ACCL Membership Directory

Val S. McWhorter

  • Founding Counsel
  • Smith Pachter McWhorter PLC
  • 8000 Towers Crescent Drive
    Suite 900
  • Vienna, Virginia 22182


  • Undergraduate: Bachelor of the Arts Washington & Lee University 1966
  • Law School: Juris Doctor Washington & Lee University 1969

Career History

  • Smith Pachter McWhorter PLC; Member, 1986-present
  • Wickwire Gavin & Gibbs, PC, Partner, 1986
  • King and King, Chartered, Associate, 1980-1986
  • Department of Navy, Assistant to the General Counsel, 1979-1980
  • Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council, Navy Legal Member, 1979-1980
  • Renegotiation Board, General Counsel, 1977-1979
  • King and King, Chartered, Associate, 1972-1977


Mr. McWhorter has focused his practice in the area of Construction law for over 40 years. His practice has included representing contractors in large, complex claims arising under federal, state, and local government contracts, as well as contracts between private parties.  These projects have included bridges, dams, transit systems, power plants and other larger infrastructure projects, nationwide.

Mr. McWhorter has engaged in substantial litigation before various Federal Boards of Contract Appeals, Federal Courts and State Courts. He has also served as an advocate in the mediation of construction contract disputes before numerous mediators involving a wide variety of projects.

Mr. McWhorter’s success in resolving construction contract disputes earned him nomination as Construction Man of the Year with Engineering News Record in 1991. He is a featured speaker on construction related issues at the National Construction Superconference, Industry and Bar Association meetings. Mr. McWhorter is a member of the Moles and the Beavers and the American College of Construction Lawyers where he served on the Board of Governors.

Professional Activities

  • American College of Construction Lawyers (Board Governors, 2011-2012), 2005-present
  • Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers (Construction, Band 1), 2004-present
  • Virginia / Washington DC Superlawyers (Construction), 2006-2015
  • International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (Construction), 2006-2014
  • Construction Man of the Year, Nominee (Engineering News Record, 1991)
  • The Moles (Executive Committee, 2007-2011) 1991-present
  • The Beavers, 2009-present (Board of Directors)
  • American Arbitration Association, Panel of Arbitrators
  • American Bar Association Public Contract Law Section (former committee officer and council representative)
  • American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section; Forum on Construction Industry
  • American Society of Civil Engineers, Associate
  • Best Lawyers in America (2014 – present)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Construction Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C., 2014 and 2017
  • Lawyer of the Year (Mediation) in Washington, D.C., 2015

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

  • Speaker:  “DRBs and Mediation,” DRBF 20th Annual Meeting & Conference, 2016
  • Co-Author: Richard F. Smith, Val S. McWhorter & W. Stephen Dale, Differing Site Conditions, ABA Forum on Construction Industry: Construction Law (American Bar Assoc.) (Allensworth, et al. ed., 2009)
  • Presenter: “Alternative Dispute Resolution Options,” The Moles Presentation, 2007
  • Co-Author: Prelitigation Discovery, Construction Litigation Deskbook (American Bar Assoc.) (Macpherson, et al. ed., 2006)
  • Speaker: “Mediation Advocacy,” ABA Dispute Resolution Section Presentation, 2004
  • Co-Author: Construction Disputes: Representing the Contractor, Third Edition (Aspen Publishers, Inc., 2001)
  • Speaker: “Construction Disputes, Information Technology and the Web,” E-Business in the Construction Industry, 2000
  • Co-Author: Mediation Strategies, Proving and Pricing Construction Claims, Third Edition (Aspen Publishers, Inc., 2000)
  • Speaker: “Advanced Project Delivery Systems,” ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2000
  • Speaker: Public Works Contracting Issues: “What Owners and Contractors Really Think About Each Other’s Claims,” Associated General Contractors, 2000
  • Speaker: “Purposes and Pathways, Project Delivery Systems and Risk,” ABA Forum on Construction Industry, 1998
  • Speaker: “Prospects, Performance, Profitability,” Virginia Construction Symposium, 1997
  • Author: Virtual Final Decision on Government Claims (26 Public Contract Law Journal 157, 1997)
  • Author: Disputing the Meaning of a Claim: The Fallout from Dawco Construction (23 Public Contract Law Journal 451, 1994)
  • Chapter Co-Author: Proving and Pricing Claims (Wiley Law, 1993)
  • Speaker:  The Construction SuperConference presentations:
    • Effective Use of Dispute Review Boards: Strategies and Stories from DRB Members and Legal Counsel, 2005
    • The “Seven Danger Signals” of a Sick Project, 2003
    • Working with Consultants and Outside Counsel in Complex Construction Disputes, 2002
    • Remedy Granting Provisions and Efficient ADR Techniques in Public Works Contracts, 2001
    • How Internet Based Construction Industry Portals Will Change the Work You Market and Procure Professional Services, 2000
    • Construction Claims in the 21st Century, 1998
    • Managing Construction Risk: The Reduction of Unforeseen Construction Costs Through Cradle-To-Grave Project Management, 1997
    • Reducing a Thirty Day Trial to a One Week Mediation

Court Admissions

  • Commonwealth of Virginia, 1969
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, admitted 1970
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1970
  • U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Virginia, admitted 1974
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, admitted 1982
  • United States Supreme Court, admitted 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia, admitted 2006

Community Activities

  • Appointed by Governor McAuliff to serve as a Commissioner on the Virginia Port Authority Board, 2014 – present
  • Appointed to the Washington & Lee Law School Law Dean’s Council, 2014 – present
  • George Mason University, Arts at Mason, Board Member 2004-present
  • Virginia Business Higher Education Council, Member, 2000-present
  • Virginia Commission on Higher Education Board Appointments, Appointed by Governor Kaine, Member, 2006-2010
  • Commission on Higher Education in Virginia, Appointed Member during the administration of Governor Wilder, 1995-1996
  • Virginia State Council of Higher Education, past Chairman, Appointed Member by Governor Wilder and reappointed by Governor Allen, 1990-1997
  • George Mason University, Board of Visitors, Vice Rector, Member, appointed by Governor Robb and reappointed by Governor Baliles, 1982-1990

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