WTHF was founded in 1978 with six attorneys involved almost exclusively in construction disputes litigation. Today, with over 90 attorneys nationwide, the firm's talented lawyers handle complex design and construction issues and disputes encompassing international and domestic construction, government contracts, surety, real estate and commercial transactions, and insolvency throughout the nation and the world. It has offices in McLean, Virginia, San Francisco and Irvine, California, Las Vegas, Nevada , Seattle, Washington, Miami, Florida, and a relationship with independent law firm, HFK Rechtsanwälte with offices throughout Germany.
WTHF has remained a highly specialized “boutique” law firm focusing on design, construction, and government contract law. This means that nearly every lawyer, paralegal, and staff member devotes 100% of their professional time to design and construction law matters. WTHF principally represents large design firms, design/build contractors, major equipment suppliers, public and private owners and sureties throughout the country and in the world.
WTHF’s approach to a new matter is to have a senior partner visit the client, usually at the project site, assess the situation alone or perhaps with another lawyer or a member of its technical staff and prepare a recommended course of action and preliminary budget. This is reviewed with the client to determine what resources the client can provide especially in the areas of preparing summaries of facts, calculation of damages and collecting and reviewing electronic and hard copy documents. Often it is found that the client can perform substantial portions of the factual investigation and the initial review of documents for discovery.
Because of WTHF’s high level of expertise, this first step is usually quickly accomplished. The partner remains involved and if the matter is litigated or arbitrated, the partner will conduct the proceeding. Other attorneys, and technical and support staff are, of course, used to perform the tasks appropriate to their level of experience and expertise. Direct and regular reporting to, and involvement of, the client is the cornerstone of our representation.
WTHF is a strong advocate for resolving any dispute by settlement, whenever possible. WTHF starts every case as if it is going to be litigated or arbitrated. WTHF believes this becomes apparent to the other party and we are able to resolve most matters through negotiation, mediation or other form of ADR in a range acceptable to our clients and our projections before trial. Because of the number and expertise of its attorneys, WTHF knows all the other significant practitioners in the field. It also knows most of the significant construction consultants and arbitrators in the world, and all the significant construction mediators in the United States. It is almost impossible to appear before a construction arbitration panel any place in the world where WTHF does not personally know and have experience with at least one, and usually all, of the arbitrators. Likewise, it is unusual to have expert witnesses for the opposition with which the firm is unfamiliar. This collective knowledge helps in approaching litigation and arbitration, but is especially helpful in preparing for negotiations and mediation.
Many clients have been with the firm since its inception; many others have been firm clients in excess of ten and twenty years even through several mergers or acquisitions. This client loyalty is a direct result of WTHF’s culture of client service and dedication. The growth of the firm is a testament to its core philosophy – the efficient and economical handling of construction matters through diligent effort, quality representation and a clear understanding of its clients’ business objectives.