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2012 Legal Elite Profile: CONSTRUCTION

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JOHN R. OWEN
Harman, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellman
Richmond

NewsTitle: Partner
Other legal specialties: Product liability, commercial litigation, general civil litigation
Birthplace: East Liverpool, Ohio
Education: Bowling Green State University, bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude); Washington & Lee University School of Law, law degree
Spouse: Jennifer Dunlap Owen
Children: Nicholas Dunlap Owen, 8
Hobbies:  Playing golf, cooking, traveling
First job as a lawyer:  Cowan & Owen
Fan of: “Pittsburgh Steelers; European Ryder Cup Team (I was there); Chili Peppers”
Favorite vacation spot: Captiva Island
Recently read book: “The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever” by Mark Frost
Career mentors: “I was blessed to begin my career working for John OBrion and Frank Cowan, two great trial lawyers and gentlemen.  The time spent working with these two men in the office, in the courtroom, in our travels and the stories they told (some likely true) always remind me of the lawyer I continue to aspire to be.”

What is your outlook for construction in Virginia next year?
“Business analysts and industry executives believe that construction spending will rise in the near future but likely not to the extent originally anticipated.  The uncertainty of the economy will negatively impact the construction industry.  The economic plans that are implemented over the next several months will establish the framework for the industry over the next couple of years.  Always the optimist, I anticipate positive economic indicators resulting in a surge in construction.”

How is construction law changing?
“In difficult economic times, a more litigious business community emerges.  Issues once handled by business leaders are now handled by lawyers.  We are now seeing squabbles on even the smallest of issues, which oftentimes results in economic losses to both sides.  Contracts, change orders and punch lists are critical in establishing the responsibilities, as promises are all too often forgotten.  So, while we are seeing a decline in construction, we have not necessarily seen a decline in construction-related litigation.”


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