Robert J. Smith

Robert J. Smith

Akerman LLP

Recognized since 2007

Madison, Wisconsin

Practice Areas

Construction Law

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Construction Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Construction Law
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Bob Smith’s practice is concentrated on the prevention and resolution of construction contract disputes, built on over 40 years of experience. He is widely sought after as an Arbitrator and Dispute Board Member because of his experience and civil engineering background. He is internationally known for his knowledge and application of structured contractual and construction risk identification and allocation to prevent disputes. In addition, he is an authority on the selection and integration of construction contracting best practices for major construction projects, another proactive process to prevent disputes.

Bob is a Past-President of the American College of Construction Lawyers. His experience and qualifications have been recognized by appointing authorities including FIDIC (President’s List of Approved Adjudicators), the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (Member, Construction Panel), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution and the American Arbitration Association (Member, Construction Panel).

Bob has been recognized by numerous publications for his work, including The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America, and the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation.


  • One South Pinckney Street, Suite 700
    Madison, WI 53703


  • English

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Bar


  • American Arbitration Association, National Construction Panel, Member; National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee - Member
  • American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law, Past State and Regional Chair; Forum Committee on the Construction Industry, Contract Documents Division, - Member
  • American College of Construction Lawyers - President
  • American Society of Civil Engineers - Fellow and Life Member
  • CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Construction Advisory Committee, Construction Panel - Member
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation - Co-Founder, Board of Directors
  • International Chamber of Commerce, Commission on Arbitration - Task Force on Dispute Boards, U.S. Delegate
  • International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) - Official Observer to United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Working Goup I - Procurement
  • International Tunneling Association, Working Group 3 - Contractual Practices - U.S. Delegate
  • National Academy of Construction - Member
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering - Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Akerman LLP
Madison, Wisconsin

216 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

83 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America awards

Best Law Firms Badge Full Firm Profile

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Construction Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Construction Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Construction Law, Madison (2021)
  • Construction Law, Madison (2011)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Construction Law

Special Focus

  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Architects and Engineers
  • Construction Disputes
  • Contract Review and Negotiation
  • Contractors


  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Rated
  • International Who's Who of Construction Lawyers 2007-2010
  • Who's Who Legal, Listed for Construction, 2014
  • The Legal 500 2012-2014, Recommended for Real Estate & Construction - Construction
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, Recipient of Mathews Award for "Dispute Board Excellence"
  • University of Wisconsin, Recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award for "Service to Construction Worldwide"
  • International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), President's List of Approved Adjudicators

Published Works and Lectures

Lectures on Construction Contract Best Practices and Dispute Resolution:

  • Speaker at numerous dispute resolution educational programs of the American Arbitration Association and the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry
  • American Society of Civil Engineers, Hong Kong Section, Japan Section (Tokyo and Kobe), Thailand Group (Bangkok), and Indonesia Section (Jakarta)
  • American Institute of Architects, Paris, France Chapter
  • Canadian Tunneling Association
  • Center for International Legal Studies, Salzburg, Austria
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, Budapest, Hungary and Istanbul, Turkey
  • India Construction Law Association, New Delhi
  • International Tunneling Association, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Washington, D.C. and Vienna, Austria
  • Kochi University of Technology, Japan
  • Templeton College, Oxford University, England
  • World Bank, Washington, D.C.
  • Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea


  • International Construction Law Review 549, Author, "Allocation of Risk -- The Case for Manageability," 1996
  • Avoiding and Resolving Disputes During Construction: Successful Practices and Guidelines, Contributing Author, Technical Committee on Contracting Practice of the Underground Technology Research Council, 1991
  • Construction Dispute Review Board Manual, Co-Author, McGraw-Hill, 1996
  • Tunneling and Underground Space Technology, Author, Vol. 9, "Dispute Review Boards for Tunneling Projects Using the ASCE Model," 1994
  • 1995 Proceedings of the Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference, Co-Author, "Dispute Review Boards: Current Status and Recommendations," 1995
  • Proceedings of the World Tunnel Congress, Stuttgart, Germany, Author, "Dispute Review Boards: When and How to Benefit from a Successful Contracting Practice," 1995
  • Preventing and Resolving Construction Disputes, Contributing Author, Center for Public Resources, 1991
  • Quality in the Constructed Project, Chapter Author, 2nd Edition, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1999
  • International Construction Law Review 40, Author, "Risk Identification and Allocation: Saving Money By Improving Contracts and Contracting Practices," 1995

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