ACCL Membership Directory

Clifford Shapiro

  • Arbitrator and Mediator
  • Shapiro Dispute Resolution LLC
  • 615 Elmwood Ave
  • Wilmette, Illinois 60091


  • Undergraduate: B.A. Economics Washington University in St. Louis 1978
  • Law School: JD George Washington University, Washington D.C. 1982

Honors and Activities

Chambers USA, Band 1, Construction-Illinois, 2014-2021

Lawyer of the Year 2021 – Chicago-Construction – Best Lawyers

Top Ten List for Construction Lawyers, Leading Lawyers-Illinois, 2020-2021

The Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2021

Order of the Coif (B.A. 1978)

High Honors (J.D. 1982)

Career History

Shapiro Dispute Resolution LLC – January 1, 2021 – Present (Owner)

Barnes & Thornburg, LLP – Chicago – 2007-2020 (Partner and Chairperson Construction Law Practice Group)

Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd. –  Chicago – 1985-2007 (Partner and Chairperson Construction Law Practice Group) (merged with Reed Smith 2007)

Jenner & Block – Chicago – 1984-1985 (associate)

Weinberg & Green – Baltimore, MD – 1982-1984 (associate)



Clifford (“Clif”) Shapiro is a Chicago based arbitrator and mediator with over 36 years of experience resolving construction disputes.  As an arbitrator and mediator, he has handled numerous matters involving large, complex, multi-party claims, as well as less complex disputes between two parties.  In his prior private practice, Clif represented owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in virtually every kind of dispute related to a construction project, including construction and design defect claims, professional liability claims, delay, disruption and/or acceleration claims, extra work claims and mechanic lien claims.  The claim amounts for certain of these matters exceeded $100 million and involved projects with values exceeding $6 billion.

Clif is also well known for having in-depth knowledge about construction related insurance issues and the ability to use that knowledge to help resolve claims. His published articles are cited and quoted in numerous court decisions, including several state supreme court cases.  Clif’s insurance knowledge base includes commercial general liability (CGL) (including “wrap” insurance products), builder’s risk, and professional liability insurance.

Clif has served as an arbitrator or mediator in more than 35 cases.  Specific recent experience as an arbitrator and mediator includes:

  • Arbitrator – Chair of AAA large complex case arbitration panel for multi-million dollar claims arising out of the construction of a landmark glass clad building erected on a college campus. Matter included pre-hearing discovery disputes and eight days of live hearings with some witnesses appearing remote.
  • Arbitrator – Member of AAA large complex case panel for multi-party claims
    arising out of the construction of luxury apartment buildings in Missouri. More than 40 different defect and economic claims exceeding $35 million were presented during two weeks of live hearings and three weeks of virtual hearings via Zoom. Panel issued 46 page Award.
  • Arbitrator – Member of arbitration panel for complex multi-million dollar first party insurance coverage claims arising out of the construction of a new landmark bridge between New York and New Jersey.
  • Mediator – $30 million eight-party construction dispute arising out of the construction of a high-rise mixed-use condominium located in Chicago.  Successful global resolution of all claims was obtained using a two phase mediation process that included (a) an in-person mediation at which the parties presented their experts, and (b) a Zoom mediation that was attended by the condominium association and the insurer that issued a wrap insurance policy for the project.
  • Mediator – $20 million first party insurance dispute between Chicago hotel owner and insurer arising out of alleged business interruption and extended period of indemnity loss caused by civil unrest and property damage that closed the hotel during the pandemic.  All claims successfully resolved through an in-person mediation.
  • Mediator – Multi-million dollar construction dispute between general contractor and prime mechanical subcontractor arising out of alleged delay and disruption that occurred when water damaged numerous units during the construction of a mixed-use high rise condominium in Denver.  All claims successfully resolved following an in-person mediation held in Colorado.
  • Mediator – Complex construction claims exceeding $40 million between owner and general contractor arising out of construction of chemical plant in West Virginia, including termination, delay, disruption, liquidated damages and excessive billing under T&M contract.  In-person mediation held in West Virginia.
  • Mediator – Multi-party construction dispute arising out of the construction of a high-rise mixed-use condominium located in Chicago. Successful resolution of complex claims obtained using a “hybrid” Zoom mediation process and extended post- mediation negotiations with insurance carriers.
  • Mediator – Multi-party construction and design claims exceeding $36 million arising out of construction of a luxury high rise apartment tower in Chicago. Successful resolution of Phase I claims obtained at mediation conducted via Zoom.  Successful resolution of the primary Phase II claims related to the building façade was obtained following an additional mediation held via Zoom.
  • Mediator – Multi-party construction and design claims arising out of the construction of a warehouse and office project in Illinois. Successful resolution of all claims obtained at mediation held via Zoom.
  • Mediator – Complex commercial dispute between owner and property manager involving multiple property management contracts for apartment buildings located in Illinois.  Successful resolution of claims obtained at mediation held via Zoom.

Specific ADR experience while in private practice includes:

  • Mediation of hundreds of design claims arising out of a multibillion-dollar airport runway expansion project. On behalf of municipality, created, negotiated, and implemented custom multi-step mediation process to address and resolve all claims against eight parties. Successful resolution included settlement of complex insurance issues under a $50 million wrap professional liability policy.
  • Arbitration and mediation of claims involving more than $100 million arising out of construction of a large Chicago hospital. Successful resolution at mediation on behalf of prime exterior cladding subcontractor included settlement of both construction and related insurance issues under CGL and professional liability insurance policies.
  • Arbitration and mediation of claims exceeding $40 million arising out of large
    modernization project for multi-national client’s U.S. chemical production facility in South Carolina, including complex claims for breach of contract, delay and disruption. All claims successfully resolved at mediation.
  • Mediation of federal court multi-party “bet the company” litigation arising out of construction of 16 acre warehouse. Successfully resolved all claims on behalf of prime subcontractor that built the facility, including resolution of critical insurance claims and issues that provided payment of defense and settlement costs.
  • Mediation of complex $10 million multi-party claims arising out of the design and installation of a unique four-story glass lobby wall during construction of a high rise office tower in Chicago.

Professional Activities

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers (2012-Present)
  • Member, American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Member and past president, Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys
  • Inaugural member, American College of Coverage Counsel
  • AAA National Roster of Arbitrators for Construction and Commercial Disputes
  • AAA National Roster of Mediators for Construction and Commercial Disputes

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

Clif has published numerous articles and frequently speaks throughout the United States about how best to resolve construction claims and insurance related issues. Clifford’s articles about insurance coverage for construction defect claims have appeared in several national publications, and have been cited in numerous court opinions (including several decisions issued by state supreme courts).  These decisions include:

  • K&L Homes, Inc. v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co., 2013 WL 1364704 (N. Dakota Sup. Ct. 2013 (majority decision; prior law overruled)
  • Westfield Ins. Co. v. Custom Agri. Sys., Inc., 979 N.E.2d 269 (Ohio Sup. Ct. 2012) (dissenting opinion)
  • Greystone Construction, Inc. v. National Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 661 F.3d 1272 (10th Cir. 2011) (applying Colorado law)
  • Sheehan Construction Company, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Company, 935 N.E.2d 160 (Ind. Sup. Ct. 2010) (majority decision; prior law overruled)
  • United States Fire Ins. Co. v. J.S.U.B., 979 So. 2d 871, 886 n.9 (Fla. 2007)
  • Lee Builders, Inc. v. Farm Bureau Mutual Ins. Co., 137 P.2d 486, 491-494 (Kan. Sup. Ct. 2006)
  • Lennar Corp. v. Great American Ins. Co., 200 S.W.3d 651, 672-673 (Tex. App. 2006)
  • General Security Indemnity Co. of Arizona v. Mountain States Mutual Cas. Co., 205 P.3d 529 (Colo. App. 2009)

Court Admissions

Illinois State and Federal Courts

Trial Bar N.D. IL

Community Activities

Board of Directors, Chicago Architecture Center (2019 to present)

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