John E. Bulman, FCIArb

John Bulman has more than 30 years of experience in construction and commercial trial matters in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other states. He has served as either a neutral or counsel in trials, mediations, and arbitrations in Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Connecticut, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Ohio, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, California and Washington D.C. 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.

John has been appointed as an arbitrator by various organizations and agencies over the years, including: American Arbitration Association (AAA), International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), Rhode Island Superior Court, Rhode Island Federal District Court, and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

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®

  • Construction Litigation "Lawyer of the Year" in Providence, RI (2011, 2014, 2016, 2019)
  • Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Providence, RI (2021 & 2024)
  • Commercial Litigation ( 2015-present)
  • Arbitration, Mediation, Construction Litigation (2011-present)
  • Construction Law (2007-present)

Chambers USA

  • Recognized in General Commercial Litigation (2006-present)

Super Lawyers

  • Construction Litigation (2007-present)
  • Named to Top Ten RI Super Lawyers lists (2009, 2010, 2012)

American Arbitration Association

  • Outstanding Director Award (2007)
  • Master Mediator Panel
  • Mega Construction Project Claims Panel

Other Recognitions

  • Recognized by Rhode Island Monthly for Professional Excellence in Construction Law (2021-present)
  • Recipient of Providence Business News "Leaders and Achievers" Award (2024)
Professional Activities

American College of Construction Lawyers

  • Immediate past president (2023-2024)
  • President (2022-2023)
  • President-elect (2021-2022)
  • Elected secretary (2019-2021)
  • Board of Governors (2013-2016)
  • Elected Fellow (2006)

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

  • Fellow (2019)

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

International Bar Association

  • VIAC CDRC Vienna Mediation & Negotiation Competition - Expert Assessor (2016-2019 and 2023)

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)

Practice Areas

Representative Experience
  • Represented numerous public (including state and municipal) and private owners in the development and negotiation of construction contracts for large industrial and commercial projects.
  • 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.
  • Subject matters have included hydroelectric turbine operation and stability, 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, caisson and other pile driving issues, most commercial building trades and site work and geotechnical issues.

John Bulman has sat as an arbitrator, mediator or Dispute Review Board Member on a number of energy projects, including:

Representative Experience
  • Panel arbitrator on a dispute between owner and EPC contractor relating to performance of a biomass generation plant located in the southeast, United States. 
  • Panel arbitrator on a dispute between a contractor and battery field designer and supplier arising out of a fire on a large scale wind turbine project in the western United States. 
  • Party selected DRB member on the construction of a nuclear power plant located in the southeast United States. 
  • Party selected sole arbitrator on a dispute between several parties arising out of the development and construction of solar power fields in several municipalities in the northeast United States. 
  • Party selected mediator for a dispute relating to performance issues on a biomass project located in the northeast United States. 
  • Chair of arbitration panel on a dispute arising out of the construction of several large scale solar arrays by a state entity in the northeast United States. 
  • Sole arbitrator on dispute between general contractor and subcontractor relating to the construction of twenty seven wind turbines in the northeast of the United States.
Representative Experience
  • As a mediator, John has successfully mediated over 300 cases on a variety of subjects including construction, contract interference, personal injury, discrimination, partnership, franchise disputes and municipal tax assessments. As an arbitrator, John has presided over cases with claims as large as $200,000,000. John has arbitrated or mediated cases in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Vermont, Illinois.
  • John's trial and arbitration experience includes both jury and jury-waived matters relating to construction claims, declaratory actions, refinery fire, usury claim, 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.