ACCL Membership Directory

Lester Edelman

  • Senior Counsel & Senior Advisor
  • Dawson & Associates Inc.
  • 1225 I Street NW
    Suite 500
  • Washington, District of Colombia 20005
  • Email:
  • Phone: (703) 941-1641
  • Cell:
  • Company Phone: (202) 289-2060
  • Fax: (703) 941-0028


  • Undergraduate: Boston College
  • Graduate: John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard)
  • Law School: Boston University/1954, Columbia/1956

Career History

For nearly 20 years, Les was the Chief Counsel of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Senior Policy Advisor to the Chief of Engineers in Washington, D.C.  This involved responsibility for managing more than 400 lawyers worldwide.

His emphasis as Chief Counsel was on preventive law and on finding better ways to prevent and resolve disputes. Recognizing that litigation often imposes an unacceptable price on the Government and on society, he focused his energies and those of the Corps of Engineers toward becoming part of the solution to this problem by pioneering in the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and partnering (dispute avoidance) techniques instead of costly litigation.  Les continues to apply and foster this mindset in issues brought to Dawson & Associates.

Prior to overseeing the Corps of Engineers legal team, Les spent 11 years as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Public Works and Transportation (now Transportation and Infrastructure) where he played a key role in the creation and enactment of major legislation including:

  • Clean Water Acts of 1972 and 1977
  • The Airline Deregulation Act
  • The Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act
  • The Uniform Relocation and Real Property Acquisition Act
  • A series of Water Resources Development, Federal Highway, Urban Mass Transportation and Economic Development Acts.

For a current bio as Senior Counsel/Senior Advocate with Dawson & Associates see


  • Presidential Ranking of Distinguished Executive in the Senior Executive Service, personally presented by President George H.W. Bush (1992); two time recipient of Presidential Ranking of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service (1988 & 1983)
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented  in a special open session of the full court in Washington, DC
  • Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Marvin M. Black Lifetime Achievement Award for Pioneering, Cooperation with the Construction Industry and Exemplifying the Highest Ideals of Partnering
  • Dredging Contractors of America William R. Murden Lifetime Public Service Achievement Award
  • “Captain of the Industry” – Construction Business Review
  • Engineering News Record (ENR) Award for Exceptional Service to the Construction Industry
  • The Army Engineer Association on behalf of the Engineer Regiment awarded the Silver Order of the de Fleury Medal for inspirational leadership to the US Army Corps of Engineers
  • The Secretary of the Army’s Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service (1998 & 1993
  • The National Performance Hammer Award for ADR/Partnering Team’s “Contribution to Building a Government that Work Better and Costs Less”
  • Cited for leadership role in Partnering and ADR in “Reinventing Government” in Vice President Al Gore’s book “Common Sense Government” and for which Les was invited to a Reception for Industry Leaders hosted at the White House Rose Garden

Professional Activities

Les Edelman is the Senior Counsel & Senior Advocate for Dawson & Associates, the nation’s premier firm for resolving complex challenges involving Federal water resources, military construction and environmental regulatory policy and procedures. His expertise and the firm’s core business is focused on assisting clients with Federal agency decisions and Congressional actions involving these programs. Major services cover the policies and procedures of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense and related actions of other agencies.

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

  • Numerous articles on ADR, partnering, water quality resources, procurement and “Pride in Public Service.”

Speeches, Panel Discussions, and Seminars:

  • Over 100 in the past ten years

Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts, US Court of Federal Claims

Community Activities

Community Activities and Public Service:

  • Chief Counsel, US Army Corps of Engineers (1979 to 1998)
  • Counsel, Committee on Public Works & Transportation,
  • US House of Representatives (1968-1979)

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