Mel Cohen’s practice focuses on commercial litigation and construction law. Listed in the Best Lawyers of America and included on the Southwest Super Lawyers List, he was named a 2016 Lawyer of the Year for construction by Best Lawyers of America. Teaching “Construction Law for Architects,” he was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.
Mel’s work includes representation of private and public owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals and claims against sureties. He participates in the Associated General Contractor’s Contract Document Forum, the Arizona Bar Construction Law Seminars and regularly presents programs for owners, contractors and design professionals.
After receiving his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, he joined the Pima County Attorney’s Office, Civil Division in 1974 working on a wide range of projects, including construction of wastewater treatment plants, hospitals, highways and parks while litigating zoning, election, employment, civil rights and other governmental disputes.
Significant arbitration, mediation and litigation claims have included medical facilities, telescopes, highways, airports, schools, shopping malls, auditoriums, mines, federal facilities, pipelines (steel, concrete and HDPE) water and wastewater, subdivisions, residential and canal construction including bidding protests and design, delay, change order, termination and surety bond disputes. Mel draws upon a cadre of foremost construction experts for delay, payment constructability, change order, termination and surety claims.
Commercial negotiations, mediation and litigation matters have included claims with commercial loan agreements, real property ownership and easement disputes, partnership, fraud and breach of fiduciary duties.
He serves as a Judge Pro Tem for Pima County Superior Court, is an American Arbitration Association arbitrator and trained at Harvard Law School mediation program for lawyers. He is a member of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry, the Fidelity and Surety Law Committee and the Arizona Bar Construction Committee.
Currently serving on The City of Tucson Roads Bond Oversight Commission, Mel is a Board Member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Cradle to Career, while previously serving as a board member of Literacy Connects, which includes Reading Seed, Stories that Soar, Literacy Volunteers, and Literacy for Life Coalition. Mel has served as Chair of Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging and Hillel Foundation at the University of Arizona. He regularly leads worship services at the Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging. Mel’s recreational activities include Tai Chi, meditation and studying Jewish texts.
Representation in Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation Claims have included design and construction defects in a $70,000,000.00 water treatment plant, defective material for telescope project, change order and delay claims involving high schools, elementary schools, water and sewer projects, mining projects, auditoriums, convention centers, engineering, design, defects for city streets, delay and in change order claims for underground boring projects, soil settlement issues, wrongful termination of contractors and surety claims.
- State Bar of Arizona (1974)
- U. S. District Court in Arizona (1974)
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1974)
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Bachelor of Arts with honors, 1970
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Juris Doctor, 1973
- Arizona Builder’s Alliance, Legal Council, Southern Arizona Legal Committee
- American Arbitration Association, Arbitrator, Construction Industry
- American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry, Construction Forum
- Steering Committee Division One, 1999 – 2003, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee
- Associated General Contractors of America, Contract Documents Committee, Surety Bonding Committee
- Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, Past Chair
- LEGUS, formerly Network of Leading Law Firms, Former Member, Board of Advisors
- Literacy Connects, Board of Directors
- Pima County Superior Court, Mediator, Judge Pro Tempore
- Southern Arizona Leadership Council
- State Bar of Arizona, Construction Law Section, Fee Arbitration Committee, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
- «Private Construction Prompt Pay – Approved Unless Owner Timely Objects In Writing
- «Protect Yourself From Standard Real Estate & Architect Agreements
- «Terms That Should Be Included in a Real Estate Contract
- «Terms That Should Be Included In Architecture Contracts
- «Top 15 Ways You Can Help Your Lawyer Help You
- «Building The Family Compound: A Construction Lawyer’s Home Project
- «No-Damages-For-Delay Clauses are Enforceable
- «Notes From My Desk
- «Owner Windfalls in Design/Build Contracts
- «Recommended Additions to Architecture Contracts
- «Owner’s Implied Warranty of Cooperation