ACCL Membership Directory

John R. Heisse

  • Partner, Construction Counseling and Dispute Resolution
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • 4 Embarcadero Center, 22nd Floor
  • San Francisco, California 94111


  • Undergraduate: B.C.E. Catholic University of America (1976) 
  • Law School: University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1980)

Honors and Activities

Order of the Coif; Thurston Society – University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Career History

1980-87              Braude Margulies Sacks & Rephan
1987-94              Pettit & Martin
1994-2008          Thelen LLP
2008-2011          Howrey LLP
2011-Present      Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Professional Activities

John R. Heisse is a partner in the San Francisco office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, and a past chair of its Construction Counseling & Dispute Resolution practice.  He graduated from the Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1976, and received his J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1980.  Since then, he has focused his practice on the legal issues and disputes facing the construction industry and has arbitrated, litigated, and mediated construction cases on complex projects across the US, including ballparks, hospitals, industrial facilities, roads, bridges, airports, pipelines, and alternative energy facilities.  He also serves as an arbitrator and mediator.

John served as the Chair of the ABA’s Forum on the Construction Industry, and is regularly ranked in publications such as Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal, and Legal 500.  He has been named one of the top 100 lawyers in Northern California each year since 2012.  In 2017, he was named “Construction Lawyer of the Year” by Who’s Who Legal.

He served as ACCL’s President in 2020-21.

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

  • Author, The Measure of Malpractice – A Further Rebuttal to The “Threshold Approach,” Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers, Winter 2014
  • Author, The Measure of Malpractice – A Rebuttal to The “Threshold Approach” to Evaluating Errors in Design, Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers, Summer 2011
  • Co-Author, Turning A Battleship: Design-Build on Federal Construction Projects, The Construction Lawyer (ABA Forum on the Construction Industry) Vol. 31, No. 1, Winter 2011
  • Editor, The Design/Build Deskbook (ABA Forum on the Construction Industry; First Edition-1997, Second Edition-2000, Third Edition-2004, Fourth Edition-2010)
  • Co-Author, AGCC Handbook of California Construction Law (Associated General Contractors of California, 1991)
  • Co-Author, California Construction Law (Federal Publications, Rev. Ed. 1995)
  • Pacific States Editor, State and Local Construction Contracting Source Book (ABA Public Contracts Law Section, 2002)
  • “Ethical Problems in Federal Contracts.” American College of Construction Lawyers (2011)
  • “Attracting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce.” Associated General Contractors of California, (2008)
  • “Risk Allocation in Standard Form Agreements: Who’s the Fairest of Them All?” ABA Forum of the Construction Industry, (2006). Moderator
  • “”Forensic Scheduling and the As-Built Delay Analysis.” Construction Superconference, (2006). Panelist

Court Admissions

  • Maryland, 1980
  • District of Columbia, 1981
  • California, 1988
  • Registered Foreign Lawyer, England and Wales, 2003

Community Activities

  • Giffords, Board Member, 2016-present
  • Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Co-Founder, Board Member, 1994-2016; Chair, 1994-1997
  • ACE Mentor Program, National Board Member, 2007-10; Leader’s Circle 2010-present
  • Catholic University of America, School of Engineering, Executive Board, Chair 2016, Board Member 2008-2016

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