5 Grist Mill Lane   |   Hingham, MA 02043 

Tel. 781.749.2990    |   Fax 480.287.9552

Focusing on Construction and Commercial Alternative Dispute Resolution 

With over 38 years of legal and management experience, including more than 13 years of senior management experience for the Owner on the $15B Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston, Mr. Dettman has a keen understanding of and sensitivity to the resolution of disputes in a variety of settings and circumstances. Mr.  Dettman’s consulting practice focuses on the use of all forms of dispute avoidance and dispute resolution in the construction industry and commercial sector, including dispute avoidance/resolution systems design, stakeholder engagement processes, training, partnering, facilitation, structured negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and Dispute Review Boards.

Mr. Dettman draws upon his legal and public management experience in the construction industry to foster construction and commercial dispute prevention and resolution, focusing on communication and consensus building among contractors, owners, attorneys, consultants and stakeholders.

Construction Industry Experience

  • Chief Counsel of $15B Central Artery/Tunnel Project, with oversight responsibility for 46 Dispute Review Boards on the Project.
  • Associate Project Director for Claim Resolution on the CA/T Project, managing the resolution of thousands of construction claims with a claimed value of over $460M.
  • Advisor to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation on its construction claims process and on multi-million dollar claims, including the $385M Rt. 3 North design build project and several bridge and highway projects with surety takeovers.
  • Chairperson/Member of Dispute Review Boards on: two $45M+, $88M, and $7M bridge projects, $120M, $200M, and $55M highway projects, $95M ventilation facility; $860M highway/bridge project.
  • Mediator on claims involving: a tunnel on wastewater project; cement plant project; and power plant upgrade.
  • Facilitator on negotiated settlement of transit system signals upgrade project.
  • Arbitrator on panel for airport rental car facility; arbitrator on construction termination claim.
  • Partnering Facilitator on highway and transit projects.
  • Lean design and construction coach on various construction projects.

Other Experience

  • Member of facilitator team on stakeholder engagement processes for environmental and transportation agencies.
  • Various securities arbitrations for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
  • Various mediations and arbitrations involving court matters.
  • Advisor on teams updating contract specifications for a city and a highway agency, focusing on claims specifications.
  • Advisor to team on a public private partnership project, focusing on dispute systems design.

ADR Training and Qualifications

  • 40-hour training by Mediation Works, Inc. and Harvard Program on Negotiation
  • Construction Arbitration and Mediation panels of the American Arbitration Association
  • Construction panel of International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution
  • Arbitrator panel of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  • Mediator and Facilitator panels of the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration
  • Arbitrator panel of the American Dispute Resolution Center, Inc.
  • Prequalified to serve on Dispute Review Boards

Organization Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Section of Dispute Resolution (past co-chair of the Arbitration Committee) and Forum on the Construction Industry (past)
  • Association for Conflict Resolution (co-chair of Commercial Section) (past)
  • Transportation Research Board (Member and Communications Coordinator of Committee on Contract Law)
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (Past-President of Region 1; Director of Region 1 Training; Co-Chair of Transportation Committee)
  • Lean Construction Institute (Member)
  • International Partnering Institute (Member, Professional Emphasis Group)

Professional Activities

Speaker at many conferences and groups about the use of alternative dispute resolution in the construction industry, including American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law Annual Federal Procurement Institute; Construction Management Association of America Annual Conference; Transportation Research Board’s Annual Legal Workshop and Annual Conferences; San Francisco and London Superconferences; American Road and Transit Builders Annual Conference; Connecticut Bar Association and Society of Civil Engineers; Federal ADR Working Group; Ohio Transportation and Engineering Conference; Construction Specifications Institute (NH chapter); National Contract Management Association (Boston Chapter); Caltrans Contract Law Workshop; American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Conferences; and American Society of Civil Engineers Annual Conference.   


DRBF Forum: “What Role Should Lawyers Play in the DRB Process?”; “’End of the Contract Claims’: Tips for Handling Complex Claims Before the DRB”; “The Use Of ‘Adjudication DRBs’ Where Parties Are Subject To Adjudication Or Arbitration Processes”; “The Role of Dispute Review Boards in Dispute Prevention”; “The Potential Use of Dispute Review Boards (DRBs) Outside the Construction Industry”; “The Use of DRBs in the Energy Industry; “To Admit or Not to Admit DRB Recommendations—That is the Question”; “The Potential Use of DRBs on Public Private Partnerships”; ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, The Construction Lawyer, “Resolving Megaproject Claims: Lessons from Boston’s “Big Dig”’ Michigan State Bar ADR Quarterly:  “Mediators as Settlement Process Chaperones: A New Approach to Resolving Complex, Multi-Party Disputes”; Co-author of chapter on “Changes, Claims and Dispute Resolution” in book published in 2010 by ACEC on Mega Project challenges; “Alignment Partnering: A Bridge to ADR Processes?”, Journal of Legal Affairs & Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction (May 2013); “Life Cycle Collaborative Conflict Management for Public Infrastructure Projects”, ACResolution (Summer 2013).

Background and Education

  • Constructive Dispute Resolutions, 2006 to Present (Principal)
  • Carter & Burgess, Inc., 2005 (Claims Services Manager)
  • Central/Artery Tunnel Project, 1992 to 2005 (Senior Counsel, Chief Counsel, Associate Project Director For Claim Resolution)
  • Hutchins & Wheeler, 1989 to 1992 (Senior Associate)
  • Palmer & Dodge,  1984 to 1989 (Associate and Senior Associate)
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. William Callow, Wisconsin Supreme Court 1983 to 1984
  • J.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (Managing Editor, Wisconsin Law Review)
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison (Phi Beta Kappa)
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