Ernest C. Brown
Ernest Brown ADR

Click here to email
Click for Full Website
244 California Street
Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94111
800 832-6946
Fax: 415 276-1754

Contact Ernest C Brown

Description of Practice

Ernest C. Brown, ESQ, PE is a highly-acclaimed Mediator, Arbitrator, Special Master and Hearing Officer. He is listed by the respected Chambers & Partners as one of the top six Construction Mediators in California. He began his legal career at Fluor Corporation, a global engineering and construction company, and thereafter advised more than $10 billion in US and International Construction Projects. Mr. Brown has also been chief trial counsel in global construction disputes such as the Central Arizona Project Pipeline failure ($146 million, Defense Verdict) and the June 6, 1985 Southern California Edison Powerplant Disaster ($250 million in property damage and six deaths with a minimal settlement for his client). He graduated from MIT in Civil & Environmental Engineering (1975). While working as a project field engineer and geotechnical engineer, he completed an MSCE in Project Management and Juris Doctor in Law from the University of California, Berkeley (1978). He is a registered California Professional Engineer (Civil Engineering and Surveying) and member of the State Bar of California. His ADR practice emphasizes engineering and construction megaprojects (over $500 million) and related complex disputes. He has resolved contract disputes, construction disasters and related litigation on regional airports, iconic buildings, suspension and box bridges, highways, high rise office buildings, refineries, pipelines, storage tanks, water and wastewater treatment plants, and a myriad of other projects.

Professional Background

Mr. Brown has served as legal counsel for large domestic and international projects including the Presidio Parkway P3 Project ($1.2B), Carquinez Suspension Bridge Project ($250M), John Wayne Airport ($340 Million), Anaheim Arena ($100M), and the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) ($450M). MIT Civil Engineering/Boalt Hall Law School (University of California - Berkeley). Thirty years of construction law practice with Fluor, the Construction Group Leader at a large law firm and the founder of a twenty-lawyer construction law firm (Ernest Brown & Company). Thirty years of Experience as a AAA Construction Arbitrator and Mediator. Mr. Brown has completed basic and advanced AAA Construction Arbitration Training and has been a member of the National Panel of Arbitrators since 1983. He is active as a seminar leader for training programs for AAA Construction Arbitrators. Mr. Brown has been admitted to practice in California and U.S. Federal Court since 1978.


Ernest serves the construction industry and public sector as a Mediator, Arbitrator and Special Master for the American Arbitration Association. He has mediated more than 600 construction cases and serves as AAA Panel Chairman on cases ranging up to $100 Million. Representative ADR Clients: • Kiewit Corp. • Fluor Corp. • Flatiron Construction Company • PCL Construction Enterprises Inc. • Clark Group • Balfour Beatty US • CB & I • CH2M Hill • Lend Lease • DPR Construction • Swinerton Inc. • Teichert Construction • Alaska Air National Guard • Department of Water Resources • California Department of Transportation • City of Loyalton • Mountain States Steel • El Camino Community College District • Federal Mogul Asbestos Settlement Trust • Granite Construction. Chosen as one of the top 100 ADR providers in California. (California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals) Author of online guide to California Construction law (


Mr. Brown studied Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1975). He completed advanced degrees in Construction Management (M.S.C.E.) and Law (J.D.) from the University of California, Berkeley (1978), and studied International Law at Harvard Law School (ILS).


Ernest Brown’s underlying philosophy is to protect the interests of his clients through the ethical, knowledgeable and skilled mediation and practice of the law. He is known as an energetic and responsive leader capable of resolving even the most complex construction dispute matters. Mediation is an art and a terrific innovation for the legal industry, but counsel and the parties must fully understand its underlying philosophy and purpose, carefully prepare their mediation case, and then wholeheartedly engage in the settlement process. Prior to the Mediation, counsel for the parties will submit a very brief (5-8 pages) on the main points of the dispute. It is extremely helpful if these materials include the critical documents, such as copies of letters, documents, checks, meeting notes or other helpful materials that will help the Mediator understand the issues. When a resolution is reached, the parties and their counsel will draft a simple, enforceable settlement agreement that the parties shall sign. A more formal settlement agreement may follow, but the fundamental points must be included in the settlement agreement.


$8,000/ day throughout the Western United States which includes a preliminary hearing, all reading and preparation for the mediation, a ten hour mediation session, and telephone followup for 30 days. A $1,500 travel/lodging fee per day for travel assignments beyond the Western US. Mediation Fees are due upon booking. The first day of mediation is charged upon the parties agreeing to a mediation date. Subsequent days of mediation can be cancelled without penalty. Estimated arbitration fees are charged in advance and the cancellation fee is typically two days per scheduled week that is postponed or cancelled. Hourly rate for incidental services is $525/hour.

Other Information

Mr. Brown's Professional Activities and Appearances include: Adjunct Faculty, Construction Law, University of California (2012-2013); Adjunct Faculty, Construction Law, UCI Extension (1983-84); Adjunct Faculty, Construction Law, Cal Poly Pomona (1981-82); Adjunct Faculty, Construction Law, University of California, (1979-1985). Presentation at AAA Construction Conference - March 27, 2015 - Santa Monica, CA; SCH Annual Construction Law Update Seminar - February 26-27, 2015 - Atlanta, GA; P3 Presentation at Construction Superconference - December 2, 2014 - Las Vegas, NV; Panel Discussion re Strategies for Success in the Post-Recession Economy - October 16-17, 2014 - Chicago, IL; Construction & Development Summit - April 24, 2014- Los Angeles, CA; Workshop on Financing and Constructing P3 Projects - March 12, 2014; P3 Panel Discussion at AGC National Convention - March 4, 2014- Las Vegas, NV; Construction Superconference - December 12, 2013- San Francisco, CA; Florida P3 Workshop- November 6, 2013; SCH Attorneys Keynote Speakers at DBIA Regional Conference- October 4, 2013; Construction ADR Tools in the Field- August 8, 2013; SCH Presentation at AGC National Convention- March 8, 2013; SCH Construction Law Update Conference 2013- February 21-22, 2013- Atlanta, GA; ConsensusDocs Program at Construction Superconference 2012- December 13, 2012 Mr. Brown's Honors & Awards include Honorary President, Chi Epsilon Engineering Fraternity and Karl Taylor Compton Prize for Scholarship & Outstanding Contributions to the MIT Community (1975)

Areas of Practice

  • Aviation
  • Civil (general)
  • Commercial
  • Construction
  • Contracts
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Government
  • Insurance
  • International
  • Land Use
  • Oil and Gas
  • Online Mediation
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate
  • Technology

Professional Services

  • Mediator
  • Fact-Finder
  • Mediator-Arbitrator
  • Mediation Consultant
  • Mediation Trainer
  • Representational Lawyer
  • Mediating Lawyer
  • Arbitrator
  • Collaborative Professional
  • Facilitator