ACCL Membership Directory

Clifford Shapiro

  • Litigator, Arbitrator, Mediator
  • Partner and Chair, Construction Law Practice Group - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • One North Wacker Drive
    44th Floor
  • Chicago, Illinois 60606
  • Email:
  • Phone: 312-214-4836
  • Cell:
  • Company Phone: 312-357-1313
  • Fax: 312-759-5646


  • 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, 2008-2018; Band 1, Construction-Illinois, 2014-2020

Top Ten Construction Lawyer, Leading Lawyers Illinois, 2020

The Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2020

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

Order of the Coif (B.A. 1978)

High Honors (J.D. 1982)

Career History

Barnes & Thornburg, LLP – Chicago – 2007-present (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 Shapiro works every day to resolve construction disputes as Chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s Construction Law Practice Group.  With more than 35 years of experience, he handles and resolves virtually any kind of dispute that can arise related to a construction project, including claims for termination, delay and/or disruption, extra work, construction defect, warranty, and professional liability.  He also adds value by helping his clients address and resolve insurance coverage issues that arise in the construction claim context, including claims for defense and/or indemnity under commercial general liability policies, builder’s risk policies, professional liability policies and “wrap” insurance programs.

In addition to being an experienced advocate, Clifford serves as a mediator and arbitrator in connection with construction and insurance claims. He is a formally trained mediator and arbitrator, and is listed on the American Arbitration Association’s national roster of arbitrators for construction, insurance and commercial claims.

Specific Experience Includes:

  • Counsel for a multi-national chemical company as the owner in arbitration and mediation proceedings arising out of a modernization project for a U.S. production facility involving complex breach of contract, delay and disruption claims exceeding $40 million.
  • Multi-party mediation (and arbitration) of claims involving more than $100 million in damages arising out of the construction of a large Chicago hospital.
  • Counsel for a prime exterior cladding subcontractor. Ability to settle claims at mediation required resolution of related insurance coverage issues under CGL and professional liability insurance policies.
  • Counsel for a subcontractor in a federal court multi-party “bet the company” case arising out of the construction of a 16 acre standing seam metal roof on a warehouse that leaked. Settlement of construction claims required the resolution of related issues under client’s CGL policy.
  • Counsel for a large German REIT owner in litigation and mediation of construction and design defect claims arising out of a unique and complex four story glass lobby wall supported by stainless steel cable cables. Successful resolution of all claims at mediation achieved, in part, due to ability to successfully resolve related insurance coverage issues under CGL and professional liability insurance policies.
  • Counsel for a large municipality in connection with hundreds of design claims arising out of a multi-billion dollar airport runway expansion project. Created, negotiated and implemented custom mediation process under which eight parties addressed and successfully resolved all claims within 18 months at a fraction of the cost of litigation. . Settlement also required resolution of complex issues under a $50 million wrap professional liability insurance policy.
  • Insurance coverage counsel for a large Japanese general contractor in connection with $100 million insurance claim under CGL policies for damage caused by the subcontractor’s defective sub-surface concrete work at an automobile parts plant located in Indiana.
  • Counsel for developers, contractors and prime subcontractors in mediation, arbitration and litigation for construction and insurance claims arising out of the construction of high rise residential towers, condominiums, apartments and school dormitories, including claims for water intrusion, condensation and/or mold.

Mr. Shapiro received his B.A. magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and his J.D. with High Honors from George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C, where he was a member of the Law Review and awarded Order of the Coif.

Professional Activities

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers (2012)
  • 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
  • Trained mediator, American Arbitration Association
  • Trained arbitrator, American Arbitration Association

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

Clifford 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).


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

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