ACCL Membership Directory

John E. Bulman

  • Partner
  • Pierce Atwood LLP
  • One Citizens Plaza, 10th Floor
  • Providence, Rhode Island 02903


  • Undergraduate: BA Hobart College 1980
  • Law School: J.D., cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center 1984

Honors and Activities

Editor, Law and Policy in International Business

Baccalaureate Essay Distinction

Career History

  • Partner, Tillinghast, Collins & Graham 1984-1995
  • Principal, Little Bulman Medeiros & Whitney, PC 1995-2013
  • Partner, Pierce Atwood LLP 2013-present


John Bulman has more than 25 years of experience in construction and commercial trial matters in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other states. He has served as counsel in trials, mediations and arbitrations in Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Ohio, and other states. John has argued cases before the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the First and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. John is repeatedly ranked by industry publications as among the top construction and alternative dispute resolution practitioners in New England.

His trial and arbitration experience includes both jury and jury-waived matters relating to construction claims, declaratory actions, refinery fire, usury claims, land access claims, non-competition, trade secret, insurance coverage disputes, CERCLA matters, contract indemnity claims, personal injury defense, franchise termination, partnership fraud and other matters. In the construction industry, John has arbitrated and tried cases involving design build issues, differing site condition claims, Eichleay and measured mile claims, specific performance, change order disputes, indemnity claims, disruption claims and surety takeover issues. The subject matters have included hydroelectric turbine operation and stability, structural concrete, wall-systems, metallurgy and FEA analyses, steel fabrication and design issues, pre-cast and post-tensioned concrete structures, micro-tunneling, solar power, biomass generator facilities, caisson and other pile driving issues, most commercial building trades and site work and geotechnical issues. He combines his extensive trial experience with his experience as a neutral arbitrator and court-appointed referee and brings to bear these perspectives in effective evaluation and presentation of cases. John has negotiated construction contracts on behalf of contractors, owners and subcontractors on a nationwide basis and frequently counsels clients on effective risk and claim avoidance.

Professional Activities

  • Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers
    • Board of Governors, 2013- 2016
    • Annual Meeting Program Chair, 2018
    • Secretary, 2019-2021
    • President-elect, 2021-2022
    • President, 2022-2023
    • Immediate Past President, 2023-2024
  • International Mediation Institute
    • Certified Mediator, 2010
  • American Arbitration Association
    • National Board of Directors, 2002-2014
    • Executive Committee, Board of Directors,  2010-2014
    • Practice and Management Committee, 2010-present; Chair, 2010-2014
    • Budget Committee, 2014-2020
    • Member, Large Complex Case Panel
    • Member, Master Mediator Panel
    • Member, National Mediation Panel
    • Member, National Commercial and Construction Arbitration Panel
    • Member, Construction Arbitrator Master Panel
  • National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee
    • Chair, Rules Subcommittee
    • Member, Executive Committee
  • American Bar Association
    • Member, Forum on Construction Law
  • Roger Williams University
    • Construction Management Professional Advisory Board, Vice Chair, 2018-2020
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
    • Fellow (FCIArb), 2019
  • International Bar Association
    • VIAC CDRC Vienna Mediation & Negotiation Competition-Expert Assessor, 2016-2019 and 2023
  • JAMS/Endispute
    • Mediation Training, 2000
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island
    • ADR Panel, 2017

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America
    • Selected for Arbitration, Mediation, Litigation-Construction, 2012-present
    • Selected for Construction & Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2007-2011
    • Providence Best Lawyers Construction Lawyer of the Year, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2019, 2024
    • Commercial Litigation, 2015-present
  • Chambers USA
    • Recommended in General Commercial Litigation, 2006-present
  • Superlawyers
    • Honored in Construction Litigation, 2007-2020
    • Named to Top Ten Rhode Island Superlawyers list, 2009, 2010, 2012
  • Outstanding Director Award, American Arbitration Association, 2007
  • Martindale-Hubbell
    • AV® Preeminent Rating – 20 years

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

Articles and Publications

  • Author, “A View from the Middle of the Table – A Mediator’s Practical Observations and Recommendations,” Under Construction, ABA Forum on Construction Law, Vol. 19 No. 3 (Spring 2018)
  • Co-Author, “What’s the Appeal of Arbitration? Overturning Arbitration Awards and the New Appellate Rules of Arbitration,” ABA Forum on Construction Law 2015 Fall Meeting (2015)
  • Co-Author, “A Tale of Two Lawyers: How Arbitrators and Advocates Can Avoid the Dangerous Convergence of Arbitration and Litigation,” 14 Cardozo J. of Conflict Resolution 683 (2013)
  • Contributing Author, “State-By-State Guide to Architect, Engineer, and Contractor Licensing,” Second Edition, Stephen G. Walker, Editor (2013)
  • Co-Author, “Managing Exchanges of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in Construction Arbitration,” Dispute Resolution Journal (August/October 2012)
  • Author, “You Have a Friend…Or Do You: Strategic Joint Defense/Prosecution Agreements in Construction Disputes, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (2012)
  • Co-Author, “Strategic Considerations in Construction Litigation: Article 2 of the UCC, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (2012)
  • Co-Author: “Harnessing Your Client’s Wind Power Rights,” Rhode Island Bar Journal (November/December 2010)
  • Co-Author: “The Uniform Commercial Code and Construction Law: The Possible Applicability of Article 2,” Construct!, Vol. 1 (2010)
  • Co-Author: “Taking on Too Much Water”, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (October 2007)
  • Contributing Author: Understanding Construction Delivery Methods in Massachusetts (Lorman Education Services, October 2003)
  • Contributing Author: Public Construction Law Source Book (Commerce Clearing House 2002)
  • Co-Author: “Implied Obligations of Owners Relating to Scheduling,” The Construction Lawyer, vol. 21, no. 3, Summer 2001
  • Co-Author: “Horns of a Dilemma: Too Much Involvement in Worksite Safety Can Backfire on Design Professionals,” The Construction Lawyer, vol. 21, no.2, Spring 2001
  • Contributing Author: Fifty State Monograph on the Enforceability of “No Damages for Delay Clauses” (1998 American Bar Association)
  • Contributing Author: State By State Survey of the Economic Loss Doctrine (1996 American Bar Association)
  • Contributing Author: State By State Survey of Statutes of Repose (1994 American Bar Association)

Speeches, Panel Discussions, Seminars

  • What Counsel and Witnesses Do That Drive Arbitrators Nuts!, SuperConference (Palos Verdes, CA), 2019
  • How Arbitrators Evaluate the Testimony of Schedule and Damage Experts, SuperConference (Las Vegas), 2018
  • Getting Off on the Right Foot: How Effective Preliminary Hearings Ensure Efficiency and Economy, SuperConference (Las Vegas), 2017
  • Modern Challenges and Ethical Dilemmas at Arbitration, Construction SuperConference (Las Vegas), 2016
  • Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget, AAA Construction Conference (Miami), 2016
  • The New AAA Construction Industry Rules, Construction SuperConference (San Diego) 2015
  • What’s the Appeal of Arbitration? Overturning Arbitration Awards and the New Appellate Rules of Arbitration, ABA Forum on Construction Law Fall Meeting, (Austin), 2015
  • A Litigator’s Guide to Arbitration: Best Practices to Maximize the Benefits of Your Next Arbitration, ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference (New Orleans), 2015
  • Point-Counterpoint: Litigation or Arbitration, MSU and Montana State Bar 10th Annual Construction Law Institute (Bozeman), 2014
  • Stories Mediators Tell: The Bad (and Ugly), AAA Mediation Week (Providence), 2014
  • Maximizing Efficiency & Economy in Arbitration: Challenges at the Preliminary Hearing, AAA Arbitrator Continuing Education (Providence), 2013
  • Managing the Arbitration Process for Efficiency & Economy Following the Preliminary Hearing, AAA Arbitrator Continuing Education (Providence), 2013
  • Optimizing Your Client’s Construction Arbitration Hearing, American Arbitration Association Construction Conference, (New York), 2012
  • Comparative Evolution of Arbitration in the United States and Australia, 4th International Construction Law Conference (Melbourne, Australia), 2012
  • You’ve Got a Friend, or Do You? How Do the Delivery Systems and Party Postures Impact Litigation Strategy and Procedures in Multi-Party Construction Claims?, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (Las Vegas), 2012
  • Building the Construction Arbitration Process to Optimize its Advantages, 26th Annual Construction Superconference (San Francisco), 2011
  • Practical and Procedural Considerations in Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation (Including Getting the Right People to the Party), Montana State Bar 7th Annual Construction Law Institute (Bozeman, MT), 2011
  • AIA A201 vs. ConsensusDOCS: A 10 Round Bout to Determine which is the Fairest Contract of Them All?, Associated General Contractor’s 92nd Annual Convention (Las Vegas), 2011
  • Chairing an Arbitration Panel, American Arbitration Association (Boston), 2010
  • Not on My Watch: How to Properly Manage a Construction Arbitration Case, American Arbitration Association (Orlando), 2010
  • Chairing an Arbitration Panel, American Arbitration Association (Providence), 2010
  • Maximizing ADR Advocacy for Today’s Economy, American Arbitration Association (New York & Los Angeles), 2009
  • Taking on Too Much Water, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (Newport), 2007
  • Chairing an Arbitration Panel, American Arbitration Association (Ireland), 2005
  • Arbitration Do’s and Don’ts, American Arbitration Association, 2005
  • Mediation Dos and Don’ts, RI Bar Association Annual Meeting, 2004
  • Disclosure, National Forum on Conflict Management in the Construction Industry, 2004
  • 2004 Ethics Rules, American Arbitration Association, 2004
  • Construction Delivery Systems In Massachusetts, Lorman Education Services, 2003
  • Managing Complex Arbitrations, American Arbitration Association, 2003
  • Case Management, American Arbitration Association, 2001
  • Worker’s Compensation Construction Issues, RI Department of Labor, 1999
  • Public Contracting, RI Associated General Contractors, 1994
  • Accountant Liabilities, Rhode Island CPA Society, 1994
  • Design Build Contracting, National Association of College & University Attorneys, 1991
  • Mr. Bulman has spoken to a variety of organizations and trade groups on litigation and construction topics including Rhode Island Association of Certified Public Accountants, Construction Finance Managers Association, Associated General Contractors, American Bar Association, National Association of College and University Attorneys, Associated Builders and Contractors and the Rhode Island Department of Labor.

Court Admissions

  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • Various U.S. District Courts and Courts of Appeal

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