ACCL Membership Directory

Ava J. Abramowitz

  • The Offices of Ava J. Abramowitz
  • 38620 Lime Kiln Road
  • Leesburg, Virginia 20175
  • Email:
  • Phone: (703) 779-7483
  • Cell: (703) 608-5742
  • Company Phone: (703) 779-7483
  • Fax: (703) 779-7593


  • Undergraduate: B.A., cum laude Brandeis University (1970)
  • Law School: George Washington University Law School, JD 1980

Career History

  • Principal, The Offices of Ava J. Abramowitz (1996-Present)
  • Vice President for Program Services, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc. (1988-1996)
  • Deputy General Counsel, The American Institute of Architects (1985-1988)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Columbia (1981-1985)
  • Professional Staff, United States Senate Committee on the JUdiciary (1979 – 1981)

Professional Activities

A former assistant United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Ms. Abramowitz teaches negotiations at the George Washington University Law School and is the winner of its 2011 Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award. When not teaching, Ms. Abramowitz serves as a private mediator as well as a mediator for the federal courts of the District of Columbia. Formerly the deputy general counsel of The American Institute of Architects, Ms. Abramowitz is the author of The Architect’s Essentials of Negotiation (John Wiley & Sons 2009) and the writer of scores of chapters and articles on critical issues facing clients, contractors, and the design professions.


Ms. Abramowitz is a founding fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and a former member of its Board of Governors. Previously she served on the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry, which in 2008 presented her with its Cornerstone Award, the highest award the Forum gives for long-term, exceptional service to the construction industry, the public, and the legal profession, and, in 2013, presented her with its service award for leading the Forum through a nearly two year strategic overhaul of its planning and program direction.


Ms. Abramowitz is a  senior fellow of the Design Futures Council. She has also served as the first public member of the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards. Previously she served on the board of directors of The National Museum of Women in the Arts and of the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

ABA Committee on Dispute Resolution, ABA Forum Committee on the Construction Industry, American Institute of Architects

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

  • “The Key to Claims Free Projects – Identifying and Managing Construction Project Risk” AAA Handbook on Construction Arbitration and ADR (Juris Publishing, Inc., 2013)
  • “Negotiation”  The Fifteenth Edition of The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (John Wiley & Sons 2013)
  • The Architect’s Essentials of Negotiation. (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)
  • “How Cooperative Negotiators Settle Without Upending the Table” ((ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2006)
  • “Assertive Practice” Design Intelligence (Greenway/BPI Media 2005)
  • “Rethinking Architecture Education” Design Intelligence (Greenway/BPI Media 2003)
  • “Front-end Alignment: A/E Insights on Claims Prevention” (ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 1999)
  • “Speak Out: Ethics” Architecture Record (McGraw-Hill Companies, 1998)
  • “Managing Your Counsel” And “Respecting Your Copyright”, Design Intelligence, (Greenway/BPI Media, 1997)
  • “Asked And Answered”, a monthly column on risk management issues, AIArchitect, (AIA Press, 1995-1996)
  • “Architects And The Law”, “Managing Project Risks And Opportunities”, “Negotiating Agreement”, “Project Disputes”, The Twelfth Edition ofThe Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (AIA Press, 1994)
  • “Managing Claims Through Mediation: When Push Comes to Shove, How to Mediate Without Being Shoved”, Viewpoint (Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., 1993)

Court Admissions

District of Columbia (1980), State of Maryland (1985)

Community Activities

When not resolving disputes, Ms. Abramowitz caters to her second passion – renovating structures and forests. Locally, in Loudoun County where she lives, Ms. Abramowitz oversaw operations of the 660 acre farm that she and her husband, Neil Rackham, once owned, helping it win the state’s Conservation Farm of the Year award.  In that capacity she also managed the restoration of the many 18th and 19th century buildings found on the Farm, including an eight-time design award-winning log cabin.  Since they moved from the farm, she has been developing and implementing reforestation plans for some 50 acres, eradicating invasives and replacing them with native plants. Ms. Abramowitz has also served on the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance Review Committee and on the Rural Economic Development Committee.

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