Jim Groton is a retired partner of the law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP, where he formerly led the Construction Practice Group and the Dispute Prevention and Resolution practice of that firm.
As a practicing lawyer in Atlanta, he began to specialize in construction matters during Atlanta's building boom in the 1960s, transitioning from trial lawyer to trouble shooter, to behind-the-scenes counselor, to problem solver, to practitioner and student of techniques for preventing or achieving the earliest possible resolution of problems on construction projects. He began serving as an arbitrator in 1970, and as a mediator in 1983.
He has long been an advocate for improving the efficiency of the construction industry, and a pioneer in the application of techniques for preventing and controlling disputes, both on construction projects and in other business relationships and transactions. In retirement he currently divides his time between serving as a neutral dispute resolver, and in research and other public service activities in the emerging field of proactively anticipating, preventing, controlling and managing problems that might otherwise escalate into disputes.
In his dispute resolution work Jim serves as an arbitrator, mediator or standing neutral for domestic and international construction projects and disputes. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the College of Commercial Arbitrators, and qualified as a neutral on the panels of a number of dispute resolution organizations, including various Panels of Distinguished Neutrals of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), and the International Panel, Commercial Panel, Large Complex Case Panel, and Construction Arbitrator Master Panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). He also serves as a consultant on the design and implementation of systems for anticipating, preventing and controlling disputes.
In his public service work Jim vigorously advocates the adoption by all businesses of the kinds of techniques for anticipating, controlling and managing problems and potential disputes that were first developed in the construction industry. He devotes a substantial amount of pro bono time to educating business organizations, business leaders and corporate counsel in the principles and methods of proactive prevention of disputes. 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. He is active in the work of the Construction Industry Institute, the National Academy of Construction, the CPR Institute, AAA, and the European Proactive ThinkTank (PATT). (Fees earned in his arbitration, mediation and standing neutral assignments help defray the expenses of his public service work.)
Jim is a former President of the American College of Construction Lawyers, and he has received many awards and honors for his construction and dispute resolution work. Since his "retirement" after 47 years of practicing law 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 preventing, mitigating, and finding efficient ways of addressing problems and potential disputes.
His office is in Atlanta and he can be contacted at