Charles B. Lewis concentrates his practice in the area of construction law and litigation and is a member of Duane Morris' national Construction Practice Group and the head of the Chicago office Construction Practice Group. Mr. Lewis represents general contractors, construction managers, owners, architects and engineers, design builders, subcontractors, and material suppliers in matters involving contract drafting, contract negotiation, breach of contract claims, claims for extras, delay, disruption, loss of productivity, excessive change orders, out-of-scope work, and claims involving mechanic's liens.
Mr. Lewis has been certified as a mediator by the International Mediation Institute. He is an arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association, having acted as a mediator in over 350 construction disputes, is an arbitrator for the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, and is a mediator for the Circuit Court of Cook County, Court Annexed Major Case Civil Mediation Program, run by the Circuit Court of Cook County. Mr. Lewis is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Litigation Counsel of America, the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society.
Mr. Lewis has been selected by lawyers and construction industry professionals who specialize in construction mega projects to be part of the American Arbitration Association's new national Mega Project Panel of Arbitrators. This panel is limited to approximately sixty (60) arbitrators nationwide. In addition, Mr. Lewis has also recently been selected by a rating committee made up of a diverse group of advocates and in-house counsels representing clients in large complex disputes to be one (1) of eleven (11) mediators on the American Arbitration Association's new Midwest Master Mediator Panel.
Mr. Lewis is an active member of the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, and a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers. He has written articles for Construction Executive, President & CEO Magazine, Chicago Building Congress, Edifice, Chicago Bar Journal, Construction Law News and Illinois Law Journal. Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business cites Mr. Lewis as a leader in the area of construction law. Mr. Lewis has also acted as an expert witness in a legal malpractice matter stemming from a construction dispute.
Mr. Lewis is a 1976 graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law and a graduate of the University of Michigan.
- Successfully represented a continuing care retirement community against a general contractor for deficiencies in its completed project resulting in a mutli-million dollar settlement.
- Represented general contractor in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging fraud against the Public Building Commission of Chicago, alleging that the PBC hid the fact that there were asbestos-wrapped pipes subsurface that were uncovered during construction, which resulted in significant delays and additional costs.
- Represented a preeminent rehabilitation hospital in the drafting and negotiation of its agreements with its architects and construction manager for a new $600 million redevelopment project.
- Successfully represented the owner in a $100 million arbitration involving design errors and omissions as well as construction defects and deficiencies.
- Represented the construction manager on a $15 million claim involving the construction of a five-star hotel/condo in Chicago, which resulted in a six-week successful arbitration.
- Represented the general contractor in a $10 million claim arising out of differing site conditions encountered during the construction of a retaining wall in Worcester, MA.
- Successfully represented the construction manager on a project involving the construction of seven pump stations on an international pipeline in the arbitration of a claim for breach of contract brought by a prime contractor against the pipeline owner.
- Represented a Chicago hospital during the program management, design and construction of its new $200 million ambulatory care facility and the renovation of certain of its existing facilities.
- Represented an "at risk" Construction Manager on two separate projects - the first with a contract value of $8 billion, and the second with a contract value of $2 billion.
- Successfully represented the general contractor on a $15 million claim against the owner as a result of the renovation of a landmark hotel in the city of Chicago.
- Represented two contractors on claims arising from the construction of a portion of Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan.
- Represented the Government of Greece in responding to and defending against $200 million in claims submitted by a consortium of 23 European contractors during construction of Lines 2 and 3 of the Athens Metro Rail System.
- Represented the contractor in its claim against the owner arising out of the construction of a prominent restaurant and retail development in Moscow.
- Successfully represented a Taiwanese owner of a luxury hotel in Guam in two separate arbitrations against the designer and contractor arising out of the need to retrofit the building because of structural deficiencies discovered shortly before the hotel was opened.
- Represented the net lessee/landlord in the demolition, remediation, and reconstruction of the interior of a landmark building located next to Ground Zero in New York City.
- Represented the surety in the default of a large general contractor with projects in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia, and the bidding and reletting of those contracts as well as the prosecution of the many claims, both affirmative and defensive, which arose as a result thereof.
- Represented a Chicago hospital during the design and the construction of a $600 million new facility, including the representation of its interests in an arbitration brought by a prime contractor. Subsequent representation of the same hospital during the design and construction of a new $400 million women's hospital.
- Represented the electrical contractor in a dispute with the design builder with respect to the replacement and modernization of approximately 74,000 streetlights for the City of Kansas City.
- Represented the contractor in a dispute involving the design and construction of a luxury hotel on South Beach in Miami and the successful trial of the case in federal court.
- Represented the owner against the design/builder of a hotel in Boise, Idaho in a four-week successful arbitration.
Areas of Practice
- Construction Law and Litigation
- Alternate Dispute Resolution
- Commercial Litigation
- Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Supreme Court of the United States
- University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D., 1976
- University of Michigan, B.A., 1972
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2006-present
- Jenkens & Gilchrist
- Partner, 2001-2006
- Baker & McKenzie
- Partner, 1983-2001
- Associate - 1976-1983
- American Arbitration Association
- AAA MegaProject Panel Arbitrator
- AAA Master Mediator Panel
- American Bar Association
- Illinois Bar Association
- Chicago Bar Association
- DuPage County Bar Association
- Forum on the Construction Industry
- International Mediation Institute
- Certified Mediator
- International Centre for Dispute Resolution
Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers
- Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
- Fellow, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America
- Circuit Court of Cook County, Court Annexed Major Case Civil Mediation Program
- The Illinois Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators
- Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, Design/Build Task Force
- Chicago Building Congress
- Associated General Contractors of America
- Trial Lawyers Club of Chicago
- Former President
- Chicago Construction and Real Estate Council
- Former Director
- University of Michigan Alumni Student Recruiter, 2004-2012
Honors and Awards
Named a "Lawyer of the Year" in Construction Law—Chicago by The Best Lawyers in America, 2013 and 2020
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (last 15 years)
Listed in Who's Who Legal: Construction 2018-2019
Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in Band 1 (the highest), one of only five construction attorneys in the state of Illinois to be so honored (last seventeen years)
Named in "Top Attorneys in Illinois," Chicago Magazine, February 2018
Listed in Illinois Super Lawyers (last fifteen years)
- Listed in Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition
- Named one of the leading attorneys in the area of construction law by the American Research Corporation
- Named leading lawyer in construction law by the Chicago Law Bulletin Publishing Company and Leading Lawyer Network
- Named leading lawyer in the areas of construction law and ADR law by the Chicago Construction Advisory Council
- Referenced in Legal 500 U.S.- Leading Lawyers for Construction
- Listed in The International Who's Who of Construction Lawyers
- Former President of Trial's Lawyer Club of Chicago
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Steering Committee, Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys
- Co-Chair, ADR Committee
- Past Chair, Membership Committee
- Board of Directors, Circle Urban Ministries, a not-for-profit corporation
- Chairman of the Board, 2013, 2014
- Former Chair, Fund Development
- Board of Directors, Hinsdale Golf Club
- President, 2009
- Vice President, 2008
- Secretary, 2005-2007
- Board of Directors, Mercy Housing Lakefront, a not-for-profit corporation
Board of Directors, King-Bruwaert House, a not-for-profit retirement community
- Co-author, "Limitations on the Rights of Fringe Benefit Funds to Collect in a Lien Foreclosure Action," ISBA Construction Law Newsletter, September 2016, Vol. 7, No. 1
- Co-author, "Jurisdiction Chapter: USA Construction Law," International Comparative Legal Guide to: Construction & Engineering Law 2016, July 2016
- Co-author, "Recovery of Attorneys' Fees, Costs and Expenses," Construction Litigation Handbook, IICLE Press, 2013
- Profiled in "Charlie Lewis: Global Construction Dispute Resolution 'Makes Life Interesting'," Leading Lawyers Network, January 2009
- "The Art of Picking an Arbitrator," In The Alternative, a publication of the Illinois Bar Association, February 2008
- Co-author, "Subcontractors Dealt a Winning Hand by Nevada Legislature - Nevada's Prompt Payment Act," Construction Lawyer, Legislative Update, Spring 2007
- "Doing Business in Mexico," Construction Executive, February 2005
- "What's Wrong with Chicago's New General Contractor's Licensing Ordinance?" Chicago Building Congress, The Edifice, Chicago, February 2005
- "Ten Tips for Making Your Mediation Successful - A View from the Mediator's Chair," President & CEO Magazine, September 2004
- "Discretion the Better Part of Valor: Arbitration in Lieu of Litigation," President & CEO Magazine, August 2003
- "In Defense of Abstinence - The World Trade Center Attack Aftermath," Construction Law News, January 2002
- "The Manifest Disregard of the Law Standard of Review for Domestic Arbitration Awards," Chicago Bar Journal, May 1998
- "Restrictions on Attorney Contracts with Adversary's Former Employees," Illinois Law Journal, May 1995
Selected Speaking Engagements
Speaker, “Ethical Considerations in Negotiation/Mediation or Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”, National Subcontractor Alliance (NSA) Attorneys Council, October 26, 2018
- Panelist, "The View from the Seat at the End of the Table: What Being an Arbitrator or Mediator Has Taught Us About Being Better Advocates," 2017 Construction SuperConference, Las Vegas, December 5, 2017
- Speaker, "Some Thoughts on Making a Mediation Successful," Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, March 22, 2017, April 26, 2017 and May 31, 2017
- Speaker, "Winning Strategies in Arbitration," Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, November 8, 2016 and January 25, 2017
- Panelist, "Avoiding Construction Disputes and Resolving Those that Occur," Roundtable presentation to Peer Group 31, September 20, 2016
- Co-speaker, "This Might Not Be Ethical - Is That a Problem?" Two-hour CLE course for the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, with co-speakers Stanley Sklar and the Hon. Clifford Meacham (Ret.), June 16, 2015
- Speaker, "Alternate Dispute Resolution," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, October 8, 2013
- Speaker, "Ethics for Legal Counsel and Neutrals and the ADR Process," Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, Chicago, March 19, 2013
- Speaker, "Managing Your First Arbitration" – "The Arbitration Hearing," DePaul University College of Law, Center for Dispute Resolution in conjunction with the American Arbitration Association, the College of Commercial Arbitrators, the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Chicago, June 2011
- Speaker, "Protocols For Expeditious, Cost Effective Commercial Arbitration," DePaul University College of Law, Center for Dispute Resolution, Chicago, November 2010
- Speaker, "To Settle or Not To Settle – Impasses in Mediation," Circuit Court of Cook County Court Annexed Mediation Program, November 2010
- Speaker, "Post Award Concerns: Who is the Prevailing Party and What Should Be Reimbursed to the Prevailing Party?" DePaul University College of Law, Center for Dispute Resolution, Chicago, September 2009
- Speaker, "What You Can Learn From Construction Mediation," Circuit Court of Cook County Court Annexed Mediation Program, Chicago, May 2009
- Speaker, "Recovery of Attorney's Fees and Application of the Prevailing Party Standard," Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, May 19, 2008
- Speaker, "What To Do When Construction Projects Go Bad," Lorman Education Services seminar, Schaumburg, Illinois, March 11, 2008
- Speaker, "Dispute Resolution Methods Used In Construction Cases," Chicago Bar Association, February 15, 2008
- Speaker, "Construction Mediation - A View from the Mediator's Chair," Circuit Court of Cook County Court Annexed Mediation Program, Chicago, April 2006
- Speaker, "Dispute Resolution Methods Used in Construction Cases," National Society of Professional Engineers, 2005 Annual Convention, Chicago, July 2005
- Speaker, "To Engineer Is Human - But Who Pays for Engineering Design Problems on Transportation Construction Projects?" Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association, Chicago, February 2005
- Speaker, "Dispute Resolution Methods Used In Construction Cases," Chicago Bar Association, Chicago, January 2005
- Speaker, "To Engineer Is Human - But Who Pays for Engineering Design Problems on Transportation Construction Projects?" The "A/E Issues" Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2004
- Speaker, "New Highways from Virginia to Utah and Beyond/The Road to Design-Build Success," Owner's Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2003
- Speaker, "Rescuing the Stalled Public Infrastructure Project - Lessons Learned from the Athens Metro - Drama, Pathos, Humor, Happy Ending," Forbes Magazine, Construction Superconference, London, May 2003
- Speaker, "Arbitration: A Primer for Complex Contractual Disputes," ABA Annual Meeting, Section of Litigation, Houston, April 2003
- Speaker, "Arming Your Advocates," Contractor's Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2002
- Speaker, "Partnership and Leadership: The Secrets of Successfully Managing and Overseeing the Privatized Project to Deal with the High Risk of Construction Failure and Capital Loss," Forbes Magazine, "Worldwide Infrastructure Partnerships Conference," New York, June 1998