John E. Bulman

John has more than 25 years of experience in construction and commercial trial matters in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other states. He has served as counsel in trials, mediations, and arbitrations in Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Ohio, and other states. John has argued cases before the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the First and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. John is repeatedly ranked by industry publications as among the top construction and alternative dispute resolution practitioners in New England.


"He is praised for his ability to handle complex construction matters, and sources say: 'He is smart, knowledgeable of the construction industry and is able to take control of the proceedings so as to keep them fair and cost-effective.' His practice sees him taking on arbitrations and mediations across the country." (Chambers USA 2017)

"John Bulman handles commercial disputes, especially in the construction sector, and is regarded as 'one of the top construction experts in Rhode Island.' Sources also single out his strategic approach and practical business understanding as key attributes. He is also noted for his arbitration and mediation work." (Chambers USA 2016)

"John Bulman is a widely admired litigation attorney with a focus on construction issues. Sources say he is 'an excellent and highly skilled lawyer, arbitrator and mediator.'" (Chambers USA 2015)

"John Bulman is an experienced litigator who garners particular praise for his experience in construction-related disputes. His practice also encompasses commercial litigation, and he is an experienced mediator." (Chambers USA 2014)

"John Bulman is a respected trial lawyer whose practice spans construction and complex commercial disputes." (Chambers USA 2013)

As a mediator, “John is able to resolve incredibly difficult cases by virtue of his preparation, his tenacity, his extensive knowledge of applicable law, and his ability to manage many different (and difficult) personality types.” (International Mediation Institute 2010)

“His clients value his ‘great deal of experience’ in construction arbitration and ‘fantastic insight’ into contract-related issues.” (Chambers USA 2009)

As a mediator, John has successfully mediated over 300 cases on a variety of subjects including contract interference, construction, personal injury, discrimination, partnership, franchise disputes, and municipal tax assessments. As an arbitrator, John has presided over cases with claims as large as $180,000,000.

John’s trial and arbitration experience includes both jury and jury-waived matters relating to construction claims, declaratory actions, refinery fire, usury claims, land access claims, non-competition, trade secret, insurance coverage disputes, CERCLA matters, contract indemnity claims, personal injury defense, franchise termination, partnership fraud, and other matters. In the construction industry, John has arbitrated and tried cases involving design build issues, differing site condition claims, Eichleay and measured mile claims, specific performance, change order disputes, indemnity claims, disruption claims, and surety takeover issues. The subject matters have included hydroelectric turbine operation and stability, roads and bridges, structural concrete, wall-systems, metallurgy and FEA analyses, steel fabrication and design issues, pre-cast and post-tensioned concrete structures, micro-tunneling, solar power, biomass generator facilities, combined cycle plants, process piping plants, nuclear power plants, caisson and other pile driving issues, most commercial building trades and site work, and geotechnical issues.

John combines his extensive trial experience with his experience as a neutral arbitrator and court-appointed referee and brings to bear these perspectives in effective evaluation and presentation of cases. John has negotiated construction contracts on behalf of contractors, owners, and subcontractors on a nationwide basis and frequently counsels clients on effective risk and claim avoidance.

Honors & Distinctions


  • AV® Preeminent Rating

The Best Lawyers in America®

  • Litigation-Construction "Lawyer of the Year" in Providence, RI,  2011, 2014, 2016, 2019
  • Commercial Litigation, 2015-present
  • Arbitration, Litigation-Construction, Mediation, 2011-present
  • Construction Law, 2007-present


  • Construction Litigation, 2007-2019
  • Named to Top Ten RI SuperLawyers lists, 2009, 2010 & 2012

Chambers USA

  • Recognized in General Commercial Litigation, 2006-present

American Arbitration Association

  • Outstanding Director Award 2007
  • Master Mediator Panel
  • Mega Construction Project Claims Panel
Professional Activities

American College of Construction Lawyers

  • Elected Secretary 2019-2020
  • Board of Governors 2013-2016
  • Elected Fellow 2006

College of Commercial Arbitrators

  • Elected Fellow 2015

American Arbitration Association

  • National Board of Directors 2002-2014
  • Member, Executive Committee to Board of Directors 2010-2014
  • Chair, Practice Committee 2010-2014
  • Member, Budget and Finance Committee 2014-Present
  • National Commercial and Construction Arbitration Panels
  • Large Complex Case Panel
  • National Mediation Panel

American Bar Association

  • Member, Forum on Construction Law

International Mediation Institute

  • Certified Mediator 2010


  • Mediation Training 2000

National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee

  • Liaison Appointed by the American College of Construction Lawyers
  • Chair, Rules Subcommittee
  • Member, Executive Committee

Roger Williams University

  • Vice Chair, Construction Management Professional Advisory Board

National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals

  • Inducted to the Rhode Island Chapter 2017

International Bar Association

  • VIAC CDRC Vienna Mediation & Negotiation Competition - Expert Assessor, 2016-present

U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island

  • ADR Panel 2017
  • Author, "A View from the Middle of the Table – A Mediator’s Practical Observations and Recommendations," Under Construction, ABA Forum on Construction Law, Vol. 19 No. 3 (Spring 2018)
  • Co-author, "What's the Appeal of Arbitration?  Overturning Arbitration Awards and the New Appellate Rules of Arbitration," ABA Forum on Construction Law 2015 Fall Meeting (2015)
  • Co-author, "A Tale of Two Lawyers: How Arbitrators and Advocates Can Avoid the Dangerous Convergence of Arbitration and Litigation," 14 Cardozo J. of Conflict Resolution 683 (2013)
  • Contributing author, "State-By-State Guide to Architect, Engineer, and Contractor Licensing," Second Edition, Stephen G. Walker, Editor (2013)
  • Co-author, "Managing Exchanges of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in Construction Arbitration," Dispute Resolution Journal (August/October 2012)
  • Author, "You Have a Friend…Or Do You: Strategic Joint Defense/Prosecution Agreements in Construction Disputes," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (2012)
  • Co-author, "Strategic Considerations in Construction Litigation: Article 2 of the UCC," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (2012)
  • Co-author, "Harnessing Your Client's Wind Power Rights", Rhode Island Bar Journal, Vol. 59, No. 3 (November/December 2010)
  • Co-author, "The Uniform Commercial Code and Construction Law: The Possible Applicability of Article 2," Construct!, ABA Section of Litigation, Construction Litigation Committee, Vol.19 No. 2. (Summer/Fall 2010)
  • Co-author, "Taking on Too Much Water," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (October 2007)



Faculty, Construction SuperConference, "How Arbitrators Evaluate the Testimony of Schedule and Damage Experts"


Faculty, Construction SuperConference, "Getting Off on the Right Foot: How Effective Preliminary Hearings Ensure Efficiency and Economy"

Faculty, AAA Construction Conference, "How Do We Get the War Stories ..."

Mediator, United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Litigation Academy Mediation Skills Program


Faculty, Construction SuperConference, "Modern Challenges and Ethical Dilemmas at Arbitration"

Moderator, AAA Construction Conference, "Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget"


Faculty, Construction SuperConference, "The New AAA Construction Industry Rules"

Faculty, ABA Forum on Construction Law 2015 Fall Meeting, "What's the Appeal of Arbitration? Overturning Arbitration Awards and the New Appellate Rules of Arbitration"

Faculty, ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference, "A Litigator's Guide to Arbitration: Best Practices to Maximize the Benefits of Your Next Arbitration"


Faculty, MSU and Montana State Bar 10th Annual Construction Law Institute, "Point-Counterpoint: Litigation or Arbitration"

Faculty, AAA Mediation Week, "Stories Mediators Tell: The Bad (and Ugly)"


Faculty, AAA Arbitrator Continuing Education (ACE), "Maximizing Efficiency & Economy in Arbitration: Challenges at the Preliminary Hearing"

Faculty, AAA Arbitrator Continuing Education (ACE), "Managing the Arbitration Process for Efficiency & Economy Following the Preliminary Hearing"


Faculty, AAA Construction Conference, "Optimizing Your Client’s Construction Arbitration Hearing"

Faculty, Fourth International Construction Law Conference in Melbourne, Australia, "Comparative Evolution of Arbitration in the United States and Australia"

Faculty, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Annual Meeting, "You’ve Got a Friend, or Do You? How Do the Delivery Systems and Party Postures Impact Litigation Strategy and Procedures in Multi-Party Construction Claims?"


Panelist, 26th Annual Construction SuperConference, "Building the Construction Arbitration Process to Optimize its Advantages"

Faculty, MSU and Montana State Bar 7th Annual Construction Law Institute, "Practical and Procedural Considerations in Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation (Including Getting the Right People to the Party)"

Faculty, Associated General Contractors of America 92 Annual Convention, "AIA A201 vs ConsensusDOCS: A 10 Round Bout to Determine which is the Fairest Contract of Them All?"

Practice Areas