Gould + Ratner


Advising and counseling clients through every phase of even the most complex construction matters is what differentiates the lawyers in Gould & Ratner’s Construction Practice. As a group, our lawyers possess a unique blend of negotiating and drafting acumen, technical expertise, construction industry experience, and trial and arbitration skills.

Our lawyers can provide comprehensive services in all construction-related matters, from the bidding, negotiation and drafting phase through project construction and completion.  In addition, if a claim cannot be settled, our experienced trial lawyers can litigate or arbitrate the claim.

Our Clients and Experience

Gould & Ratner represents developers and owners throughout the United States in construction litigation and transactional matters involving virtually all types of projects, including high-rises, hotels, commercial office centers, retail developments, government buildings, residential communities, multifamily developments, manufacturing and industrial facilities, convention centers, retirement communities, hospital and healthcare facilities, alternative energy projects such as wind and solar farms, and data center projects, including cryptocurrency mines.

Our involvement in our clients’ construction matters begins well before ground is broken. By counseling our clients in preconstruction matters, we can help prevent problems from occurring, or minimize the consequences of any problems that can develop early in the project. Our technical knowledge and practical construction experience also enables us to provide counsel during the construction phase of projects. 

We pride ourselves on being business partners first, and lawyers second, helping our clients with drafting and reviewing master service agreements, multiple contracts within a project scope and miscellaneous agreements such as elevator maintenance contracts and equipment installation agreements.

Handling Contracts and Claims

While our construction lawyers do everything possible to assist our clients in preventing claims, when they do arise, we use our extensive knowledge and experience to work with our clients to analyze the costs and likely outcome of the claim, developing a strategy that, in some instances, may include a form of alternative dispute resolution or mediation, resolving the claim in an expeditious and cost-effective manner before pursuing litigation/arbitration.

When an issue arises that cannot be settled out-of-court, our experienced trial lawyers aggressively represent a client's claim through litigation or arbitration in both state and federal courts. Our involvement with our clients from project conception through completion provides a cost-effective means to identify and prevent problems during the construction process, resulting in a better outcome for all involved parties.

Service Offerings

With our “client first” perspective, we can offer a wide range of value-based services to assure that our clients receive the best legal advice that fit their business needs, including:

  • Formation of Internal Team: helping select the proper internal team for a specific project
  • Internal Team Training: educating the project’s internal team on the construction process and what to expect
  • Selection of External Team: guiding the client in selecting the most effective industry experts, including designers, contractors, subcontractors and construction managers
  • Contract Selection: helping the client select effective contracting and pricing models for a given project to further limit unknowns and pricing increases
  • Contract Drafting: negotiating construction contracts and key provisions, not only saving the client time and money, but also reducing risk
  • Insurance: advising the client on risk management and the best suited policies specific to the project
  • Project Assistance: offering preconstruction services, construction phase management, project close out and claim management, including alternative dispute resolution and litigation

Representative Matters

  • Acted as project construction counsel for $1 billion rehabilitation of the Old Chicago Post Office encompassing over 2 million sq. ft. of usable space. The project was the largest mixed-use development project in the country at the time. The building, a historic landmark, sat vacant for many decades and is built over a public expressway and railway tracks. Gould & Ratner assisted the owner in dealing with numerous public, private and municipal entities, put in place the requisite insurance coverages necessary for the project to proceed and negotiated and drafted numerous contracts with contractors, consultants, design professionals and others for the remediation and development of the building, including tenant buildout, CEN and service contracts for the client.
  • Assisted owner of an 83-story building in drafting and negotiating numerous construction agreements for a $6.5 million lobby renovation project and successfully represented the client against certain defect claims by a prospective tenant during the buildout process. Gould & Ratner also represented the owner in negotiating and drafting numerous services contracts.
  • Handled pre-construction and construction phase negotiations on behalf of owner for a $180 million renovation and repositioning project in South Loop. The development of significant pre-construction phase documentation helped keep the project on schedule while ownership was lining up the project team.
  • Advised owner of a historical building throughout tenant buildout project. During the course of the project, change orders were submitted by contractor for work which were within the original scope. Gould & Ratner provided ongoing project management assistance to ownership in order to efficiently resolve these claims and keep the project on an extremely tight schedule for the incoming tenant in order to avoid liquidated damages for late delivery of space.
  • Acted as project counsel for the nation’s leading manufacturer of heavy transit buses in the design and construction of a $100 million office, warehouse and manufacturing facility. Gould & Ratner also represented the company in the design and installation of a solar project, electrical vehicle charging stations and eBus charging stations. The work included drafting numerous contracts and the successful mediation of delay, defect claims and warranty issues.
  • Prepared construction documentation for a truck trailer company’s factory expansion located in South Dakota. In addition, Gould & Ratner handled all contract negotiations and claim management for construction of a new office building in North Dakota.
  • Negotiated construction management contracts for a packing company’s warehouse, manufacturing and office renovation in Canada. In addition, Gould & Ratner assisted the client with the development of a construction and installation agreement pertaining to a large scale laminator project.  Due to unique project requirements, the agreement addressed off site construction and assembly along with subsequent reassembly and testing at the client facility.  
  • Represented a senior housing client on a multi-million dollar mediation against project team for claims of defective construction and inadequate specifications and drawings. In addition, Gould & Ratner developed various contract templates for client specific construction projects.
  • Represented an owner in the design and construction of cryptocurrency and data mining facilities.
  • Represents and serves as project counsel for a wide range of restaurants, coffee shops, grocery store chains and department stores in construction related matters.
  • Represents the largest owner of radio stations in the country in a series of projects ranging from ground up office buildings, to rehabs of existing studio and office spaces throughout the country.
  • Represented the owner of a multi-unit rental development regarding claims in excess of $1 million for defective construction and water infiltration issues.
  • Represented a joint venture in connection with an action seeking insurance coverage for damages occurring during construction of a municipal water plant.
  • Represented a major Midwest aggregate and construction material producer in a case that alleged construction defects in the exterior and interior of a 51-story residential building in downtown Chicago, Illinois. After substantial fact and expert discovery, we obtained an order of summary judgment in favor of our client.
  • Represented a client involved in bidding on a public project – an addition to a grade school in Lyons School District. Our client was awarded the bid by Lyons and another contractor objected on the basis that its bid was approximately $34,000 lower. The arbitrator awarded the project to our client agreeing with our position that the competitor engaged in unfair tactics by substituting cheaper materials than were required by the bid documents.
  • Represented a steel manufacturing company in a suit alleging defects in steel beams sold for use in the construction of a nuclear power plant. The jury found in favor of our client on all fraud and punitive damage claims
  • Represented a cooperative building corporation which owned a high-rise residence in Chicago. As a result of certain design and construction defects pertaining to the roof, substantial water damage occurred. Obtained a settlement from the contractor and architect, as well as the insurance companies involved, which provided sufficient funds to repair all the damage and clean up the environmental problem.
  • Represented an aggregate construction material producer, which had designed and constructed a commercial parking garage at the Apparel Center in Chicago, Illinois. The garage’s owner filed suit alleging construction defects. We settled the case on a favorable basis for our client on the eve of trial. Following the settlement, we obtained a judicial declaration of insurance coverage for the settlement and attorneys’ fees; the declaration withstood the insurance company’s appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court.
  • Prepared a contract to be used by one of the largest health care providers in the country on all of its construction projects. The use of this contract substantially lessened claims.
  • Lead trial counsel for owner in litigation involving, among other things, responsibility for construction defects at a multi-million senior development. Successful in developing a litigation strategy which led to the settlement of all of the litigation claims on terms acceptable to the owner during the trial.
  • Lead trial counsel for a contractor in successful litigation with a public utility responsible for the contamination of a coal gasification site. A multi-million dollar award was obtained.
  • Retained by the general counsel of a publicly traded company to conduct a “peer review” of a national law firm to assess the quality and cost of representation as well as analyze merits of a lawsuit to recover in excess of $20 million for alleged breaches of construction and service contracts for modifications to a nuclear power plant.
  • Lead trial counsel representing the plaintiff joint venture in a claim for recovery of the contract price, plus the value of certain extra work, relating to a bridge over the Chicago River. Much of the work was done pursuant to oral change orders. The matter was settled before trial, after the City of Chicago agreed to pay the entire amount claimed by the plaintiff joint venture, including the amounts for extra work.
  • Represented the contractor who was retained in connection with the renovation of the HVAC/temperature control system and its conversion to digital controls at a federal building. Prepared a claim for the contractor for unfinished work, unabsorbed overhead, change orders and delay against GSA. After extensive discovery concerning those issues, the claim was settled on favorable terms for our client before the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals.
  • Lead counsel representing a general contractor in negotiating and reviewing the contract documents in connection with a $118-million, 1-million-square-foot convention center project in Seattle. At the conclusion of the construction contracts, prepared claim that was developed as a result of design deficiencies and schedule impacts, resulting in numerous change orders. The settlement structure for the claim totaled $60 million and was agreed to at a mediation hearing before litigation.
  • Lead trial counsel for owner in litigation involving, among other things, responsibility for construction defects at a multimillion-dollar senior development. Successful in developing a litigation strategy that lead to the settlement of all of the litigation claims on terms acceptable to the owner during the trial.
  • Represented general contractor in connection with the construction contracts for a $90-million project for the construction of the high-level approaches and center span for a bridge crossing south of St. Petersburg, Fla. The bridge is the world’s largest cable-stayed pre-cast segment concrete-span bridge and the second-largest concrete-span bridge in the world. All claims, including claims for change orders and extra work, were settled before completion of the work.
  • Represented an electrical subcontractor in the negotiation of a multimillion-dollar subcontract for the electrical work on the construction of the McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago. The project involved negotiation of the specific subcontract, as well as a review of the contract between the design builder and the owner of the project.
  • Represented the general contractor in a $36-million project constructed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A multimillion-dollar claim was driven by incomplete plans, wrongful interpretation of the clean-down specifications, faulty owner-furnished design criteria for an equipment support system and a claim for acceleration. The claim was settled prior to a hearing before the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in defense against a mechanics lien.
  • Represented owner in dispute involving construction defects and breach of warranty claim.


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The touchstone of our service to clients is translating our legal skill and business experience into practical solutions that work, helping our clients succeed.