My career in the legal profession began in 1974 with Harbison, Kessinger, Lisle & Bush, which became Stites & Harbison in 1983. My practice during the first ten years included a variety of corporate, commercial and real estate and mineral law matters and, over time, a gradual transition into construction and business litigation. From 1984 forward I devoted my practice exclusively to construction transactions, construction litigation and arbitration, and business litigation. Construction clients included owners, general contractors and construction managers (in both vertical and horizontal construction), design-builders, subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals, insurers and sureties. Services to these clients included contract negotiation and preparation, asserting and defending claims in state courts, federal courts, arbitrations and mediations. Business litigation clients included data companies, financial institutions, manufacturers, mineral companies and thoroughbred owners.
Advocacy in arbitrations and mediations began in 1984. Service as an ADR neutral began in 1990. While ADR work has not dominated my practice, I have been selected as an arbitrator or mediator over 50 times to date.
My legal career provided opportunities to “give back” to the construction bar and construction industry. I was fortunate to participate in leadership of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, including terms on the Forum’s Governing Committee and as Chair of the Governing Committee. I was a founding member and Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association Public Contracts and Construction Law Section. I have been a Fellow in the American College of Construction Lawyers since 1996. By invitation, I served on the Board of Directors of Associated General Contractors of Kentucky and chaired AGC’s Legislation Committee.
My career as a practicing attorney parallels another career in business. My father started a highway construction company in the 1940’s. My brothers followed him. They built the company into a large and successful enterprise, which we sold in 2010. I served as an officer, director and general counsel for the company from 1974 until the sale. Today my brothers and I manage a family office that includes new construction businesses, securities and real estate investments, thoroughbred breeding and racing, and general farming.
I am married to my partner in life and the law, Anne Gorham. We reside in Lexington, KY. I’m also the father of three lovely and talented daughters: Sally (Thilman), Lucy (Lloyd) and Mary Grace; and I’m “Pop” to five (exceptionable, of course) grandchildren.
My association with Bobby Elliott and Bobby Houlihan dates back to 1971 when we entered law school at the University of Kentucky. We have been close friends ever since. Now it is my privilege to join them in offering perspective and “lessons learned” to parties and counsel searching for dispute resolution. From personal experience (good and bad) we understand the demands of the dispute resolution process. Our continuing “give back” is to help resolve disputes with integrity and civility.