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The Construction Lawyer's Swiss Army Knife: Tools for the Modern 21st Century (2021 Construction Law Section Fall Program)

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Finding Balance: The Lawyer's Workcation on Points and Miles

M. Aaron Lay, Hamilton Stephens Steele & Martin PLLC, Charlotte

This session addresses some of the biggest excuses we make when it comes to stepping away from the office — time, money, family and professional obligation. Learn how to escape your office and reap the benefits of working remotely and enjoying vacations while serving your clients, building your practice and staving off burnout to find more balance in your life.

10:01      Mediation: Showing Up Is Just Part of the Process

Robert A. Beason, Beason & Trehy Conflict Resolution LLC, Durham
René Stemple Trehy, Beason & Trehy Conflict Resolution LLC, Durham

Analyze recent court decisions that have a direct impact on parties, attorneys and mediators participating in court-ordered mediation. Learn best practices for finalizing the settlement agreement during the mediation and apply lessons from virtual mediations that are likely to carry forward post-pandemic.

11:03      Break

11:13      The Elephant in the Courtroom: Conversations on Inequity Within the Legal Profession*

Judge Ashleigh Parker Dunston, North Carolina District Court, Raleigh

COVID-19 is not the only silent virus that we have to be concerned about. Racism, sexism, microaggressions and microinvalidations are not only demeaning and an attempt to normalize inequality amongst equal individuals, but further erode the public's trust in our justice system. This session explores the implications of racial discrimination and sexism against attorneys and tangible ways that we can prevent further instances of this behavior in our profession.

12:15      Lunch Break

12:45      Economic Loss Rule

David S. Coats, Bailey & Dixon LLP, Raleigh
John I. Mabe Jr., Nexsen Pruet PLLC, Raleigh
Jonathan W. Massell, Nexsen Pruet PLLC, Raleigh

The recent Crescent decision has caused construction lawyers to (re)consider current implications of this old rule, including its definition, scope and exceptions. Walk through what this decision means for claims against subcontractors and the design professional exception. Then discuss how it impacts insurance for subcontractors.

1:50        Case Law and Legislative Update

Jay M. Wilkerson, Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC, Raleigh

Review recent key North Carolina court opinions and legislation from the past year and how they affect you and your clients.

2:52        Break

3:02        Advocacy in the Digital Age

Judge Richard D. Dietz, North Carolina Court of Appeals, Raleigh
Judge Paul C. Ridgeway, North Carolina Superior Court, Raleigh

In this session, an appellate judge and a trial judge delve into lessons learned, pitfalls, future trends and best practices for hearings conducted on video platforms, and the advent of widespread digital case management in North Carolina courts.

4:04        Adjourn

* Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit
† Indicates portion providing Substance Abuse/Mental Health credit
‡ Indicates portion providing Technology Training credit
≠ Indicates portion providing NC Dispute Resolution Commission Continuing Mediator Education

Thank you

Thank you for joining us for The Construction Lawyer's Swiss Army Knife: Tools for the Modern 21st Century (2021 Construction Law Section Fall Program).


  • Robert A. "Bob" Beason

    Robert A. "Bob" Beason is with Beason & Trehy Conflict Resolution LLC in Durham.

    After practicing law for twenty years with a concentration in representing individuals in civil, criminal and family disputes, Bob began a mediation practice and has handled a variety of disputes in almost three-thousand cases. He has facilitated multi-party and complex cases but continues to enjoy some personal injury, product liability, construction and commercial litigation matters.

    Bob's mediation focus follows a twenty-year litigation practice with the Durham firm of Maxwell Freeman and Beason PA (now Maxwell Freeman and Bowman PA). His vast experience as a mediator has covered litigation in a wide variety of fields including construction, business disputes, product liability, personal liability, insurance coverage, employment disputes and discrimination, wrongful death, and medical malpractice.

    In addition to his service as a fulltime mediator, Bob is a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke University School of Law where he has taught Negotiation and Mediation since 1995. He and Rene Trehy (Ellis) have trained more than two thousand lawyers in the North Carolina Certification Mediation Training for Superior Court Mediation.

    Click here for more information about Bob.

  • David S. Coats

    David S. Coats is the co-managing partner for Bailey & Dixon LLP in Raleigh. He has been recognized by and peer selected for The Best Lawyers in America; Business North Carolina Magazine's Legal Elite; and Charlotte Magazine's North Carolina Super Lawyers - and in a variety of areas including litigation, construction law, and insurance law. Since 1996, Martindale Hubbell has recognized David with its "AV" peer rating. In 2015, Best Lawyers In America selected David as Lawyer of the Year and the best lawyer in insurance law in the Raleigh metropolitan market. In 2019, North Carolina Super Lawyers named David as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in North Carolina. He has also been inducted as a fellow in The Litigation Counsel of America and as a member of The Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

    David focuses his practice on commercial litigation, construction defect litigation, and insurance coverage litigation. He is the attorney of record in over 35 published opinions from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, Federal District Courts in North Carolina and South Carolina, and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and he has tried a large number of cases to verdict both in state and federal court. David is also a certified mediator and has mediated and arbitrated a variety of cases.

    Click here for more information about David.

  • Judge Richard D. Dietz

    Judge Richard D. Dietz grew up in a small Pennsylvania Dutch family with roots in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania. He is a Lutheran. He comes from a family of railroad and telephone workers and was the first in his family to attend college.

    Before joining the Court, Judge Dietz was a partner on the Appellate & Supreme Court team at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, a 650-lawyer international law firm with its roots in North Carolina.

    In his legal practice, Judge Dietz argued in the U.S. Supreme Court in Abramski v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 2259 (2014), and handled dozens of appeals in other state and federal courts around the country. He argued cases in a wide range of legal areas, including constitutional law, complex business law, criminal law, family law, and tort law. He has also represented a broad array of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to low-income families and indigent criminal defendants.

    Judge Dietz is a North Carolina board certified specialist in Appellate Practice. He previously served as a vice president of the North Carolina Bar Association, as vice chair of the Appellate Practice Section and on the Appellate Practice Section Council. He has also served for more than ten years on the Bar Association's Appellate Rules Committee, a group of lawyers and judges who review the state's appellate rules and draft proposed changes.

    Judge Dietz has served on a number of court-related boards and commissions, including the North Carolina Courts Commission, a group of judges, lawyers, legislators, and private citizens who study and recommend changes to the court system. He currently serves on the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission and chaired the Commission's strategic planning committee.

    Click here for more information about Judge Dietz.

  • Judge Ashleigh Parker Dunston

    Judge Ashleigh Parker Dunston is a District Court Judge in the 10th Judicial District, which encompasses Wake County, located in Raleigh, NC. Prior to her appointment by Governor Roy Cooper, Judge Dunston served the citizens of North Carolina as an Assistant Attorney General at the North Carolina Department of Justice and as an Assistant District Attorney at the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.

    Judge Dunston graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wake Forest University and cum laude from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She has been practicing law since she was 24 years old. At age 30, Judge Dunston was only the 3rd and youngest African American female to hold this position in Wake County since the District Courts were established over 50 years ago.

    Judge Dunston is passionate about increasing equity within the criminal justice system and has written for multiple publications, including the North Carolina State Bar Journal and the Campbell Law Review on topics related to racism and sexism within the legal profession.

    Judge Dunston lives in Raleigh with her husband and 3 children where they are members of Vision Church.

    Click here for more information about Judge Ashleigh.

  • Daniel J. Knight

    Daniel J. Knight is an associate attorney with Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP in Raleigh. Daniel focuses his practice in the area of construction litigation representing owners, contractors, and design professionals in construction disputes. In addition to his construction practice, Daniel has represented and advised clients in connection with product liability claims, personal injury claims, and consumer complaints.

    Daniel has frequently spoken to industry groups on a range of construction topics including changes to standard form AIA contracts, delay claims, and commercial general liability insurance in the context of construction claims. Daniel currently serves as a co-chair for the Construction Law Section's CLE Committee. In addition to his commitment to the Construction Law Section, Daniel is actively involved in the NCBA's Insurance Law Section serving as a Council Member, the Section's YLD Liaison, and serving as a co-chair for both the Section's CLE Committee and Blog Committee.

    Daniel is originally from Wake Forest, North Carolina and received his B.A. degrees in History and Political Science from North Carolina State University in 2010 and his J.D. degree from Campbell University School of Law in 2014.

    Click here for more information about Daniel.

  • M. Aaron Lay

    M. Aaron Lay is a litigation partner and member of Hamilton Stephens Steele + Martin PLLC. Aaron has a broad range of experience in civil litigation matters, but his practice primarily focuses on complex construction litigation, business litigation, and litigation alternative resolutions.

    Aaron loves to travel the world in search of his next adventure – even while practicing law. His travels have taken him to 50 countries across 5 continents and vary from diving with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa (important legal training) to Snowshoeing and sleeping in a yurt in the high Rockies and everywhere in between. Aaron has traveled to 50 countries and 5 continents all while building and maintaining a successful litigation practice. Aaron generally travels 6-10 weeks per year, most of which consist of "workcations" where he practices remotely from one of his bucket list destinations.

    Click here for more information about Aaron.

  • John I. Mabe Jr.

    John I. Mabe Jr. is an attorney with Nexsen Pruet who focuses on resolving construction problems for owners, design professionals, general contractors and subcontractors across North Carolina. He handles disputes involving real estate, development, land use, and commercial law. John is a NCDRC Certified Superior Court Mediator, and accepts assignments to serve as arbitrator. He has helped many contractors and design professionals with issues before their regulatory boards.

    John received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a past chair of the Construction Law Section, and is frequently listed on the familiar peer-reviewed "best lawyers" lists.

    Click here for more information about John.

  • Jonathan W. Massell

    Jonathan W. Massell is an associate at Nexsen Pruet. He focuses his practice on construction law and business litigation. He frequently represents owners, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers on the front end by assisting in contract drafting and negotiations. When disputes arise, he has experience representing clients in a wide array of construction disputes, including, but not limited to contractual disputes, defects, delays, and lien and bond claims. He also represents clients outside of the construction industry in various commercial and collection disputes, with a particular focus on trucking industry defense work.

    Jonathan received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served several years on the NCBA Construction Section's Newsletter Committee and is currently a member of the NCBA Construction Law Section Council.

    Click here for more information about Jonathan.

  • Carmela E. Mastrianni

    Carmela E. Mastrianni is an attorney in the Hamilton Stephens Steele + Martin PLLC's Commercial Construction Litigation Group. She primarily represents subcontractors, and design professionals, general contractors and more in lawsuits alleging construction defects, delay claims, accounts collection, and other work or project issues. In addition to her construction work, Carmela represents landlords in summary ejectment actions, unconventional tenancies, and related litigation matters.

    Carmela is licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina and splits her practice between the two states. Most recently, she was recognized for her legal work by Chambers USA as one of the Construction "Associates to Watch" in North Carolina (2020, 2021); was invited to join the 2024 Class of the NC Construction Council, a division of the North Carolina Bar Construction Section; and was selected as one of the 2020 Diversity Fellows for the ABA Forum on Construction.

    Carmela is a "double-heel", having earned both her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

    When outside the office, Carmela enjoys hiking and adventuring with Harvey, her Pitbull Boxer and competing in her local kickball league on Sunday afternoons.

    Click here for more information about Carmela.

  • Judge Paul C. Ridgeway

    Judge Paul C. Ridgeway is Senior Resident Superior Court Judge of the 10th Judicial District (Wake County), North Carolina.

    Judge Ridgeway received his B.S. ('82) and M.P.A. ('90) from N.C. State University, and his J.D. from Campbell School of Law ('86), where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the law review. Following law school, Judge Ridgeway received a post-graduate degree from the University of Amsterdam in the law of the European Community.

    Prior to becoming a judge in 2007, Judge Ridgeway was engaged in the private practice of law for 20 years, primarily in the fields of commercial litigation and transactions. Judge Ridgeway has served as President of the Wake County Bar Association and as a Vice President of the NCBA.

    For 25 years, Judge Ridgeway has also been an adjunct professor of law at Campbell School of Law, where he teaches seminars in International Litigation and Law & Public Policy.

    Click here for more information about Judge Ridgeway.

  • Brian J. Schoolman

    Brian J. Schoolman is an attorney with Safran Law Offices, in Raleigh. Brian has been with Safran Law Offices since 2003, and has represented clients in all roles in the construction industry, including commercial, residential, and public owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals, and trade associations. He has also served as a lobbyist and advocate on several pieces of construction legislation before the North Carolina General Assembly, including bills on public construction delivery methods and on prequalification.

    Brian earned his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law, and graduated, magna cum laude, from Claremont McKenna College, earning his B.A. with honors in Government. His practice includes construction law and litigation, commercial litigation, contracts, corporate organization and governance, administrative hearings, and appellate practice, both in state and federal courts.

    Brian is admitted to the North Carolina and California State Bars, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and all three Federal District Courts in North Carolina. Brian is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Construction Law Section, and the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law. He is also certified as a Superior Court Mediator by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission (NCDRC).

    Click here for more information about Brian.

  • David A. Senter

    David A. Senter is a partner in the Raleigh office of Nexsen Pruet and is widely respected for his background in construction law, commercial litigation, and commercial collections. He has 35 years of experience delivering legal strategies and solutions on a wide range of issues impacting the construction industry and a wide range of large, complex construction projects.

    Since David joined the firm in 1984, clients have trusted him to handle routine and complex cases. David has been recognized in Construction law by Best Lawyers in America (Lawyer of the Year for Litigation-Construction/Greensboro), named Legal Elite by Business North Carolina, and as a North Carolina Super Lawyer. He frequently speaks before national and local audiences on topics related to construction law.

    David has authored many articles in bar and trade publications and has served in leadership positions for several professional associations. He is an Adjunct Professor of Construction Law at Wake Forest University School of Law. He is also a certified North Carolina mediator and a member of AAA's Large Complex Case Panel.

    Click here for more information about David. David may be reached at 336.387.5126 or by email.

  • René Stemple Trehy

    René Stemple Trehy is with Beason & Trehy Conflict Resolution LLC in Durham. René has devoted her professional career to alternative dispute resolution. She has served as a mediator, arbitrator, and special master in diverse subject areas of the law for lawyers and judges throughout the Southeast and principally in North Carolina. René has long been a member of the North Carolina Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section, and she just completed two years as the Section's Chairperson (2012-2014).

    René graduated cum laude from West Virginia University in 1983 and in 1986 from Duke University Law School. From 1990- 2002, René served as Executive Director of the Duke University School of Law's Private Adjudication Center. In that position, she designed, implemented and directed the administration of ADR programs for settlement of class actions and mass torts, led the Center's mediation training, and administered the Center's dispute resolution programs. In 2002, René co-founded Beason & Ellis Conflict Resolution, LLC.

    René has mediated extensively in these and other areas of litigation: medical malpractice, construction, business disputes, products liability, insurance coverage, employment, consumer, eminent domain, environmental disputes, nursing home negligence, wrongful death and other catastrophic personal injury cases. These mediations frequently arise in difficult or complex circumstances involving multiple parties, class actions, and insurance coverage disputes.

    Click here for more information about René.

  • Jay M. Wilkerson

    Jay M. Wilkerson is a partner with the firm of Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC in Raleigh. Jay has been in private practice as a construction lawyer continuously since 1992 representing contractors and subcontractors in matters related to private and public construction projects. The majority of his practice involves litigation, arbitration and mediation of construction disputes.

    Jay received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law. He has been a member of the Construction Section of the North Carolina State Bar Association since 1992. Jay is also a certified mediator.

    Click here for more information about Jay.

November 16, 2021
Tue 8:55 AM EST

Duration 7H 9M

This live web event has ended.

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