: Free when you register for the seminar (guest tickets are $100 each, available at checkout. A limited number of guest tickets may be available on site for $125 each)
Location: Paris Hotel, 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Join Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability, Construction Law, and the Women in the Law Seminars for a networking event at what has been named one of the Las Vegas Strip’s best rooftops. Socialize, play games like giant Jenga, pool, darts, karaoke, Skee-Ball, Pop-A-Shot and retro arcade games! Light appetizers and beverages will be served. The Paris Hotel is only a short walk from the Caesars Palace, so be sure to stop by.

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Time (Pacific) Program Room
1:00 p.m. Registration Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
3:00 p.m. Who Says Construction Law Can’t Be Fun?

Start your seminar with split sessions to learn construction techniques and have a little game show fun. Select from one of the tracks.

Track 1: HANDS-ON – You Can’t Stop the Weather, but You Can Stop Moisture Intrusion!

Water proofing defects and moisture intrusion are very common construction defect claims. In this hands-on workshop, you will be provided with several options of water proofing materials to utilize in your attempt to keep the water out. You will design, install, and test your water proofing system on a small-scale timber structure. The choices you make will determine whether the weather gets in or if you can keep it out. We won’t make you a contractor in 60 minutes, but you will walk away with appreciation of the impacts that construction techniques, labor shortages, and supply chain issues can have on construction defect losses and ensuing damage claims. This hands-on experience will provide a walk-through of water proofing techniques, design defects, and/or construction defects, potentially of your own making.

Donna Friis, Envista Forensics, Orlando, FL
Erik Wetzler, Envista Forensics, Chicago, IL
Capri (Promenade Level)

Track 2: Jeopardy - Join us for an Inclusive and Interactive Jeopardy Style Game, Focusing on Construction Defect Claims

Categories include SPOT THE DEFECT, WHO’S RESPONSIBLE, TOP THREE, YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS UP, and NAME THAT STATE and others. Audience members are encouraged to bring their best/worst/funniest construction defect 30-second story to participate in our YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS UP category. This session is designed for participation from seasoned pros and novices.

John Schlitter, Envista Forensics, Mechanicsburg, PA
Alan Mullenix, Envista Forensics, Atlanta, GA
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
5:30 p.m. Jump-Start Your Seminar Networking Experience

Whether you’re a new member, non-member, seasoned attendee or in-house counsel, join committee leaders and your fellow attendees to learn how to make the most of your networking opportunities this week.
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
6:00 p.m. Networking/Cocktail Hour

As we meet together to network, we will honor the legacy 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.
Emperor Foyer (Emperors Level)
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).
RSVP for Dine-Arounds.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Time (Pacific) Program Room
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
8:30 a.m. Coffee & Conversations

The early bird gets the most out of this networking session. Get to know the early risers in the group over a cup of coffee. Rise, shine, caffeinate and connect!
Emperor Foyer (Emperors Level)
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

James Weatherholtz, Womble Bond Dickinson, Charleston, SC
John P. Cahill, Jr., Lanza Law Firm, Houston, TX
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
9:10 a.m. What’s Going on with the Law?

Lawyers from around the country will update us on significant statutory and case law developments that will have a direct impact on the handling and defense of construction defect losses. Our speakers are versed on national legal developments and will keep you updated on important trends in the law. The cases and statutes discussed will cover regional and national bases.

Hillary Weigle, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Chicago, IL
John Bieder, Black Marjieh & Sanford, LLP, Elmsford, NY
David L. Jones, Wright Lindsey Jennings, Little Rock, AR
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
10:00 a.m. Coffee Break
Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
10:15 a.m. Identifying and Fostering Talent in a Candidate Barren Environment

How do design and construction firms handle personnel situations in the 2020’s environment? How do law firms handle it? Why do companies and contractors locate in certain areas? This discussion will assist us in both our direct representation of construction clients, but also in helping DRI’s members in managing their own law practices in this difficult hiring environment.

Jayne Pittman, Conroy Simberg, Orlando, FL
Julie R. Pugh, TopBuild, Daytona Beach, FL
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
10:45 a.m. Navigating Mass Casualty Construction Matters

Mass casualty, multi-party cases are complex. How should defense lawyers and the court manage such cases to allow defendants to develop their defenses, to preserve available insurance coverage, and to give counsel, insurance carriers and clients the information necessary and opportunity to negotiate a settlement, all while getting the case ready for trial? Hear from defense counsel and the judge involved in the FIU Pedestrian Bridge Collapse litigation about how the parties and the court met those challenges and more.

Judge Jennifer D. Bailey, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Miami, FL
Brett J. Preston, Hill Ward Henderson, Tampa, FL
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
11:35 a.m. Jury Charges in Construction Cases

Winning or losing a trial does not end with the verdict, especially if the jury was charged with erroneous instructions, definitions, or questions. The intricacies of construction cases, with contract and tort implications, make the Big Dig look like child’s play in comparison to properly charging a jury. Hear about all of the implications in jury questions, definitions and instructions to assist you in your future trials.

Marie Jamison, Wright Close Barger, Houston, TX
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
12:30 p.m. Networking Lunch (included in registration)

Join the Construction Law Seminar & Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability seminar attendees for lunch and networking opportunities that are second to none.
Palace II (Emperors Level)
2:00 p.m. New Plaintiff Strategies: How to Be Prepared

The Plaintiff’s bar shares strategies with each other in dealing with insurance companies and defense cases. Hear a group of experienced defense construction trial lawyers discuss strategies (including the risks and rewards) in dealing with Plaintiff’s tactics which will impact the resolution of cases, whether in settlement or by trial. They prepare for us. It’s our time to prepare for them throughout the litigation and claims handling process.

Michael Sams, Kenney & Sams, Boston, MA
Rosary Hernandez, Burch & Cracchiolo, Phoenix, AZ
Robert Schumacher, Gordon Rees, Las Vegas, NV
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
3:00 p.m. Committee Business Meeting (open to all)
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
3:30 p.m. Small Group Networking Opportunities

For more details, click on the "Networking Opportunities" tab below.
6:00 p.m. Premier Networking Reception | Paris Hotel Rooftop
Sponsored by: Hartline Barger LLP, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

Click here for details.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Time (Pacific) Program Room
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
8:30 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Denise Montgomery, Sweeney & Sheehan, PC, Philadelphia, PA
Rinaldo J. Cartaya, III, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., Orlando, FL
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
8:40 a.m. You Can’t Have a Conflict with an OCIP/CCIP Policy? Wait, You Can?

Conflicts do arise when cases are defended under OCIP/CCIP policies. How do you handle them? Since conflicts have to be dealt with from the perspective of the client, counsel and carrier, hear from different perspectives on how to guide your way through this legal maze.

Mark Shifton, Gfeller Laurie, LLP, Princeton, NJ
Chris Liegel, Sompo Insurance, New York, NY
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
9:10 a.m. Dangers in Designation: MBE/WBE/DBE Enforcement Actions

Dangers can easily arise for entities that are MBE/WBE/DBE designated, including where a contractor commits (or tries to commit) fraud in regard to a public project on which MBE/WBE/DBE requirements are being enforced. Our panel will discuss and advise best practices for the MBE/WBE/DBE contractor on public projects for how to get the requirements enforced.

Marlon Primes, Brennan, Manna & Diamond, Cleveland, OH
Steven Hemric, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC, Winston-Salem, NC
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
10:10 a.m. Coffee Break Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
10:25 a.m. How to Harness Psychology to Achieve Favorable Litigation Outcomes

Social inflation and the courtroom? Learn about social inflation and its root causes. This discussion will cover social inflation's relationship to nuclear verdicts and provide practical solutions for combatting this phenomenon. You will be given strategy on how to prepare, defend and resolve your files. Additionally, you will be given a step-by-step on “how to” prepare and defend key witnesses at reptile depositions, as well as how to leverage or mitigate various cognitive biases to move your matter to resolution.

Shari Belitz, Shari Belitz Communications, New York, NY
Emperors Blrm (Emperors Level)
11:30 a.m. Joint Session with Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar, Construction Law Seminar, and Women in the Law Seminar

When the Client Relationship Goes Too Far (Ethics)
Hear from Chief Counsel from the City of Phoenix, Managing Counsel for Transunion, and General Counsel for West Virginia University about when socializing with clients, defense counsel, and insurance professionals, gift-giving and campaign contributions (giving and receiving) go too far and become an ethical issue. The panel will be a roundtable discussion of various situations and the ethical impacts of same.

Danielle Waltz, Jackson Kelly PLLC, Charleston, WV

David H. Benton, Esq., City of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
Sylvia Winston, TransUnion, Carbondale, IL
Stephanie Taylor, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
12:30 p.m. Adjourn
2:00 p.m. Are you Still Here? No Flight Home Today? For Those who are Flying Home Tonight or Tomorrow, Let’s Go to the Big Dig.

For more details, click on the "Networking Opportunities" tab below.

Networking Opportunities


Date: Monday, January 23 7:30 p.m.
Location: See RSVP link for restaurants

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).
RSVP for Dine-Arounds.


Date: Tuesday, January 24 from 3:30–5:30 p.m.
Pricing: TBD
Location: TopGolf, 4627 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Grab those phones, call an Uber, and come join us for drinks at TopGolf before the DRI Premier Networking Reception! TopGolf is located 1.4 miles (about a five minute ride) from the reception. We will reserve two bays, with golf clubs supplied by TopGolf and staff available to take drink orders. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow DRI members while improving your golf game! The event will run until 5:30 p.m., leaving you plenty of time to return for the 6:00 p.m. DRI Premier Networking Reception at the Paris Hotel Rooftop. All attendees are welcome to join!
Please RSVP for TopGolf. Once we have a finally tally, we will request a non-refundable deposit to reserve the bays.

The Mob Museum

Date: Tuesday, January 24 from 3:30–5:30 p.m.
Pricing: $30
Location: The Mob Museum | 300 Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Located about 10 minutes from the hotel via Uber/Lyft, come join fellow DRI attendees and learn about the Mob's influence in Las Vegas! The Museum has an interactive experiences and onsite distillery! The event will run until 5:30 p.m., leaving you plenty of time to return for the 6:00 p.m. DRI Premier Networking Reception at the Paris Hotel Rooftop. All attendees are welcomed to join!
Please RSVP to The Mob Museum.

Are you Still Here? No Flight Home Today? For Those who are Flying Home Tonight or Tomorrow, Let’s Go to the Big Dig.

Date: Wednesday, January 25 from 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Pricing: Approximately $140 (with 30 people attending)
Location: Big Dig | Dig This, 800 W. Roban Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89109

Dig This is a group experience where participants get to take control of heavy equipment (think: excavators, bulldozers, skid steer loaders) and play in a giant sandbox. The only requirements are closed-toed shoes, passing a breathalyzer and of course, payment. In terms of clothing, you can wear whatever is comfortable. You might get a little dust on your shoes… but unless you want to lie down and roll in the dirt, you’ll leave almost squeaky clean.
For those interested, please contact Sonny Ingram.

Hotel Information

The DRI room block at Caesars Palace has now sold out. Please feel free to use the link below to reserve a room outside of the DRI block at Caesars Palace or at an available nearby hotel.

Find a Nearby Hotel and Reserve your Room

CLE Information

Earn up to 9.25 hours of continuing legal education hours (CLE), including one (1) hour of ethics credit from this seminar.

Construction Law CLE by State

Insurance professionals may earn up to 3.00 hours of continuing education credits (CE) from this seminar.

Construction Law CE Details


DRI's Construction Law Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

Envista Forensics ESi Exponent logo HAAG Since 1924
Hartline Barger LLP Jackson Kelly PLLC JS | Held
Nelson Forensics
S-E-A Know.

Thank you to our Official Supporter: TBD

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



SafeNest is a local support and advocacy center and domestic violence shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. As January is National Human Trafficking Prevention month, our committee thought it would be a suitable charity for the time and location of our event. The committee would like to encourage attendees to donate a dollar amount equivalent to their billable hourly rate (the “donate a billable hour” campaign). Donations will be collected through the DRI Foundation, and a donation will be made to SafeNest on behalf of the DRI Foundation.

To donate online:

  1. Click the "Donate" button or scan the QR code below.
  2. If you have an account with DRI, log in. Use the same login that you registered for this seminar.
  3. If you do not have an account with DRI, create a guest account.
  4. Select from one of the gift amounts or set your own amount. The default value is $100.
  5. Select “Construction Law” from "My SLC/Region" dropdown box.
  6. Click “Submit Donation.”
  7. The page will refresh. Click “View Cart” to checkout.
  8. Enter your credit card information and click “Submit Order” once all required information is entered.


Substantive Law Committee QR Code Foundation Contributions


NEW in 2023 – Four Additional On-Demand Programs Included With Every Seminar!

CLE Credit will be sought from every state requiring CLE hours in elimination of bias/diversity and inclusion, ethics, substance abuse/mental health, and law practice management. The CLE grid will provide updated information concerning hours that have been approved by each jurisdiction and for which credits. For states not requiring these special credits, general education credits will be sought. Access to these on-demand programs will expire 30 days after the seminar ends.

View On-Demand Library

Diversity/Elimination of Bias in the Profession

Invisible or Mixed-Visible Diversity – Combatting Bias

Often diversity programs and initiatives are focused on visible traits such as gender or race, but bias exists related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and some disabilities that are not readily visible to the eye. This panel will discuss how to address these biases and to create an environment where those with invisible or mixed-visible diversity can operate at the highest level.

Stacy Douglas, Everett Dorey LLP, Irvine, CA
Gary Howard, Bradley, Birmingham, AL
Ronna Kinsella, Glassman Wyatt Tuttle & Cox PC, Memphis, TN

Law Practice Management Credit

Succession Planning: Failing to Plan Is a Plan to Fail

Succession planning is considered one of the most pressing issues facing not only law firms but also clients. Senior partners are working into their golden years and can sometimes be reluctant to engage in a succession plan, but clients want to know that there is a plan for the transition of their work without interruption. Join us to learn:

  1. the importance of succession planning for the benefit both the law firm and its clients;
  2. how succession planning impacts retention and continuity of the firm and client relationships;
  3. how to approach the subject with senior attorneys; and
  4. strategies for implementing a successful succession plan.

Marie E. Chafe, Conn Kavanaugh, Boston, MA
Matthew Cairns, Textron Inc., Providence, RI
Elizabeth M. Brotten, Foley & Mansfield PLLP, Minneapolis, MN
Meade Hartfield, Bradley Arant, Birmingham, AL


Technology, Ethics & Remote Work: What You Need to Know Now

The Rules of Professional Conduct regarding competence and diligence require all lawyers to keep abreast of changes in technology. This webinar will provide you with tips and information on new issues related to technology and the practice of law, including the challenges of the remote work environment. You will learn the ethics and professionalism considerations when using technology in your practice and your ethical duties when it comes to “keeping abreast of changes” in technology.

Amber Garcia, Deutsch Kerrigan LLP, New Orleans, LA
Alyssa Johnson, Barron & Newberger PC, Milwaukee, WI
Clare Roubion, Louisiana Legal Ethics, LLC, Lafayette, LA

Mental Health & Attorney Wellness

Lessons for Lawyers from the Science of Well-Being

This presentation will focus on the practical steps that we can take as individuals to improve well-being, drawing on recent research from cognitive science and beginning with the preface that happiness can be learned and applied. Specifically, we will provide an evidence-based arsenal of practical tools that lawyers can apply in their own lives to improve their well-being.

Emma Ross, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL
Shayna Cook, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL

Other Information

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