Richard H. Lowe concentrates his practice in construction and commercial litigation and construction law. He handles complex construction litigation, arbitration and mediation matters, for owners, contractors, design-builders, design professionals, sureties, subcontractors and suppliers, and has drafted and negotiated complex construction and design contracts for hospitals, schools, universities, power plants, and other industrial, commercial, and institutional uses. Mr. Lowe is a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, and recently he was elected to a three-year term to College’s Board of Governors. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is LEED Certified. Mr. Lowe repeatedly has been named as a "Super Lawyer" in construction in Philadelphia.
Mr. Lowe has received a Band One (highest) rating in Chambers 2014-18. The 2014 Chambers says Mr. Lowe’s "main strength is that he is very smart but able to deal with complex issues on a practical level" and that he "creative and well prepared for contract negotiations." The 2015 Chambers described Mr. Lowe as a "top notch litigator." The 2016 Chambers says Mr. Lowe "is renowned for his handling of complex construction disputes, acting for contractors, subcontractors and design professionals, among others. He draws high praise from clients, who comment: 'He is particularly strong at figuring out the best strategy that will result in a successful outcome.'"
The 2017 Chambers says Mr. Lowe is "well respected as a mediator by his peers, one of whom notes: 'He was very well organized, did an effective job to bring the parties together, and didn’t take any nonsense from the litigants.' Another source asserts: 'He was fantastic; passionate and knowledgeable, and used these skill sets to bring parties to an agreement.'" An arbitrator and mediator in dozens of construction and commercial cases, Mr. Lowe has served as a neutral both for AAA and on ad hoc basis, and often the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has called upon him to serve as Judge Pro Tem to resolve construction and commercial disputes.
Mr. Lowe has been the co-chair of the ABA's Construction Litigation Committee, the second largest committee in the ABA Section of Litigation. He also has served as a member of the Steering Committee for Division 3 (Design) of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. He was a co-chair of the ABA Construction Forum's first program concentrating on the ConsensusDOCS family of form documents. Further, he was an editor of "The Construction Contracts Book: How to Find Common Ground in Negotiating Design and Construction Contract Clauses," 2004, an ABA book stemming from a paper he wrote. He has lectured and written on a variety of construction law topics, both across the U.S. and in Great Britain.
Mr. Lowe has been extremely active in the Associated General Contractors of America ("AGC"). As chair of the AGC's BIM Forum's Legal Subforum, he led a national effort to create a BIM Addendum, the first contract form in the world specifically applicable to projects using Building Information Modeling. Also, he served as the vice-chair of the national AGC's Contract Documents Committee, a leader in the promulgation of the ConsensusDOCS family of documents, which rival the AIA form documents.
Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New York, Mr. Lowe is a 1982 graduate of New York University School of Law, where he graduated with honors, and a graduate of Yale University. He was Mayor of the Borough of Swarthmore (2010-2014) and has served as Borough Solicitor for Swarthmore as well; for his efforts, the Swarthmore Lions Club named him "Citizen of the Year" in 2014.
Areas of Practice
- Construction Law and Litigation
- Represented mechanical contractor in case brought by owner of refinery where a leak of hydrofluoric acid occurred, at time when multi-million-dollar payment was due to contractor. Mediated to successful resolution with owner and insurers.
- Represented joint venture tunneling contractor in $200 million dispute with owner of tunnel, involving slurry tunnel boring machines (STBMs) and earth pressure balance tunnel boring machines (EPB TBMs). Prior to trial, served as lawyer in two mock jury exercises. Jury trial lasted more than three months. Argued summary judgment motions involving $150 million and many motions in limine.
- Represented lender on multibillion-dollar casino project. Provided counsel to lender on myriad of construction issues.
- Represented lender who took over construction of $150 million ski resort. Multiparty litigation.
- Represented not-for-profit developer of first proton therapy treatment center in Chicago area. Drafted and negotiated contracts with architect and construction manager.
- Represented owner in development of casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Negotiated design and construction contracts.
- Represented a non-profit development company in the development of continuing care retirement communities and other facilities throughout the northeast U.S. Negotiated contracts with architects, contractors, and lenders. Often had to negotiate with bond counsel, to reach closings in public offerings of tax-exempt bonds. Also, initiated and successfully resolved multi-party litigation for a number of northeastern U.S. projects
- Lead trial counsel in three-week trial in “rocket docket” in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, representing an EPC contractor against electrical consortium in design and construction of a single-cycle, peaking electrical power plant, with dual-fuel GE F-Class combustion turbines.
- Part of a team that was successful obtaining decision from Supreme Court of Pennsylvania upholding the law permitting public schools to obtain waivers from Pennsylvania “Separations Act” law requiring multi-prime contracts.
- Made arbitration award in dispute between owner and architect regarding federal Copyright Act and related licensing issues.
- Made arbitration award in international construction dispute between Spanish manufacturer and Texas purchaser of wind turbines.
- Made arbitration award in dispute between construction contractor and subcontractor in concrete coring of bridge in Philadelphia.
- Made arbitration award in dispute between construction companies in dispute regarding scope of restrictive covenant agreement near Philadelphia.
- Made arbitration award in dispute between drilling contractor and supplier of permanent ground anchors for use in highway embankment in central California.
- Heard eight days of testimony and argument in complex commercial dispute involving the dissolution of a law firm in Pennsylvania: after extensive briefing and oral argument, decided issues involving Dead Man’s Statute; hearsay relating to deceased witness; scope of attorney-client privilege relating to deceased client; breach of fiduciary duty; suppression of minority shareholder; civil conspiracy.
- Successfully resolved seven-year dispute involving owner of medical office building, contractor, and several subcontractors, in central Pennsylvania.
- Successfully resolved dispute between municipal authority that owned a waste-to-energy plant and its general contractor, in central Pennsylvania.
- Successfully resolved dispute between surety, owner, and site contractor for new distribution center, in northeast Pennsylvania.
- Successfully resolved a dispute between an owner and contractor regarding the development of a wood-pellet energy plant.
- Led mediation that resulted in successful resolution of dispute between a summer camp and its contractor regarding innovative technologies, in Poconos.
- Successfully resolved dispute between concrete pile contractor and public owner relating to subsurface riparian tides, in Delaware.
- Successfully resolved several disputes between school district and contractor in central Pennsylvania; dispute initially focused on first phase of project, but parties added second phase to achieve global settlement.
- Successfully resolved dispute involving design/build renovation of military hangar at airport near Washington, D.C.
- Successfully resolved dispute between contractor and supplier of allegedly defective industrial fans.
- Successfully resolved multi-party dispute regarding subcontracting of security officers for public building in Philadelphia.
- Successfully resolved a dispute between airport owner and electrical contractor in Philadelphia area. A year later, resolved a second dispute between same parties.
- Counsel for designer of county courthouse, in matter involving county government owner and several design consultants; dealt with issues of betterment and standards for establishing professional negligence.
- Counsel for owner of urban continuing care retirement community, in complex, multi-session mediation with contractor, architect, engineer, and subcontractors regarding design and application of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels in high-rise in Philadelphia.
- Lead trial counsel in 38-hearing day arbitration for general contractor in dispute with demolition subcontractor regarding demolition of paper machine in industrial paper plant.
- Lead trial counsel in representation of owner of $100 million pharmaceutical plant in New Jersey. Case involved multiple lawsuits in New Jersey state courts, followed by a successful mediation in which we used numerous expert witnesses and achieved settlement with the EPC contractor and approximately one dozen subcontractors.
- Represented a construction manager against owner of condominium tower development. Mediated the multimillion-dollar matter to resolution.
- Represented developer of one of largest malls in the Northeast. Served as construction counsel in mediation of multimillion-dollar dispute with contractor.
- Represented local housing authority in various mediations with contractors and architects. Successfully achieved mediated resolutions.
- Represented contractor in several mediations with Philadelphia Housing Authority. Successfully achieved mediated resolutions.
- Represented manufacturer of equipment to freeze food in food processing plant, against owner of plant. Successfully achieved mediated resolution in court-mandated mediation.
- Represented EPC contractor in mediation against engineer of sulfur dioxide “scrubber” in industrial plant. Successfully achieved mediated resolution.
Construction Litigation and Contract Drafting
Alternative Dispute Resolution - Arbitrator
Alternative Dispute Resolution - Mediator
Alternative Dispute Resolution - Litigant
- New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- New York University School of Law, J.D., with honors, 1982
- Order of the Coif
- Twice given award for highest grade in a class (Real Property and New York Practice)
- Yale University, B.A., 1978
- Played varsity soccer; All-New England, 1978
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2003-present
- Jacoby Donner, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Shareholder, 1988-2002
- Law Offices of Carl Zucker, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Associate, 1987-1988
- Wolf, Block, Schorr, and Solis-Cohen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Associate, 1985-1987
- Baer Marks & Upham, New York, New York
- Associate, 1982-1985
American College of Construction Lawyers
- Fellow, 2009-present
- Board of Governors, 2018-2021
- Chair of Diversity Committee, 2015
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
- Fellow, 2016-present
American Arbitration Association
- Appointed to the National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee (NCDRC), 2018-present
General Building Contractors Association (Philadelphia chapter of AGC), 2003-2016
- Chair, Governmental Affairs Committee, 2014-2016
- Member, GBCA-AIA Joint Committee, 2003-2008
Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 1997-2017
- Contract Documents Committee, 2004-2010
-- Vice-Chair 2008-2010
Honors and Awards
Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2014-2018
Listed in Who's Who Legal: Construction (worldwide recognition), 2006-2019
Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2004-2009, 2011-2018
- "Citizen of the Year," Lions Club of Swarthmore, 2015
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Construction Financial Management Association
- Board Member, Philadelphia Chapter, 1997-2001
Design-Build Institute of America
- Board Treasurer, Philadelphia Chapter, 2001-2003
- Member, Process Industry Committee, National Chapter, 2001-2003
- Author, "Recognizing the Role of Optimism Bias in Case Evaluation," The Legal Intelligencer, June 1, 2016
- Co-author, "Disclosure of Seed Sets: Required to Cooperate or Protected as Attorney Work Product?," The Legal Intelligencer, February 18, 2014
Co-author, Pennsylvania Construction Law: Getting Started, Getting Covered, Getting Paid, PBI Press, 2011
- Lead Co-author, "ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum," The Construction Lawyer, Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2009
- "BIM Contracting Made Easy: The ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum," Constructor, December 2008
- Featured in "How a homegrown legal contract will save building contractors from themselves," Philadelphia Business Journal, August 15, 2008
- Lead Author, "View from Across the Pond: An American Perspective on the Society of Construction Law's Delay and Disruption Protocol," The Construction Lawyer, Vol. 27, No. 1, Winter 2007
- "Litigating Industry Form Contracts: Not Standard After All," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, April 2007
- "Buckling Up Risks: The Construction Community And Its Insurers Should Embrace 3D Modeling To Further Reduce Risk On Complex Projects," Constructor, January/February 2007
- Co-editor (of first edition), The Construction Contracts Book: How to Find Common Ground in Drafting and Negotiating Design and Construction Contracts, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2004
- "Battle of the Associations' Forms: AGC v. AIA," CONSTRUCT!, quarterly publication of the American Bar Association's Construction Litigation Committee, Spring Edition, 2003
- Co-author of section on legal aspects of BIM, The Contractor's Guide To BIM, Associated General Contractors of America, 2004
- Lead Co-author, "Design-Build for Public Education Projects," Design-Build for the Public Sector, Wiley publication, edited by Michael Loulakis, January 2003
Lead co-author, "When Architects Withhold Certificates of Substantial Completion and Other Problems," Construction TODAY Philadelphia, General Builders Contractors Association, Fall 2000; The Construction Lawyer, Vol. 19 (American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry), October 1999 [the article was cited in a case by the Supreme Court of Guam]
- Lead Co-author, "Let's Make A Deal: Taking a Reasonable Approach in Drafting and Negotiating the Owner/Design Professional Agreement," American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, Scottsdale, Arizona, October 13, 2000
- "Construction Tips from Division 3: Checklist for the New A201 General Conditions," The Construction Lawyer, Vol. 18, (American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry), July 1998
- "50-State Monograph on No Damages for Delay Clauses," American Bar Association, 1998
- "Storing Materials at the Contractor's Yard,", The Construction Lawyer, Vol. 17, (American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry), October 1997
- "How to Use Your Attorney Effectively: Strategic Strikes - Covert and Overt Operations," Building Profits, Construction Financial Management Association, March/April 1997
- "American Bar Association Construction Litigation Committee Monograph on Economic Loss Doctrine in Construction Cases," prepared summary of law of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, 1995
Selected Speaking Engagements
- 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
Moderator, "Surprises are Rarely a Good Thing: Early Case Evaluation on a Global Scale," Construction Superconference, Las Vegas, December 5, 2016
- Faculty, "Gamesmanship in Mediation: When Does Deception Become Unethical?" American Arbitration Association Webinar, May 11, 2016
- Panelist, "Wrapping It Up: Closing Arguments and Effective Use of Jury Instructions in a Construction Case," American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Litigation, September 9, 2015
- Speaker, 2012 American Arbitration Association Construction Conference, New York City, June 1, 2012
Moderator, "A Comparison of Location-Based Construction Scheduling Method with the Traditional Critical Path Method: New and Improved, or More of the Same?" Construction SuperConference 2011, San Francisco, December 15, 2011; and American College of Construction Lawyers, February 2012
- Keynote Speaker and Presenter, "How to Avoid Disputes: Using BIM to Identify Potential Problems for Early Resolution" and "Canadian Contract Initiatives for BIM & IPD," Building Information Modeling Forum: Best Practices for Leveraging New Technologies to Increase Efficiency and Profitability in Construction, Toronto, March 24-25, 2011
- Speaker, "New ACORD Forms for Division 2," American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry webinar, March 10, 2011
- Featured Speaker, "ACORD but No Satisfaction: Why Contractors Have Problems with the New CGL Certificate of Insurance," General Building Contractors Association Forum, January 12, 2011
- Speaker, "Onerous Contract Terms: Damages, Performance Guarantees, Default Triggers, and Other Contract Nasties," National Association of Surety Bond Producers virtual seminar, August 17, 2010
- Speaker, "Challenges of High Performance Buildings and Building Information Modeling," Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Annual Construction Industry Conference, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, October 22, 2009
- Speaker, "New BIM Contracts: A Legal Perspective," Microsol Resources' Executive Breakfast Series program, New York City, July 16, 2009
- Speaker, "Advice for Construction Lenders Taking over Troubled Projects," Duane Morris Presentation, Philadelphia, May 21, 2009
- Speaker, "Risk Allocation In Building Information Modeling; The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself," GSA BIM Conference, Philadelphia, May 20, 2009
- Co-speaker, "IPD: Comparison of AIA and ConsensusDOCS Form Documents," AGC Annual Convention, San Diego, March 5, 2009
- Moderator, "IPD: Comparison of AIA and ConsensusDOCS Form Documents," AGC BIM Forum Meeting, Palm Springs, California, January 2009
- Video conference, "ConsensusDOCS BIM Addendum," interview conducted by Tom Sawyer of ENR during AGC BIM Forum Conference in Lake Tahoe, California, June 2008
- Speaker, "Legal Risk in BIM," University of Wisconsin Madison, June 24, 2008
- Speaker, "Legal Risk in BIM," Wisconsin AIA, Milwaukee, Spring 2008
- BIM Forum Legal Subforum Presentations on ConsensusDOCS BIM Addendum, AGC meetings in Boston, Miami, CURT Meeting in Orlando, and ACCL/AISC Meeting in Nashville, October 12, 2007, January 23-24, 2008, and spring 2008
- Panelist, "Recovery Schedules: Two Steps Forward or One Step Back," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2007
- Panelist, "Risk Allocation in 3-D Virtual Modeling: Why Architects Should Jump On Board," Design on Delaware Program, Presented by GBCA at Philadelphia AIA's event, November 2007
- Co-Speaker, "Litigating Construction Form Contracts," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2007 Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 12, 2007
- Speaker, "ConsensusDOCS Are Here!" GBCA Philadelphia, December 6, 2007
- Panelist, "New Pennsylvania Mechanics Lien Law Amendments," GBCA Philadelphia, Fall 2006
- Co-Speaker, "Critique of Society of Construction Law's Delay and Disruption Protocol," International Superconference, London Society of Construction Law, London, May 2006
- Co-Speaker, "Risk Allocation in 3-D Virtual Modeling," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2005
- Co-Speaker, "Construction Management 2005: New Challenges and Opportunities with High Tech Projects," International Superconference, London, May 2005
- Speaker, "Update on GBCA Litigation to Permit Public Schools in Pennsylvania to obtain waivers from statutory multi-prime requirement," AGC Building Division Meeting, Dana Point, California, January 2005
- Panelist, "Whose Schedule is it Anyway? Risks, Roles and Responsibilities with the Project Schedule," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2004
- Panelist, "Allocation of Responsibilities in Design, Procurement, and Construction to Prevent Water Intrusion and Mold," Lorman Education Services, Philadelphia, December 18, 2003
- Speaker, "Contract Provisions Re: Mold Prevention," Duane Morris Presentation, Philadelphia, September 23, 2003
- Program Coordinator and Moderator, "How to Make Closing Argument in Both Bench and Jury Trials," Presentation of ABA Construction Litigation Committee at ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, Spring 2003
- "Good Practices for Design-Build Contracts," Pennsylvania Chapter of the Design-Build Institute of America, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, February 3, 2003
- Panelist, "Walking the Tightrope on Schedule Updates - Mitigating Delay vs. Documenting the Claim," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2002
- "Allocation of Risk in Design-Build for Pharmaceutical Projects," Annual Meeting of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers, sponsored by Design-Build Institute of America, Tampa, Florida, February 20, 2003
- Speaker, Construction Risk Workshop, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 11, 2002
- Speaker, "Mediating Complex Construction Disputes," Philadelphia Bar Association ADR Committee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 6, 2002
- Speaker, "Traditional v. Design-Build: Comparing the Contract Issues," Society for Marketing Professional Services, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 9, 2002
- Speaker, "Contracting for Design-Build Projects," Design-Build Institute of America (Pennsylvania Chapter), Exton, Pennsylvania, December 6, 2001
- Speaker, "Risk Allocation in Design-Build," International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 7, 2001
- Speaker, "Contract Issues in Construction," Lorman Education Services, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 14, 2001
- Program Coordinator, "Cumulative Impact Claims: Fact or Fiction," American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 27, 2001
- Speaker, "Comparison of Owner/Design Professional Form Agreements," Philadelphia Bar Association Construction Contracts Committee, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 15, 2001
- Speaker, "How to be a Savvy Consumer of Design Services," AGC Construction Project Delivery Superconference, Dallas, Texas, February 8, 2001
- Speaker, "Pennsylvania Construction Issues - Payment & Claims Process," Lorman Education Services, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 7, 2000
- Speaker, "Introduction to Owner/Design Professional Form Agreements Used in the United States," Society of Construction Law (United Kingdom), London, England, November 28, 2000
- Moderator and Program Coordinator, "Let's Make A Deal: Taking a Reasonable Approach in Drafting and Negotiating the Owner/Design Professional Agreement," American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, Scottsdale, Arizona, October 13, 2000
- Speaker, "Proving Damages in Delay and Disruption Claims," Construction Financial Management Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2000
- Program Coordinator, "When Your Own Trial Witness Blows a Gaping Hole in Your Case, How Far Can You Go to Keep Your Case from Sinking Like the Titanic?" American Bar Association Annual Meeting, New York, New York, July 10, 2000
- Speaker, "Change Orders 101," The Construction Specifications Institute's 44th Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 23, 2000
- Speaker, "Combating Dirty Tricks and Hardball Tactics - How to Lawyer Effectively on the Construction Site," American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 29, 1998
- Speaker, "So You're Going to be Deposed," The Construction Specifications Institute Annual Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, June 12, 1998
- Speaker, "Life After the New AIA Forms: Will Litigation Ever Be the Same?" American Bar Association, National Institute on Construction Litigation, Chicago, Illinois, September 18, 1998; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 2, 1998
- Speaker, "Accounting, Bonding, Insurance, and legal Issues for Small Contractors," Construction Financial Management Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 21, 1998
- Speaker, "Amendments to Architects' Licensure Law," Construction Financial Management Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1998
- Speaker, "1997 Revisions to the AIA A201," Jacoby Donner, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1998
- Program Coordinator, "Mediation Advocacy," American Bar Association's Section of Litigation Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., May 1997
- Moderator, "Getting Paid," Construction Financial Management Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 10, 1996
- Speaker, "Application of Economic Loss Rule to Construction Projects," American Bar Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, August 7, 1995
- Speaker, "Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Prompt Payment Act," Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 1994