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James E. Hughes

P: 315.565.4529
F: 315.565.4600

James E. Hughes is a partner in the Litigation Practice. With more than 30 years of experience in construction law, Mr. Hughes is involved in negotiating and drafting design and construction agreements for public and private entities. This includes all capital procurement methods (Design Bid Build, Design Build, Construction Manager as Advisor, Construction Manager at Risk, Guaranteed Maximum Price, Integrated Project Delivery and Energy Performance Agreements). His early involvement on capital projects includes guidance on consultant selection procedures and integration of the many agreements entered into with respect to a construction project.

Mr. Hughes is experienced in successfully resolving construction defect and construction delay/disruption disputes, which often involve management of voluminous documents and complex issues. He has successfully litigated several complex construction claims. He assists in design phase and construction phase problem solving to resolve issues before they get out of hand. Mr. Hughes also assists clients with ERISA compliance and litigation matters.

Mr. Hughes has served as General Counsel for several Central New York villages, towns and fire departments since 1984. He represents school districts across New York State with respect to capital construction projects, procurement matters and general business matters.

Mr. Hughes is a frequent speaker and has presented at numerous seminars and lectures on the following construction-related topics:

  • Using ConsensusDOCS Form Agreements
  • Key Topics in Modern Construction Contracting
  • AIA Design and Construction Contracts
  • Public Construction Contracting
  • Construction Contracting for Public Entities – State and Federal Contract Requirements
  • Construction Scheduling
  • Managing Construction Projects
  • Avoiding Liability – An Overview of Key Construction Contract Language
  • Energy Performance Contracting – Making the Model Work for Public Schools and Other Municipal Owners
  • Procuring Design and Construction Services
  • Preparation of Plans and Contract Documents
  • Drafting Contract Specifications
  • The Role of Construction Counsel in Large Construction Projects
  • Understanding the AIA Construction Contract and General Conditions

These seminar and lecture presentations have been provided through the Central New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Construction Owners Association of America, the Associated General Contractors of America, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, NY APPA, SUNY APPA, Lorman Education Services, Inc., and the National Business Institute, among others.

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Hughes was employed by Hart & Hume from 1979 to 1983. While at Hart & Hume, he concentrated his practice on construction litigation and insurance coverage issues. He oversaw preparation and analysis of large construction delay/disruption claims involving multi-contractor projects undertaken by the City of New York.

Mr. Hughes currently serves as Justice for the Village of Fayetteville, NY.

Mr. Hughes serves as a Construction Arbitrator through the American Arbitration Association.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended a Central School District against a Federal False Claims Act (Qui Tam) Action related to Medical Reimbursement for eligible Case Management Services.
  • Represented various construction firms on issues pertaining to Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) compliance.
  • Successfully overturned a denial of admission of a construction firm to participate in the Small Business Administration (SBA) Section 8(a) Business Development Program, resulting in the construction firm’s participation in this significant program.
  • Representation of several hospitals, municipalities and school districts on all phases of design and construction projects of all sizes.
  • Successfully defended a village through an arbitration involving delay claims related to the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility.
  • Successfully defended several central school districts against delay and disruption claims related to new construction and renovations.
  • Participated in the defense of several design firms involved in construction disputes in New York City, including construction of the Battery Park City Coffer Dam System, the renovation of the Red Hook Wastewater Treatment Plant and the construction of the Woodhull Medical Center.
  • Represented a large city in New York State with respect to the construction of major water system improvements; updated form design and construction agreements.
  • Serving as Construction Counsel for a City School Construction Program.
  • University at Buffalo Law School, J.D., 1979
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.S., magna cum laude, 1976



  • Justice, Village of Fayetteville, NY
  • Past President, Onondaga County Magistrates Association
  • Board of Directors and Treasurer, Onondaga County Bar Association Assigned Counsel Program, Inc.
  • American Arbitration Association, Arbitrator, Construction Arbitration and Mediation Neutral Panel
  • Volunteer Neutral, United State District Court, Northern District of New York
  • Member, Construction Owners Association of America, Contract Document Committee
  • Member, Association of General Contractors
  • Member, Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, Finance & Investment Committee
  • Member, Onondaga County Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Madison County Bar Association

Honors & Recognitions:

  • Rated, AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell