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Law School:
Emory University School of Law 1976

B.A. George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 1971

Practice Areas:
Construction Law

Admitted to Practice: GA 1976; DC 1980

Assistant: Diamond Qualls

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2013; Top Rated Construction Litigation Attorney in Atlanta, GA

Stephen M. Phillips is a senior partner at the firm. Mr. Phillips’ practice focuses on legal issues pertaining to the construction industry and particularly the commercial roofing industry. He has gained national recognition concerning legal issues affecting the roofing industry. For over 35 years, he has been representing parties in commercial roofing matters. For the past 30 years, he has served as general counsel to the National Roofing Contractors Association and was one of the founders and also serves as counsel to the National Roofing Legal Resource Center, based in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Phillips has written and spoken extensively regarding construction law topics and construction litigation, particularly regarding the commercial roofing industry. He was the principal author of the warranty section of the Commercial Low-Slope Roofing Materials Guide and the Residential Steep-Slope Roofing Materials Guide, published by the National Roofing Contractors Association and the OSHA Citation Defense Manual published by the National Roofing Legal Resource Center. He is the author of "Liabilities of Parties Engaged in Re-roofing Construction Projects,” published as part of the Proceedings of the Low-Slope Re-roofing Workshop, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the co-author of "Roofing Systems," published by the American Bar Association, Forum Committee on the Construction Industry, for a program on Construction Technology for Lawyers. He has published articles on numerous construction topics such as insurance coverage applicable to construction disputes, measuring damages when there is defective construction, construction contracts, liquidated damages, mold claims, proprietary specifications, bid mistakes, anti-indemnity statutes, building code violations, bidder responsibility and bid responsiveness and the Spearin doctrine.

Mr. Phillips has presented papers and lectured on construction topics to a wide range of groups, including symposium sponsored by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, the Clemson University Continuing Engineering Education Program, the University of Illinois' Office of Extension Conferences, the American Institute of Architects, the American Bar Association's Forum on the Construction Industry and numerous construction contractor groups.

He has served as chairman and member of the Board of Regents and faculty of The Roofing Industry Educational Institute (RIEI), a non-profit educational organization. He has served as a lecturer for the Georgia Tech Research Institute's asbestos courses covering legal requirements and liabilities associated with asbestos-related construction work and the RIEI course on Roofing and Asbestos. Mr. Phillips is a member of the American Arbitration Association's Commercial Panel to hear construction disputes under the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules and has served as a construction arbitrator.

In 1995, Mr. Phillips was elected by his peers as a fellow in the American College of Construction Lawyers. He has been designated as a Georgia Super Lawyer in the field of construction law and construction litigation each year since 2004 and has been recognized and listed in such publications as “Best Lawyers in America,” The International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers, and Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In 2003, Mr. Phillips was awarded the J. A. Piper Award by the National Roofing Contractors Association in recognition of devoted and constant outstanding service to the roofing industry. He also received the Boone Noblitt Award from the Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia for outstanding service. In March 2016, Mr. Phillips was honored to receive the Clarence J. Carr Roofing Industry award by the North/East Roofing Contractors Association (NERCA) for outstanding service and contributions to the industry.

Prior to entering private law practice, Mr. Phillips worked as a Congressional staff member in Washington, D.C. and was the author of several Congressional studies dealing with environmental issues as an analyst in environmental policy for the Congressional Research Service. He has an undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he was the editor-in-chief of the University newspaper. He earned a law degree in 1976 from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where he served on the Law Review. He is a member of the Forum Committee on the Construction Industry and the Section on Litigation of the American Bar Association. He has served on the Board of the Georgia Legal Services Program and is admitted to the State Bar of Georgia, the District of Columbia Bar, the United States Court of Federal Claims and the Atlanta Bar Association.


  • Member, State Bar of Georgia

  • Member, District of Columbia Bar

  • American Bar Association, Forum Committee on the Construction Industry and Section on Litigation

  • Member, Atlanta Bar Association

  • Georgia Super Lawyer 2004-2013; Best Lawyers in America

  • Counsel, National Roofing Contractors Association

  • Counsel, National Roofing Legal Resource Center

  • Member, American Arbitration Association Panel for Construction Disputes

  • American College of Construction Lawyers

  • Chairman and Member of Board of Regents, Roofing Industry Educational Institute


"AIA Contracts: Key Provisions and Changes in 2017," NRLRC, July 2017

"A Layer of Protection: CNA offers roofing contractors broader coverage than traditional CGL policies," Professional Roofing, June 2017

"A Tougher Stance: The American Institute of Architects issues more rigorous construction contracts," Professional Roofing, April 2017

"Avoiding Pitfalls: Carefully consider projects with controlled insurance programs to avoid financial consequences," Professional Roofing, October 2016

"Dealing With DOL’s New Rules: How to make sense of DOL’s revised overtime regulations," Professional Roofing, June 2016

"The Details of Delays: Construction delays and their consequences depend on several variables," Professional Roofing, February2016

"A Legal Out: Property damage claims against contractors may be barred by a waiver of subrogation provision in AIA contracts," Professional Roofing, October 2015

"Overhauling Overtime: DOL proposes new regulations governing employees entitled to overtime compensation," Professional Roofing, August 2015

"Digging Into DBES: Prosecutors root out fraud in disadvantaged business enterprise construction contracting," Professional Roofing, April 2015

"Rules of Retainage: State laws have been changing regarding payment of retainage for construction projects," Professional Roofing, February 2015

"A Novel Approach: Integrated project delivery provides an alternative to traditional construction delivery methods," Professional Roofing, December 2014

"A Slippery Slope: Misclassifying employees as independent contractors and labor-only contracts pose challenges to contractors," Professional Roofing, October 2014

"No Time Runs Against The King: Contractors performing public work quickly will realize a centuries-old legal doctrine lives on,"Professional Roofing, August 2014

"Certificates of Dubious Value: Don’t rely on certificates of insurance," Professional Roofing, June 2014

"Limit Your Liability: Indemnification provisions in contract documents can prove detrimental to you," Professional Roofing, February 2014

"In Your Defense: Know what is required from your CGL insurance carrier when a lawsuit is filed," Professional Roofing, October 2013

"Prepare For Compliance: The Affordable Care Act will directly affect you and your employees," Professional Roofing, June 2013

"Being An Additional Insured: There are certain circumstances that allow you to sue another party’s insurance company," Professional Roofing, April 2013

"A Real Risk: Your corporate structure may not protect you from personal liability," Professional Roofing, December 2012

"Perfecting The Protest: Knowing how to submit bid protests can be a valuable tool," Professional Roofing, August 2012

"Preserving The Evidence: In construction litigation, destroying evidence can mean destroying a case," Professional Roofing, February 2012

"Watching The Clock: Make sure performance bonds have time limitations," Professional Roofing, June 2011

"Oh, Never Mind: Can a contract be terminated for convenience?," Professional Roofing, February 2011

"Properly Structuring a Corporation is Essential for Liability Protection," Professional Roofing, January 2011

"Protecting Your Assets: Properly structuring a corporation is essential for liability protection," Professional Roofing, December 2010

"How Many Do You Employ?: You may be liable for other contractors’ employees," Professional Roofing, July 2010

"Another Option: Trust fund statutes can help you get paid," Professional Roofing, March 2010

"Risky Business: Don’t overlook the need for builder’s risk and installation floater insurance policies," Professional Roofing, July 2009

“Are You Covered?,” (Your CGL policy may or may not cover breach of contract claims), Professional Roofing, January 2009

"How Far Does It Go?: CGL insurance coverage sometimes extends to subcontractors," Professional Roofing, January 2009

"Clearing Up CGL Confusion: Is defective workmanship covered?," Professional Roofing, November 2008

"Are You Covered?: Your CGL policy may or may not cover breach of contract claims," Professional Roofing, September 2008

“ConsensusDocs 750 is a different version of an earlier AGC subcontractor form,” Professional Roofing, Professional Roofing, April 2008

"New And Improved: ConsensusDocs 750 is a different version of an earlier AGC subcontract form," Professional Roofing, March 2008

"Separate Corners: AIA revises its construction contract documents without AGC’s endorsement," Professional Roofing, January 2008

“AIA Issues New Standard Construction Contracts, Determining Damages,” Professional Roofing, December 2007

"Determining Damages: For breach-of-contract claims, outcomes depend on how courts measure damages," Professional Roofing, November 2007

“State immigration laws increase employer liability,” Professional Roofing, August 2007

"The States Take A Stand: State immigration laws increase employer liabilities," Professional Roofing, July 2007

“It’s important to understand the effects of naming additional insureds,” Professional Roofing, April 2007

"Additional Insureds Require Additional Awareness: It’s important to understand the effects of naming additional insureds," Professional Roofing, March 2007

“H-2B Visas may be an option for Contractors in need of employees,” Professional Roofing, December 2006

"In Search of Employees: H-2B visas may be an option for contractors in need of employees," Professional Roofing, November 2006

“Electronic verification of employees is likely to be required as the immigration debate intensifies,” Professional Roofing, June 2006

"The Right Side of The Law: Electronic verification of employees is likely to be required as the immigration debate intensifies," Professional Roofing, May 2006

“Dispute Resolution Depends On The Way Courts Interpret Contracts,” Professional Roofing, February 2006

"What Does Your Contract Mean?: Dispute resolution depends on the way courts interpret contracts," Professional Roofing, January 2006

"The Rise In Statutes: More states have enacted construction-defect statutes that can benefit you," Professional Roofing, September 2005

"Watch Out For Release Language: When you submit payment requests, release language becomes crucial," Professional Roofing, May 2005

"Prosecutors Steps Up Efforts to Root Out Fraud in Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Construction Contracting: Digging deep into DBEs," Professional Roofing, May 2005

"Legal Ease: Handling volatile material pricing," Professional Roofing, January 2005

"Legal Ease: Are liquidated damages enforceable?" Professional Roofing, September 2004

"Legal Ease: Contract discrepancies," Professional Roofing, May 2004

"Legal Ease: Precedents and contract provisions," Professional Roofing, January 2004

"Legal Ease: Building codes and contractor liability," Professional Roofing, September 2003

"Legal Ease: Spotlight on Spearin," Professional Roofing, May 2003

"Legal Ease: Understanding payment provisions," Professional Roofing, January 2003

"Legal Corner: Bid protests," Professional Roofing, November 2002

"Legal Corner: Responsibility and responsiveness," Professional Roofing, October 2002

"Uncovering Mold: The mold issue can be overwhelming—unless you understand its complexities," Professional Roofing, September 2002

"Legal Corner: Indemnification case studies," Professional Roofing, March 2002

"Making Sense of AGC Provisions," Professional Roofing, March 1999

"Knowing the Limitations : When a Contractor is Responsible," Professional Roofing, September 1998

"Roll-Ups: Changes in Legal Ownership and Management Structure," Professional Roofing, September 1998

"Knowing Where Responsibilities Lie: Roofing Contractors Need to Become Familiar with Changes to AIA Construction Contract Documents," Professional Roofing, February 1998

"Residential Roofing Warranties: Limiting the Liability," Professional Roofing, September 1997

"Sticks and Bricks: Roofing Construction Technology for Lawyers," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, November 1995

"Contractors Rights Versus OSHA Authority When OSHA Wants to Inspect Your Jobsite," Benchmark, March 1995

"OSHA’s New Fall Protection Standard," Professional Roofing, March 1995

"Contractor’s Pull together to Construct Contractor Forms," Professional Roofing, October 1994

"Liabilities of Parties Engages in Re-Roofing Construction Projects," U.S. Department of Energy, August 1994

"Contractor’s Failure to Inquire Upon Recognizing Ambiguity in Specifications Precludes Recovery of Extra Costs," Benchmark, January 1994

"The Facts on Roofing Warranties." Engineer’s Digest, February 1993

"Watch Out for Pitfalls in Applicator Agreements," Professional Roofing, July 1990

"Legal and Insurance Considerations Pertaining to Contractors’ Handling of Asbestos," Georgia Tech Research Institute, August 1987 / June 1988

"Juries Award Substantial Damages in Roofing Cases," NRLRC News, February 1984

"The Pre-Job Roofing Conference," RSI Magazine, February 1982

"Legal Consequences of Licensed Applicators Agreements Between Single Ply Manufacturers and Roofing Contractors," Professional Roofing, 1981

"Statute of Limitations A Key Issue in Outcome of Roofing Lawsuits," NRLRC News, November 1980

"Concentration of Ownership of the Mass Media: An examination of New FCC Rules on Cross Ownership of Co-Located Newspapers and Broadcast Stations," 24 Emory Law Journal, 1975