Professional History

Jim Groton is a retired partner of the law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP, where he formerly led the Construction Practice and Dispute Prevention and Resolution practices of that firm. 

As a practicing lawyer during Atlanta’s building boom in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, he specialized in construction matters, transitioning from trial lawyer, to troubleshooter, to behind-the -scenes counselor, to problem solver, to pioneer in the application of proactive techniques for preventing, controlling, de-escalating, and achieving the earliest possible resolution of disputes.

In his practice he achieved a remarkable record of success in helping to “keep the peace“ on numerous construction projects and in other business relationships and transactions.

He was an early student and advocate of newly-invented dispute prevention processes such as partnering, dispute review boards, and incentives to encourage cooperation, and he has sponsored research into documenting the relative transaction costs of various methods of addressing disputes, to provide empirical data for business executives making decisions about selecting the most appropriate methods for dealing with potential disputes.

Over time his experience has convinced him that proactive pre-dispute processes that prevent and de-escalate disputes are the most cost-effective and time-saving ways to prevent disputes and strengthen business relationships. 

Since his retirement from law practice he has remained as active as ever, enjoying the luxury of freedom to pursue a variety of interests that are an extension of his career long passion of providing, mitigating, and finding efficient ways of addressing problems and potential disputes

Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan,1954-2001:

  • Construction Practice Group Leader
  • Dispute Prevention and Resolution Group Leader
  • Education Group Leader

Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Task Force (DART)

  • Co-founder and Chair, 1990-1994
  • Chair Emeritus

International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR):

  • Co-Chair of Construction Committee and principal author: “Preventing and Resolving Construction Disputes”
  • Member, Panel of Distinguished Neutrals for Construction Disputes
  • Advisory Committee on ADR Policy Statement for Law Firms
  • Advisory Committee on Arbitration of Major Disputes
  • Advisory Committee on Arbitration of Construction Disputes
  • Drafting Committee for Rules and Commentary for Non-Administered Arbitration, 1988-1989
  • Principal investigator and author of CPR’s Prevention Practice Materials, 2007-2010

American Arbitration Association:

  • Member, National Board of Directors, 1990-2002
  • Member, National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee, 2001 to present
  • Member, Commercial, Large Complex Case and Construction Industry Arbitration and Mediation Panels, 1970 to present
  • Member, International Centre for Dispute Resolution Arbitration Panel

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators:  Fellow

College of Commercial Arbitrators: Fellow

National Academy of Construction

  • General Counsel, 2004 to present

American Bar Association:

  • Forum on the Construction Industry, speaker and organizer of seminars
  • Section of Litigation, Construction Litigation Committee
  • Section of Public Contracts, annual meeting speaker
  • Dispute Resolution Section, Chair, Construction Committee 2003-2005 and annual meeting speaker

Georgia State Bar:

  • Co-Chair, Construction Law Committee, 1997-1999

Georgia Arbitrators’ Forum, former President

Atlanta Bar Association:  Founder and former Chairman, Construction Law Section

American College of Construction Lawyers:

  • Charter Fellow, President 2000-2001

Construction Industry Institute:

  • Speaker, Annual Conferences, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2003, 2005
  • Member, CII Dispute Prevention and Resolution Research Team, 1992-1994