|For more than three decades, commercial litigator Neal Eiseman has provided legal counsel to a wide variety of corporate clients in the construction and real estate industries. Representing real estate developers, lenders, owners, construction managers, contractors, sureties, manufacturers and design professionals, he advises clients in both the transactional and litigation aspects of commercial and real estate law.
Best Lawyers selected Neal as the 2017 Lawyer of the Year in New York City for Litigation-Construction Law and Super Lawyers named him as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for the New York Metropolitan Area.
Neal’s commitment to his practice extends beyond the courtroom. He represents clients in arbitration proceedings and also serves as a neutral on the Panel of Construction Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), including its Construction Arbitration Master Panel. He also serves on the Panel of Arbitrators for the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. He has served as an arbitrator for New York City’s Civil Court and founded the Bergen County Bar Association’s Construction Law Committee.
Neal represents clients in all types of commercial mediations. He is a member of both the AAA’s Construction Master Mediator Panel and the Panel of Mediators of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. Several times, Neal has taught an intensive five-day AAA mediator training program entitled “Essential Mediation Skills for the New Mediator.”
As an Adjunct Professor at Cardozo School of Law, Neal teaches Construction Law. He is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University, where he teaches masters-level courses in construction, real estate law, negotiation, and dispute resolution. In 2015, Neal received NYU’s School of Professional Studies Award for Outstanding Service.
He is a regular guest speaker at events held by the American Bar Association (ABA), the AAA and various construction trade associations. Recently, Neal lectured at the 2017 Construction SuperConference on “Streamlining Your Arbitration: How to Avoid Reliving that Construction Project Brick by Brick,” in Las Vegas, Nevada. In April 2018, Neal spoke at the annual ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Conference in Washington, D.C. on “Handling Multi-Claim Construction Disputes: Practical Tips.” In October 2018, he spoke on behalf of the American Arbitration Association in New York City on “Seeking Efficiency and Economy in Arbitration: The Attorney’s Role.” Neal will be speaking at the ABA’s Spring 2019 Litigation Conference in New York City on “A Delicate Balance: Arbitrating Your Clients Complex Commercial Case Without Sacrificing Speed, Efficiency and Cost-Savings.” Neal will also be speaking at the ABA’s Spring 2019 Section of Dispute Resolution Conference in Minneapolis on “I Know You Want to Beat the Heck Out of ‘Em and that Money Doesn’t Matter, But… How to Save Parties from Themselves in Construction Arbitration.”
In the recent past, Neal (i) appeared before more than 200 New York City School Construction Authority project managers and spoke about dispute resolution; (ii) spoke as part of a national AAA webinar on “The Overuse of Discovery in Arbitration Proceedings”; (iii) lectured about project delay and scheduling at the ABA’s New York Regional Program entitled “The Fundamentals of Construction Law”; (iv) participated on a panel of experts on “New York’s Prompt Payment Act: An Underutilized Tool for Getting your Client Paid” at New York County Lawyers Association; (v) spoke before the New York County Lawyers Association on “The Use of ADR in Construction Cases: What the Industry Forms Say about ADR”; and (vi) lectured at the ABA’s Annual Litigation Conference about “Best Practices to Maximize the Benefits of Your Next Arbitration.” He also recorded a Sound Advice segment for the ABA’s national website.
In a decision that received national coverage, Neal recently represented a number of unpaid telecommunication companies who sued Wells Fargo Bank in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for the diversion of monies funded by certain public entities to pay for the subcontractors work. The lawsuit, certified as a class action, was tried before Judge Leonard D. Wexler who issued a decision awarding the subcontractors 100% of their claims totaling, including interest, $2.7 million.
Neal was successful in securing a $1 million-plus arbitration award, which included attorney’s fees, against the sponsor of a Manhattan condominium project on behalf of various unit owners who claimed the fair market value of their apartments had been reduced by virtue of the sponsor’s actions. Neal also obtained a unanimous reversal of an adverse decision of a New York federal trial court when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that a Residential Exclusion rider in a comprehensive general liability insurance policy does not permit a contractor’s insurance company to disclaim coverage because the project in question involves the construction of a residential condominium project.
Neal writes extensively about construction and commercial issues for various legal publications. Since 2016, Neal has been the author of The Overview on New York Construction Law for Thomson Reuters Practical Law. Neal is a co-author of the “Claims and Disputes” chapter of the ABA’s 2017 A201 Deskbook. He is also a co-author of the chapters on “Construction” and “Arbitrator Fees and Expenses” in the College of Commercial Arbitrators’ Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration (4th ed., 2017).
On April 13, 2018, Neal wrote a column for the New York Law Journal entitled Third-Party Funding of Lawsuits Permeates Legal Landscape. It examined some of the practical and ethical questions surrounding third-party financing of legal claims, including the potential for bias, discovery and influence on trial and arbitration counsel. On June 19, 2018, Crain’s New York Business published Neal’s article on the effect that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision could have on workers claims for unpaid wages. In 2015, his opinion piece on how proposed legislation in New York undermines the arbitration of business disputes appeared in the New York Law Journal. In 2015, the Harvard Negotiation Law Review published his article, Stiffing the Arbitrators: The Problem of Nonpayment in Commercial Arbitration. In 2013, Neal co-authored an article entitled “A Tale of Two Lawyers: How Arbitrators and Advocates Can Avoid the Dangerous Convergence of Arbitration and Litigation” for Cardozo Law Schools Journal of Conflict Resolution.
A member of the American and New York and New Jersey State Bar associations, the New York County Lawyers Association and ABA Sections in Construction and Litigation, Neal is the Chair of the Arbitration Subcommittee of the ABA’s Section of Litigation. He is a member of the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate/Construction Management Advisory Board, a Member of the AAA’s Arbitrator National Advisory Committee, and a Fellow and Board and Executive Committee Member of the College of Commercial Arbitrators. He is also a Member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.
Neal’s expertise has been widely recognized by publications and fellow attorneys. He is a peer-selected Best Lawyer in America, rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell; recognized for ten years as a Super Lawyer in construction; and listed by Who’s Who Legal as one of the world’s leading practitioners in construction. Neal was also named one of Bergen County, New Jersey’s Top Lawyers in (201) Magazine. Chambers USA has referred to Neal as very intelligent and a breath of fresh air, praising him for his ability to bring to the table a pragmatic approach. Chambers noted that Neal is the consummate professional, understanding the details and getting to the bottom of things very quickly.