Architects & Engineers



For nearly four decades, Wilson Elser has been retained by a cross-section of prominent architects, engineers, construction managers and contractors, as well as their professional liability insurers, in defending malpractice suits and providing pre-claim counsel. We enjoy an enviable track record of helping clients minimize or avoid financial damages from the incessant claims that increasingly characterize this area of law.

We enjoy an enviable track record of helping clients minimize or avoid financial damages from the incessant claims that increasingly characterize this area of law.

Our attorneys represent design professionals through all phases of construction litigation and counsel, including:

  • Contract negotiations
  • Contract interpretations
  • Claims avoidance
  • Risk management
  • Litigation 
  • Arbitration
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Appeals

Many of our attorneys in our design professional liability practice have architectural or engineering backgrounds, including professional degrees and licenses, allowing them to bring a more practical and technical perspective to the complex claims brought against our clients. Most have been litigating in this area for over 20 years, and all are able to leverage the considerable resources that reside in a full-service firm such as ours. Practice attorneys frequently collaborate with their counterparts in related disciplines such as construction, environmental law and intellectual property as the case requires.

Given our national footprint, there is no need for clients to put together a network of law firms to serve them in different geographies. Rather, they enjoy the convenience and inherent efficiencies of making one call to one point-of-contact in order to manage virtually all of their legal needs. Our attorneys work seamlessly across practices and jurisdictions, aligning the firm’s resources with our clients’ individual requirements.

Our experience runs the gamut from representing design professionals in connection with structural façade failures to delay claims involving transportation centers to the design and construction management of nuclear power plants. Irrespective of venue, client or adversary, we understand the issues, very likely have dealt with them before and invariably are able to determine where the exposure and, therefore, the most cost effective resolutions lie. We maintain our effectiveness by staying on top of the case law, technological advances, the ever-shifting claims environment, and the industry rules and ethical guidelines that impact architects and engineers daily.

Recognizing that our clients seek cost-effective solutions to complex and otherwise protracted liability cases, we do our best to accommodate them as necessary through early assessment and reporting, facilitating negotiations, alternate dispute resolutions or summary judgment motions. Opposing counsels’ familiarity with the talents and tenacity of our highly skilled trial attorneys also contributes to early and favorable resolutions.

Through years of practice and involvement in countless design professional cases, we have cultivated a robust network of forensic consultants and construction experts in all areas, including design, scheduling and finance. Their knowledge and credibility substantially increase the likelihood of positive legal outcomes.

In addition to defending claims in state and federal courts, in alternate dispute forums, and before professional boards, we also advise clients concerning risk management, helping them reduce exposure to future claims. At the request of many claims managers, underwriters and insurance brokers, we are frequent presenters of seminars designed for architects and engineers. Seminars cover a broad range of timely topics relevant to professional liability, malpractice defense and risk management.

Frequently retained as monitoring counsel, our team provides a prompt analysis and evaluation of the claim exposure, manages the progress and cost of the defense, and assists in negotiating the insurer’s settlement contribution. When necessary, we help insurers identify potential coverage issues that may exist and navigate the claim to resolution while ensuring the insurer’s coverage obligations are fulfilled.