Bio

Steven B. Lesser chairs the firm’s national Construction Law and Litigation practice group. He is Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law, a nationally prestigious organization devoted entirely to members of the construction industry. The Forum is the largest construction lawyer group in the world and is known for its scholarly publications and programs focusing on developments and trends in construction law.

Steve is presently Chair of the American Bar Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting Program Planning Committee. Mr. Lesser leads a Committee of 12 lawyers from throughout the country to select, develop and produce CLE Showcase Programs focusing on newsworthy, cutting edge topics that impact the legal community. The 2018 CLE Programs will be presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

Mr. Lesser is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar and devotes his practice exclusively to construction law and litigation, including governmental construction claims and defense and hotel/condominium disputes.

EXPERIENCE

  • Moransais v. Heathman, et al. – successfully represented homeowner Phillipe Moransais in a landmark case before the Florida Supreme Court which, in effect, reshaped construction law in Florida by retreating from the economic loss doctrine and forcing architects, engineers and other professionals to be accountable for their own negligence.
  • Florida Certified Circuit Civil Mediator focusing on complex construction matters involving defective work and delay related claims.
  • Certified arbitrator on construction issues for the American Arbitration Association.

RECOGNITION

Mr. Lesser received the Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Section’s Construction Law Committee’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2016.

He was also named “Lawyer of the Year” in construction litigation in the Fort Lauderdale region for 2019 and in construction law for 2016 by Best Lawyers in America©, a peer review rating publication for legal professionals.

In 2011 he was named “Construction Lawyer of the Year” for South Florida by Best Lawyers and was one of only two lawyers in Florida to receive the designation. Mr. Lesser is AV Rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.

He is one of only eleven Florida lawyers to be inducted into the prestigious American College of Construction Lawyers.

Mr. Lesser was named by Florida Business Magazine as one of “Florida’s Legal Elite” in Construction Law for 2016. He is also in the Hall of Fame of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite.

He was again named a Florida Super Lawyer in 2018, a recognition he has received each year for more than 10 years.

Mr. Lesser is listed in Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of the top construction lawyers in Florida (Band 1) for the last several years. Excerpts include: “Chair of the practice Steven Lesser is held in high regard.” “He focuses on defect and delay-related claims.” “He puts the client before himself in a way that is refreshing: he is very practical and he doesn’t refer to my business problems as legal issues but sees them as my business problems,” comments one satisfied client. He is “disarming, with no ego, and instantly resolves things and gets the job done.” He is also praised as being “up there with the best, absolutely world-class” “an icon in the industry”; “Steven Lesser has all the qualities that make for a fantastic lawyer. Clients are drawn to him for his litigation expertise and report that he knows construction law inside-out and you always know that he has nothing but your best interests at heart.” Chambers has further commented that “Steve Lesser’s wide-ranging knowledge of the area coupled with his skills as a litigator make him a great choice for complex matters.”

Mr. Lesser was also listed in Who’s Who Legal: Construction 2017 and 2018.

A prolific writer on construction-related legal issues, Mr. Lesser has authored and co-authored a number of construction publications: He co-authored The 2017 A201 Deskbook: Chapter 2: Article 2 “Owner,” published by the ABA’s Forum on Construction Law and  “My Favorite Mistakes: An Owner’s Guide to Avoiding Disaster on Construction Projects”, The Construction Lawyer, (Spring 2017).

Author of “The Construction Lawyer’s Guide to Chapter 558, Florida Statutes – A Practical Checklist,” Florida Bar ActionLine, (Spring 2016).  He co-authored a chapter of the Florida Bar Manual entitled, “Florida Condominium and Community Association Law – Construction Defect Litigation” (2016); “Avoiding Faulty Building Claims”,Construction Today, November/December 2015, “Design Professional Liability: Strategic Moves to Minimize Risk in Condominium Conversions”, Construction Litigation Reporter, September 2011; “How to Comply with Chapter 558 Florida Statutes: Current Challenges and Future Changes” (co-authored with Larry R. Leiby), Florida Bar Journal (February 2009); “Meet the 2007 A201 : General Conditions of the Contract for Construction: Letting Go of Paper and Making Way for the “IDM” (Part I) and “New Rules” (Part 2) Construction Litigation Reporter, West Publishing Company, Volume 29 Nos 4 & 5 (April, May 2008); “For Better or Worse: The AIA Introduces the Initial Decision Maker in its Dispute Resolution Process”Dispute Resolution Journal, American Arbitration Association (February /April, 2008). “The Twelve Deadly Sins: An Owner’s Guide To Avoiding Liability For Implied Obligations During the Construction Of a Project”, The Construction Lawyer, (Winter 2008); The 2004 Amendments to Florida’s Construction Defect Statute: Some Solutions, More Confusion”, Florida Bar Journal (October 2004); “Florida’s New Construction Defect Statute: The Aggrieved Homeowner’s Obstacle Course”, Florida Bar Journal (October 2003); and a chapter entitled, “Damages In Commercial Cases”, Florida Civil Practice Damages, The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education, sixth Edition (September, 2006). In addition, he has published articles including: “The Great Escape, How to Draft Exculpatory Clauses That Limit or Extinguish Liability”, Florida Bar Journal, (November, 2001); co-author of “Risky Business: The Active Interference Exception to No Damage for Delay Clauses”, The Construction Lawyer, (Winter, 2003); “Chipping Away of the Economic Loss”, Florida Bar Journal (October, 1999); “The Inadvertent Waiver of Mandatory Construction Arbitration Clauses”, Florida Bar Journal (October, 1997); “Economic Loss Doctrine and Its Impact Upon Construction Claims”, Volume 14, No. 3, The Construction Lawyer(August, 1994); “Beyond the Rules of Civil Procedure: The Use of Case Management Techniques in Complex Multi-Party Litigation,” Volume 15, Trial Diplomacy Journal223-234 (1992); “Deposing The Expert Witness” Volume 20 The Brief No. 1, American Bar Association, (1990); “The Validity, Force And Effect Of No Damage For Delay Clauses,” 62 Florida Bar Journal No. 1, January, 1988); and “Discovery In Construction(Litigation” Volume 62 Florida Bar Journal No. 11 (December, 1988).

PROFESSIONAL / COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

Member, American Bar Association’s Scope and Correlation Standing Committee for 2017-18.

Vice Chair, The Florida Bar Association’s Board of Legal Specialization & Education, July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.

He is presently a member of the Florida Bar Association’s Board of Legal Specialization & Education Committee.

He has served as the chairman of the ABA’s Forum on Construction Law, one of the largest and most well-respected organizations devoted exclusively to construction law.

In 2016 he was appointed by ABA President Linda A. Klein to serve on the ABA’s Standing Committee on Specialization, which promotes and oversees the ABA’s specialist certification programs to enhance attorneys’ credentials as the national representative of the legal profession. He previously served on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Membership and the Commission on the American Jury Project.

He previously served as Chair of the Task Force on the Contingent Fee for the ABA ‘s Tort and Insurance Practice Section having led the Task Force’s review of the contingent fee system to evaluate the impact of future changes to this fee structure on attorneys and their clients. The Task Force published “Contingent Fees in Mass Tort Litigation” in the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, Fall 2006 and its earlier report entitled “Report on Contingent Fees in Class Action Litigation” was published in The Review Of Litigation, The University of Texas School of Law, Volume 25, No. 3, Summer 2006.

Mr. Lesser served as Past Chair of the Construction Law Certification Committee of the Florida Bar. This Committee is responsible for establishing standards for board certification of construction lawyers in Florida including the preparation and grading of the certification exam. In 2015, Mr. Lesser was appointed to Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education (“BLSE”) which administers the Bar’s certification plan and provides oversight over all 26 certification committees that each focus upon a specific practice area. As part of its mission, the BLSE helps identify for the general public and the profession those attorneys who have substantial experience and have demonstrated special knowledge, skills, and proficiency in certified areas of practice and professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

He previously served as a member of the prestigious Council for the ABA’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section having served as Past Chair of the Special Standing Committee on Professionalism. He also served as Past Chair of the Florida Bar’s Journal and News 40-member Editorial Board and as a member of the Editorial Board Committee actively reviewing articles for publication and teaching seminars on legal writing. Mr. Lesser is Past Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on the Construction Industry Steering Committee on Owners and Lenders (Division 12), and serves as Vice President of the International Concrete Repair Institute, Southeast Region. Previously, Mr. Lesser served as Past Chair of the Committees on Economics of Tort and Insurance Law Practice, and Trial Techniques of the Tort and Insurance Law and Practice Section of the ABA. He also served as past Chair of The Broward County Bar Association Construction Law Committee. He was a member of the Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee for The Florida Bar and served as Past Chair of the Bar’s Grievance Committees 15(f) and 17(b). Mr. Lesser served as Past Chair of the Legus, a group of affiliated law firms throughout the world and Co-Chair of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Program entitled “New Forms, New Issues, New Strategies” designed to introduce the 2007 version of the AIA Form Documents to construction lawyers throughout the country.

Mr. Lesser has been a featured speaker at several ABA National Conventions and has lectured on a variety of topics dealing with litigation, ethics, professionalism and construction including “Attacking The Expert Witness At Deposition: The Aftermath of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.”; “The Cost-Effective Use of Case Management in Multi-Party Litigation”; and “50 Ways To Get Into Or Avoid Trouble! How To Avoid Legal Malpractice And Grievance Claims”. Mr. Lesser has also lectured at the ABA Forum on Construction Law, Fall 2016 Meeting in Chicago on “My Favorite Mistakes: The Owner’s Guide to

Avoiding Disaster on Construction Projects”. He previously spoke at the ABA Forum on Construction Law’s Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico on “The Twelve Deadly Sins: An Owner’s Guide To Avoiding Liability For Implied Obligations During the Construction of a Project” and as a panelist on the ABA Forum On The Construction Law teleconference entitled “Ethical Dilemmas and Pitfalls in Construction Contacting and Litigation”. He presented “Legal Writing for the 21st Century Lawyer” and “Drafting Disclaimers of Liability, Indemnification Clauses and Releases” at Annual Conventions of the Florida Bar.

Mr. Lesser also served as a featured speaker at the Florida Law Inaugural Construction Law Institute lecturing on “The Florida Construction Lawyer’s Guide to the New 2007 AIA A201 “General Conditions of the Contract for Construction” and has been a frequent lecturer at the Florida Bar Construction Certification Review Course lecturing on construction defect claims and Chapter 558, Florida Statutes. He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Mr. Lesser was inducted into the Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Hall of Fame and presently serves as an Honorary Trustee for the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association. On a personal note, Mr. Lesser was honored to be named the 2010 TOPSoccer Volunteer of the Year from the Florida Youth Soccer Association. TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community- based program for young athletes with disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers.