Christopher R. WardChristopher Ward Clark Hill
Christopher R. Ward
Christopher R. Ward represents clients in complex claims, litigation, and transactions with an emphasis on surety and fidelity, construction, insurance coverage, professional liability, bankruptcy, and other commercial matters.
Chris handles large files around the country and is licensed in state and federal courts in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, and Michigan, as well as the Court of Federal Claims.
Chris’s experience handling myriad diverse matters across various areas of law enables him to quickly analyze legal issues and evaluate risks in a manner best suited to lead to a prompt and reasonable resolution. In addition to experience, Chris brings the creativity and tenacity often necessary to arrive at the best possible resolution for his clients. When a matter cannot be resolved amicably, Chris stands ready to successfully represent his clients in state and federal courts across the country, trying cases to verdict, handling appeals, and representing clients in mediation and arbitration proceedings.
Although Chris’s practice is diverse, one mainstay throughout his career has been his work for sureties. Chris has advised clients in all facets of the surety industry, from claims to underwriting issues. He has significant experience representing sureties in connection with all types of bonds, including performance, payment, probate, public officials, subdivision, and various other miscellaneous commercial surety bonds. He has successfully handled countless complex contract surety claims, expertly guiding sureties through pre-default investigations and negotiations and completion of construction projects after default, including drafting and negotiating completion contracts, takeover agreements, ratification agreements, financing agreements, and other pertinent surety agreements.
He also has extensive experience handling complicated and varied commercial surety bond claims, from the initial investigation and analysis to conclusion. Chris’s experience extends to protecting sureties’ interests in bankruptcy proceedings, including pre-bankruptcy and post-filing negotiations of reorganization plans, conflicts regarding unpaid proceeds of bonded contracts, negotiations regarding assumption of bonded obligations, debtor in possession financing, and other issues. Chris also has extensive experience handling surety salvage efforts, including claims against principals and indemnitors, owners, subcontractors and suppliers, design professionals, accountants, and other parties potentially responsible for a surety's loss.
Chris’s general construction practice includes representing owners, contractors, design professionals, subcontractors, and suppliers in connection with contract disputes, claims, and contract drafting. Chris regularly handles complex multiparty construction disputes and claims in state and federal courts around the country as well as in arbitration and before administrative panels. His extensive experience, unique insight, and creative approach have been instrumental in the successful resolution of significant multi-million-dollar disputes for his construction clients through negotiations, mediations, dispositive motion, trial, arbitration, and appeal.
Chris’s construction practice is certainly not limited to handling disputes that arise in connection with the construction projects. He also regularly counsels his construction industry clients on risk avoidance measures, including arming them with appropriate contract documents, advising them on important insurance coverages, and counseling them on other proactive steps to control the risks inherent in every construction project. He also has a knack for pragmatically attacking challenges that arise during the course of construction project to ensure that the challenge does not blossom into a larger problem or dispute, significantly mitigating potential damages.
- ABA Tort & Trial Insurance Practice Section, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee, Vice Chair (2014-present; 2006-2013); Executive Editor of the Fidelity and Surety Law Committee Newsletter (2015-present); Past Fidelity & Surety Law Committee leadership positions: FSLC Membership Division, Chair (2013-2015); FSLC Law Division, Chair (2008-2010); FSLC Young Professional Subcommittee, Chair (2007-2009); FSLC Law Division, Payment Bond Subdivision Chair, (2005-2008); FSLC Young Professionals Communications/Technology Subcommittee, Chair (2005-2007); Fidelity & Surety Digest, Editorial Board Member (2006-2010); FSLC Newsletter, Surety Features Editor (2005-2010); Book Review Editor (2004-2005)
- ABA Tort & Trial Insurance Practice Section, Book Publishing Board Standing Committee, CLE Board Standing Committee, Membership Standing Committee, Content Management Standing Committee, Finance Standing Committee, Long Range Planning Standing Committee, Section Conference Standing Committee, Section Conference Task Force
- Defense Research Institute, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee, Steering Committee
- Surety Claims Institute Newsletter, Articles Editor