In the News

Altman Speaks at International Bar Association’s 2012 Annual Conference

Discusses Legal Consequences, Possible Remedial Actions When Participants in Construction Projects Seek Chapter 11 Protection

October 23, 2012

Ross J. Altman, member and leader of Dykema’s Construction Law practice, was a featured presenter at the International Bar Association’s (IBA) 2012 Annual Conference, held September 30-October 5 in Dublin, Ireland. Altman, together with six other practitioners from around the world, discussed “The Project from Hell: Construction Turnarounds and Workouts”, a three-hour, two-part session that illustrated the legal consequences and possible remedies when attempting to salvage value from construction projects in markets profoundly weakened by a “boom-then-bust” real estate economy.

The panel discussion was sponsored by the IBA’s International Construction Projects Committee, which covers all types of construction and engineering projects worldwide and serves practitioners who are focused on their domestic market as well as those involved in overseas or multinational projects. Altman was the only American on this panel, with fellow presenters representing England, Finland, Ireland and Spain.

Part one of the presentation involved a hypothetical water treatment project in Ireland being undertaken by an international consortium. The hypothetical called for numerous problems arising during construction, with two of the three consortium members becoming insolvent. Each panel member was assigned to represent one or more parties to the project and assumed those roles in a series of dramatizations of various meetings and negotiations. At the conclusion of each vignette, the audience was allowed to ask questions. In this role-playing exercise, Altman assumed two roles: on behalf of the principal equipment supplier (a subcontractor to the consortium), and on behalf of the one remaining solvent member of the consortium.

In part two, each member of the panel spoke on a topic related to the themes of cross border insolvency and turnaround efforts in construction. Altman identified key issues that pertain to companies attempting to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., discussed how those issues can affect an ongoing project, and provided practical advice to anticipate and to respond to such matters.

Founded in 1947, the International Bar Association is the world’s leading organization of legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Its membership includes more than 45,000 individual lawyers and over 300 bar associations and legal societies that span all the continents.