Professional Biography

Philip L. Bruner is a full-time arbitrator, mediator and resolver of disputes and claims arising out of construction, engineering, energy, infrastructure and development projects and other commercial endeavors in the United States and internationally. He is a Member of the JAMS national and international Panels of Neutrals.  He is Director of JAMS Global Engineering and Construction panel of neutrals, which provides innovative and cost-effective dispute resolution services to the U.S. and international construction industry. (See “neutrals” and “practices” at As a neutral, Mr. Bruner’s experience aggregates billions of dollars of claims and disputes. (See “Arbitration/Mediation Experience” page). He has extensive experience in management of domestic and international arbitration hearings, multi-party mediations, dispute review board proceedings and other ADR methods.

His construction industry experience extends to all types of related commercial transactions and disputes between project participants — government agencies, public or private owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, sureties, construction lenders, material and equipment manufacturers and suppliers, insurers, real estate developers, public procurement and private contracting representatives, building code and regulation enforcement officials, field inspectors and project and construction managers; and to all types of projects — building, energy and infrastructure  above and below ground, power plants, industrial manufacturing and processing plants, airports, hospitals, school buildings, high-rise office towers, public buildings, convention centers, courthouses, jails, prisons, hotels, theaters, sports arenas and stadiums, theme parks, residential apartments and condominiums, nuclear storage facilities, nuclear power plants, natural gas power plants,  dams, levees, river locks and piers, harbor facilities, natural gas processing facilities, solar energy farms, wind energy farms, hydro electric power plants, oil refineries, ethanol plants, above-ground and underground storage tanks, computer chip manufacturing clean rooms, corporate headquarters buildings, research facilities, commercial malls, shopping centers, railroad facilities and trackage, wastewater treatment plants, sanitary and storm water pipelines, natural gas pipelines, water pipelines, pipeline materials made of concrete, steel, ductile iron, oil and polyvinyl chloride, large diameter and micro bore tunnels, hard and soft ground tunnels and supports, highways, bridges, parking structures, concrete and asphalt mixing and testing, structural foundations, soil excavation and compaction, borrow pits, underground mining, open pit mining, strip mining, reinforced concrete structures, structural steel structures, roofing systems consisting of single-ply, double-ply or four-ply built-up materials, structural shoring systems, curtain-wall systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems, masonry materials and structures, structural glass, caulking systems, construction equipment and construction of the Trident class ballistic missile submarine.

His legal expertise extends to hundreds of legal issues arising out of commercial transactions and to construction, engineering, energy and infrastructure projects, such as arbitration and mediation; project delivery methods; contractual issues, formation, changes and variations, interpretation, inspection, and payment; implied contract obligations; excuses for non-performance; activity-related claims of extra work; time-related issues of delay, suspension, acceleration and disruption; contract “breaches” and “material breaches”; building codes; contract terminations for default and convenience; construction financing; tort law; surety and fidelity law; architect and engineer professional liability law; insurance law; international law affecting contract enforcement and dispute resolution; government contract law; law of contract, unjust enrichment and implied contract damages; and, statutory law affecting construction such as bidding, Uniform Commercial Code, suretyship and contractors’ performance and payment bonds, and mechanics liens.

Mr. Bruner is co-author with Patrick J. O’Connor, Jr. of BRUNER & O’CONNOR ON CONSTRUCTION LAW (ThomsonReuters/West 2002, supplemented annually), the 12 volume, 11,000-page legal treatise regarded as the most authoritative ever written on American law governing construction. Since its publication in 2002, the treatise has been cited as legal authority in more than 500 Westlaw reported judicial opinions authored by U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, U.S. District Courts, state supreme, appellate and trial courts, Federal and state courts of claims, and U.S. commonwealth and territorial courts. The treatise also has been cited in countless arbitration awards, national and international law review articles, administrative decisions, counsel briefs and memoranda of law. The treatise is included in the law collections of the U.S. Library of Congress, all major U.S. law school libraries and many foreign law libraries.

Mr. Bruner’s professional honors include Founding Fellow and past President of The American College of Construction Lawyers; Honorary Fellow of The Canadian College of Construction Lawyers; Fellow of The International Academy of Construction Lawyers; Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators; Chartered Arbitrator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London); Arbitrator Member of Britain’s Society of Construction Arbitrators; Certified Mediator, International Mediation Institute;  Arbitrator Member of the London Court of International Arbitration; Member of the International Chamber of Commerce U.S. National Arbitration and ADR Committee; Member of The Institute of Energy Law Panel of Arbitrators; Board member of The International Construction Law Association; Member of The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals; Fellow of the National Contract Management Association; and Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Mr. Bruner is a recipient of the 2005 Cornerstone Award presented by the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law to one lawyer annually for “exceptional service to the construction industry, to the public and to the legal profession”.  He also was awarded the 2011 Norman Royce Prize presented by Britain’s Society of Construction Arbitrators for scholarship in the field of construction dispute resolution.  He was recognized in 2011 by the Construction Lawyer (journal of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law) as a “giant of our field.”  He is vetted by International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers as one of the world’s leading commercial arbitrators, commercial mediators and construction lawyers, and since 2003 has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America.  Profiled for decades by Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in the World, the Marquis Who’s Who Publications Board has honored him with its 2018 Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to his co-authorship of the BRUNER & O’CONNOR treatise, Mr. Bruner has authored or co-authored more than 50 professional articles, such as: Construction Law: It’s Historical Origins and Its Twentieth Century Emergence as a Major Field of Modern American and International Legal Practice, 75:2 Ark. L. Rev. 207 (2022); Joinder of Nonsignatories in International Arbitration, 38 Int’l Construction L. Rev 266 (July 2021); Damage Recovery Measurement Issues Unique to Construction Disputes, 36 Int’l Construction L. Rev. 320 (July 2019); Streamlining Construction Arbitration: Reducing the Peril of “Double Jeopardy” in Dual-Track Proceedings, 38 Construction Lawyer 7 (Fall 2018); The Appeal of Appellate Arbitration, 35 Int’l Construction L. Rev 436 (Fall 2018); Evaluative Mediation of Complex Construction Disputes, 22 Singapore Construction Law 1 (January/February 2014); Mediating Public Sector Construction Disputes in the United States: “Square Corners”, “No Free Lunch” and Principles of Fairness, 30 Int’l Construction L. Rev. 201 (April 2013); Why Arbitrate?, 1 Court of Arbitration Lewiatan E-Review 8 (2012); Construction Mediation: Pick a Mediator with Experience in Dealing with Construction Industry Participants’ Differences in Outlook, 11 The Dispute Resolver 1 (Dec. 2012); Rapid Resolution ADR, 31 Construction Lawyer 6 (Spring 2011); The Initial Decision maker: The New Independent Dispute Resolver in American Private Building Contracts, 27 Int’l Construction L. Rev. 375 (July 2010); Global Construction ADR: Meeting an Industry’s Demand for Specialized Expertise, Innovation and Efficiency, (2009), 69 J.C.C.C.L; The Historical Emergence of Construction Law, 34 William Mitchell L. Rev. 1 (2007); The Construction Review, Construction Briefings Series (1982 – 2007); Strategic Generalship of the Complex Surety Case, in MANAGING AND LITIGATING THE COMPLEX SURETY CASE (Bruner and Haley, eds., 2007);  and, Force Majeure and Unforeseen Ground Conditions in the New Millennium: Unifying Principles and ‘Tales of Iron Wars'”, 17 Int’l Construction L. Rev. 47 (January 2000).

Mr. Bruner has chaired many professional conferences and has presented over 400 lectures to professional and industry audiences in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, India, Asia and Australia. Representative audiences he has addressed over the past twenty-five years include:

  • Canadian College of Construction Lawyers Annual Meeting, Montreal (2024).
  • The 40th Annual Meeting of the British Society of Construction Arbitrators, Taormina, Sicily (2024).
  • International Academy of Construction Lawyers Annual Meeting, The Hague (2024).
  • International Business Law Institute, Minneapolis (2024).
  • The 11th International Congress of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law (Opening Keynote Address), Sao Paulo (2023).
  • University of Arkansas Law Review Symposium on Construction Law and Academia (Opening Keynote Address), Fayetteville (2022).  
  • Society of Construction Law North America Inaugural Conference, Denver (2022).
  •  University of Stuttgart Master’s Program on International Construction Practice and Law, three-day International Arbitration Segment, Stuttgart (in person 2023, 2022, virtual 2021 and 2020, in person 2019, 2018 and 2017). 
  • The 10th International Congress of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law, Sao Paulo (virtual 2022).
  • Adani Institute of Infrastructure International Conference on The Future of Dispute Resolution in Infrastructure Sector,  Gugurat, India (Honored Guest, virtual 2021).
  • College of Commercial Arbitrators Virtual Annual Meeting, United States (2020).
  • Society of Construction Law India 2019 Construction Law and Arbitration Conference (Opening Keynote Address), New Delhi (2019).
  • Keio University/Int’l Construction Law Association Conference on International Construction Law and Dispute Resolution, Tokyo (2019).
  • University of Southern California Law School International Arbitration Conference, Los Angeles (2019).
  • International Academy of Construction Lawyers Annual Meeting, Cologne (2019).
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators International Arbitrator Accelerated Fellowship Training Program, Miami (2019).
  • The Masters Institute in Construction Contracting, three-hour lecture, Hilton Head, La Jolla and elsewhere (2019, 2018, 2016-1992).
  • Society of Construction Law 8th Annual International Conference, Chicago (2018).
  • Singapore Society of Construction Law, Singapore (2018, 2014).
  • The American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law, Fort Myers and other venues (2018, 2015, 2011).
  • 12th Annual Western Canada Commercial Arbitration Society Energy, Mining and Resources Arbitration Conference, Calgary (2018).
  • The American College of Construction Lawyers Annual Meetings (2024, 2017, 2013, 2011).
  • Peking University Law School and Int’l Construction Law Association Forum on China’s “One Belt One Road” Project, Beijing (2017). 
  • Britain’s Society of Construction Arbitrators, Taormina (Sicily), Alnwick, Nice, Istanbul and London (2024, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2012).
  • Society of Construction Law 7th Annual International Conference, New Delhi (2017). 
  • Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law Lecture on International Arbitration, Patiala, Punjab, India (2017).
  • High Court of New Delhi Mediation Lecture (2017).
  • New York County Bar Association, New York (2016).
  • Society of Construction Law 6th Annual International Conference, Sao Paulo (2016).
  • Construction Law Summit, Minneapolis (2015). 
  • The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, Calgary (2014).
  • The American Bar Association’s Arbitration Institute, Washington 
    DC (2014, 2012, 2011).
  • The Canadian College of Construction Lawyers, Vancouver and other venues (2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007).
  • Hamline University School of Law, Dispute Resolution Institute, St. Paul (2014).
  • Poland’s National Chamber of Legal Advisers, Warsaw (2013).
  • The FIDIC Americas Conference, Washington DC (2013).
  • The American and Canadian Program hosted by The Societies of Construction Law of Australia and New Zealand, Melbourne (2012).
  • The American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution,
    Washington DC (2011).
  • The American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) national webcast on “Top Ten Cost-Efficient Construction Dispute Resolution Methods” (2010).
  • The Society of Construction Law 2010 International Conference Hong Kong (2010).
  • Joint Meeting of the Society of Construction Law United Kingdom and The American College of Construction Lawyers, London (2008).
  • The American Bar Association’s Conference on Complex Surety Cases (2007). 
  • The ACCL Princeton Symposium, Princeton (2006).

Over his career, Mr. Bruner has spoken in person to international professional audiences in Alnwick (England), Barcelona, Beijing, Calgary, Chicago, Cologne, Halifax, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne (Australia), Miami, Montreal, New Delhi, New York, Nice, Patiala (India), Princeton, Quebec City, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Stuttgart, Taormina (Sicily), The Hague, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Warsaw and Washington DC.

Mr. Bruner taught construction law as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School (2003-2007) and at William Mitchell College of Law (2006-2008).  He also taught government contract law and Commercial Contract law at William Mitchell College of law (1970-1976).  He is Chair of the Advisory Board of ThomsonReuters’ Construction Contract Law Reports, Co-Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of The American College of Construction Lawyers, and an Editorial Advisory Board Member of The International Construction Law Review published in London and distributed globally.

Mr. Bruner earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Princeton University, Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Michigan Law School, and Master of Business Administration Degree from Syracuse University. Following law school graduation, and three years of active-duty service to rank of Captain as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force, Mr. Bruner engaged for 40 years in the private practice of law in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, during which time he was lead counsel in over 100 arbitrated or litigated construction, engineering, infrastructure, energy and other disputes venued in more than 30 U. S. states. For 17 years prior to joining JAMS on January 1, 2008, he was a senior partner and founding head of the Construction Law Group of the international law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP (now Faegre, Drinker, Biddle and Reath) with offices then in Minneapolis, Denver, Des Moines, Boulder, London, Frankfurt and Shanghai. Mr. Bruner is admitted to practice before the Supreme Courts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and a number of U.S. District Courts.