5 Grist Mill Lane   |   Hingham, MA 02043 

Tel. 781.749.2990    |   Fax 480.287.9552

Experience & Qualifications

With over 30 years of legal 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 current consulting practice focuses on the use of all forms of dispute avoidance and dispute resolution, including dispute resolution systems design, stakeholder engagement processes, training, partnering, facilitation, settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and Dispute Review Boards.

Central Artery/Tunnel Project (Boston, MA)

Mr. Dettman was involved with this $15B project from 1992 to 2005, advancing from Senior Counsel, to Chief Counsel, to Associate Project Director for Claims Resolution. As the project’s lead attorney, he managed all legal matters on the project, including construction claims, design claims, environmental regulatory issues, owner controlled insurance program, alternative dispute resolution, cost recovery, procurement, contract negotiation and administration, inter-governmental relations and agreements, conflicts of interest, ethics, regulatory oversight, labor, employment, building issues, DBE regulations, environmental and right of way litigation, civil and criminal investigations, and legislation.

Becoming Associate Project Director for Claims Resolution in May of 2003, Mr. Dettman managed a 110-person staff and numerous outside consultants. He was responsible for preparing and implementing a negotiation/mediation process to resolve over 5,000 open issues/claims with a claimed value of over $600M. He oversaw the teams that settled out on a global basis several major contracts with claims totaling over $460M using a combination of negotiation and mediation.

Experience Post-CA/T Project

  • Chief Counsel of $15B Central Artery/Tunnel Project, managing all legal issues 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
  • Advised Princeton University regarding a system to resolve a claims backlog on the $50M Lewis Library Project.
  • Acted as liaison between outside counsel and expert team on a City of Boston lawsuit involving settlement of a multi-million dollar claim arising out of the installation of a City high school campus fire protection system.
  • Assisted the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and the Massachusetts Highway Department on a redesign of the construction claims process; resolving Takeover Agreements and claims with various bonding companies; and advising on the resolution of multi-million dollar claims.
  • Lead the negotiation team to complete and close out in mediation the $385M Rt. 3 North design-build project, including the resolution of $100M+ claims.
  • Service as the Chairperson of Dispute Review Boards on two $45+ million bridge projects; an $88M bridge project; and a $200M highway interchange; DRB Member on a $120M+ highway project; on a $94M tunnel ventilation structure; a $7.2M bridge retrofit project; a $38M highway upgrade project; a $860M bridge project; and a $63M highway upgrade project.
  • Served as a facilitator/mediator on a $220M sewer project to assist the parties in negotiating a project completion plan and resolving commercial claims on the project.
  • Served as mediator on $1B cement plant project on a claim between a subcontractor and the owner.
  • Served as a facilitator on negotiations to resolve multi-million dollar claims and counterclaims on an upgrade of a transit signals system.
  • Served as mediator on a contractor-supplier claim involving an energy upgrade project.
  • Served as member of facilitator team on stakeholder engagement processes for an environmental agency and serving on a team for a transportation agency.
  • Served on arbitration panel involving claims on an airport car rental facility.
  • Served as an arbitrator on a franchise termination dispute.
  • Served as an arbitrator on a residential development project.
  • Served as “mediation coach” to a state department of transportation on a mediation process involving contractor claims on several highway projects.
  • Served as a mediator on a claim between a state department of transportation and a national contractor.
  • Served as a mediator on school building claims.
  • Served as an arbitrator on a construction project termination claim.
  • Various mediations and arbitrations involving court matters, construction claims and commercial claims.

ADR Qualifications And Training

Mr. Dettman has received training for and has been accepted on the following panels:

  • Construction Panel of Neutrals of the American Arbitration Association (Arbitration and Mediation Panels)
  • Construction Panel of the International Institute For Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR)
  • Arbitrator Panel of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  • Arbitrator Panel of the American Dispute Resolution Center, Inc.
  • Arbitrator/Mediator/DRB Panels of Construction Dispute Resolution Services, LLC
  • Mediator and Facilitator Affiliate Practitioner of the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution and Public Collaboration (also provisionally approved as Trainer)
  • Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation (40-hour Mediation Workshop for Lawyers)
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation Member, Chairperson and International Practice training
  • Caltrans Dispute Resolution Board Member and Dispute Resolution Advisor training

Organization Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Section of Dispute Resolution (Co-chair of the Arbitration Committee) and Forum on the Construction Industry (Member of Division 1--Dispute Resolution)
  • Association for Conflict Resolution (Past Co-Chair of the Commercial Section; Member of the Commercial Section Leadership Advisory Council)
  • Transportation Research Board (Member and Communications Coordinator, Committee on Contract Law, Legal Resources Division)
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (President-Elect Region 1; Director of Training for Region 1; Chair of DRBF Training Committee; Co-Chair of the Region 1 Transportation and Energy Committees)
  • Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (Affiliate Practitioner)
  • Lean Construction Institute (Member; Chairperson Finance Committee of the LCI New England CoP Core Group)
  • Massachusetts Uniform Mediation Act Working Group (Process, Legislative and Public Sector Committees) (Past)

Training Experience

  • Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Contractors Association on the ODOT Dispute Resolution Process and on Partnering Facilitation
  • Construction Dispute Resolution Services LLC on Arbitration and DRB Administration and Practice
  • Idaho Transportation Department on DRB Administration and Practice
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation on DRB Administration and Practice
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators on DRBA Administration and Practice
  • Ohio Department of Transportation on DRB Administration and Practice
  • West Virginia Division of Highways on DRB Administration and Practice and How to Present to a DRB
  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation on DRB Administration and Practice
  • Hydro Quebec on DRB Administration and Practice and Chairing
  • Toronto Transit Commission on DRB Administration and Practice, Chairing and How to Present to a DRB
  • Michigan Department of Transportation on DRB Administration and Practice
  • Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association on How to Present to a DRB
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on How to Present to a DRB


Published articles on Dispute Review Board practice in the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation Forum, including “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 Partnership Projects”; “The Hong Kong Dispute Resolution Advisor:  An Alternative to Conventional Dispute Review Boards?”; “Dispute Adjudication Boards and Dispute Review Boards: Comparison and Commentary”; "Optimizing the Use of DRBs on Construction Manager/General Contractor and Design Build Projects"; “Optimizing the Use of Partnering and DRBs on Projects”; and “Optimizing the Use of Partnering and DRBs on Projects: User Agency Experience”. 

Co-author of articles in the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, The Construction Lawyer, entitled “Resolving Megaproject Claims: Lessons from Boston’s “Big Dig”’ and The Michigan State Bar ADR Quarterly entitled:  “Mediators as Settlement Process Chaperones: A New Approach to Resolving Complex, Multi-Party Disputes”.

Co-author of a chapter entitled “Claims, Changes and Disputes” in the book entitled Megaprojects: Challenges and Recommended Practices, published by the American Council of Engineering Companies (2010).

Co-author of an article entitled “How Can Trade Partners Go “Lean”?” for The Professional Contractor (2010).

Co-author of an article entitled “Manage Claims Proactively To Reduce Costs” for Business Insurance (2011).

Co-author of an article entitled “The Real Meaning of ‘Prompt’ in the Prompt Pay Law” for High Profile Facilities Development News (2011).

Co-author of an article “How and Why the Standing Neutral Dispute Prevention and Resolution Technique Can Be Applied” for Alternatives, the newsletter of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (2011).

Co-author of an article “Alignment Partnering: A Bridge to ADR Processes?”, Journal of Legal Affairs & Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction (May 2013).

Co-author of an article “Life Cycle Collaborative Conflict Management for Public Infrastructure Projects”, ACResolution (Summer 2013)

Professional Activities

Mr. Dettman has spoken about the use of ADR in the construction industry, including:

  • FTA Construction Roundtable: “Claim Avoidance and Resolution on Transit Projects”
  • American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law Annual Federal Procurement Institute:  “Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Central Artery/ Tunnel Project” 
  • Construction Management Association of America Annual Conference:  “Contrasting ADR Methods”
  • Transportation Research Board Annual Legal Workshop and Annual Conference: “The Partnering and Dispute Resolution Process on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project” and “Using Dispute Review Boards To Prevent And Resolve Disputes”
  • San Francisco and London Superconferences:  “The Partnering and Dispute Resolution Process on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project”
  • American Road and Transit Builders Annual Conference:  “Alternative Dispute Resolution”
  • Connecticut Bar Association and the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers:  “The Tool Box For Effective Dispute Resolution: ‘Lessons Learned’ From Boston’s Big Dig Project”
  • Federal ADR Working Group:  “The Partnering and Dispute Resolution Process on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project”
  • Ohio Transportation and Engineering Conference: “The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Innovative Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques”
  • Construction Specifications Institute (NH Chapter):  “The Toolbox For Effective Dispute Prevention And Resolution On Construction Projects”
  • National Contract Management Association (Boston Chapter): “Managing Claims on Mega-Projects:  Lessons Learned From The ‘Big Dig’ Project” 
  • Caltrans Contract Law Workshop: “The ‘ADR Tool Box’ for Effective Dispute Avoidance and Resolution”
  • Association For Conflict Resolution Advanced Commercial Mediation Institute: “Mega-Project Mediation:  Lessons From Boston’s Big Dig Project”
  • Association For Conflict Resolution Annual Conference:  “Taking Consumer Disputes to the Next Level”; “Innovative and Unique Consumer Dispute Resolution Processes”; and “New and Emerging ADR Processes”
  • American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Conference:  “The Arbitrator Disclosure Conundrum: Establishing Practical Guidelines For Meeting Disclosure Requirements Under The RUAA And Similar Standards”
  • Association For Conflict Resolution Teleseminar:  “Report From the Mediation Trenches:  Tips From Boston’s “Big Dig” Project Mediation Program” 
  • Engineering Society of Detroit ADR Conference:  “ADR Lessons From The Trenches:  Real-Time Dispute Resolution On The “Big Dig”
  • Transportation Research Board Legal Conference (Moderator):  “Protecting the Public Owner in Public Private Partnerships”
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation Annual Conference:  “Dispute Avoidance and Prevention, Not Just Resolution”
  • Northeast Chapter of the Energy Bar Association Conference: “Reducing Conflict and Bringing Better Decision-Making Processes to New England’s Energy Field”
  • American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Annual Conference: ‘“A New Frontier”: Using Innovative Construction ADR Techniques In Other Commercial Fields”
  • Transportation Research Board Annual Legal Workshop and Annual Conference: “Design Build—Where Are We, Where Are We Going?”
  • American Bar Association DR Section Annual Conference: “Got Game? Using Game Theory to Understand, Manage and Resolve Disputes”
  • Willis Construction Risk Management Conference: “Designing Dispute Prevention and Resolution Strategies into Your Project Delivery Approach, Including Design Build and Public Private Partnerships”
  • American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry:  “Project Neutrals to the Rescue! A New Tool to Avoid and Resolve Disputes on Construction Projects” and “Effective Dispute Avoidance in Vertical Construction”
  • Energy Bar Association:  “Riding the Wave:  Exploring the Use of ADR in the New Wave of Renewable, Transmission and Nuclear Construction Projects”
  • American Arbitration Association Construction Conference: “On Site Neutrals—Real Time Resolution”
  • International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers: “Construction Partnering”
  • Massachusetts Bar Association: “A Fresh Look at Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Options”
  • King’s College London, Introduction to International Adjudication: “The U.S. DRB Experience”
  • International Center for Dispute Prevention and Resolution Conference: “A Fresh Look at ADR on International Energy Construction Projects”
  • Web-based presentations on the use of Third Party Neutrals on construction projects and the role of Subcontractors on Integrated Project Delivery projects
  • Federal Transit Administration 36th Construction Roundtable: “Claims Avoidance and Resolution on Transit Projects”
  • ABA Dispute Resolution Section Annual Conference: “Dispute Systems Design: Change is Coming” American Society of Civil Engineers Annual Conference:  “Effective Use of Dispute Boards to Promote Harmonious Relationships on Complex Projects” and “Leadership and Management Strategies and Risks for Innovative Financing of Projects”
  • Work Bank Conference:  “The Use of Dispute Boards on Public Private Partnership Projects”
  • CMAA Annual Conference: “Why Isn’t My Dispute Board Working?”
  • Construction Superconference: “Optimizing the Use of Dispute Boards to Create a ‘Claims Free Zone’”

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