Senior Member

David B. Ratterman

David Ratterman is a Senior Member and consultant to the firm’s Construction Service Group on matters involving the fabricated structural steel industry in the United States and internationally. His immersion in the construction industry began as a water boy on construction sites at age 10 and evolved through a series of engineering and construction positions with the U.S. Navy, government and private industry.

David has been an officer or advisor to 12 industry trade organizations and professional societies involved in the international fabricated structural steel industry. From 1989 to 2019, he served as Secretary and General Counsel of the American Institute of Steel Construction and as counsel to its National Steel Bridge Alliance.

David has been lead trial counsel for numerous structural steel fabricators and other contractors, design professionals, material suppliers and construction owners involved in complex matters in litigation, arbitration and construction mediation. Formally trained as a construction arbitrator and mediator and listed on several national construction neutral panels, he has participated as an ADR neutral or advocate in resolution of construction disputes totaling in excess of a billion dollars.

David was also an advisor to FEMA Task Forces that investigated structural damage caused by the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake and the September 11, 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is a Fellow and former Governor of the American College of Construction Lawyers, and in 2014 was presented the college's Past Presidents' Award for exemplary service to the College over a period spanning nearly the entire 25-year history of the College's existence. He was the Founder and first Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association Section on Construction and Public Contract Law. In March 2012, The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) named a college scholarship program after Mr. Ratterman, the "David B. Ratterman Fast Start AISC Scholarship." The scholarship program currently provides financial assistance to 10 college age children of the steel industry's blue- and white-collar families each year. In March 2019, AISC awarded David the Lifetime Achievement Award honoring those who have provided outstanding service to AISC and the structural steel design/construction/academic community. In 2012, he received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the University of Kentucky (UK) Alumni Association. He is a past President of the UK Alumni Association. In 2016 he was inducted into the UK College of Engineering Hall of Distinguished Alumni and in 2018 was awarded the Department of Civil Engineering’s Construction Management Founders Society (CMFS) Lifetime Achievement Award.

A prolific author and speaker on a wide variety of construction law topics, David has presented or published in excess of 50 research papers, technical papers and articles. He has participated in or moderated numerous panel discussions on construction law topics at a wide variety of domestic and international academic symposia.

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

Monumentality in the Engineering Profession

Henry Clay, a Statesman for the 21st Century

Speaker, Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Ky., February 18, 2021

Design Input, Design Assist, and Delegated Design: The AIA/AISC White Paper

Speaker, Gray Architects and Engineers, P.S.C. , Lexington, Ky., November 12, 2020

Legal Issues in Global Manufacturing

University of Kentucky Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing, November 10, 2020

Monumentality and the Engineering Standard of Care

Speaker, Greyling Insurance Conference of Invited Attorneys, Atlanta, Ga., November 5, 2020

The Design, Construction, Destruction, Re-Design, and Re-construction of the World Trade Center Towers

Speed Scientific School, September 8, 2020

The Design, Construction, Destruction, Re-Design, and Re-construction of the World Trade Center Towers

Bellarmine University, August 28, 2020

'Design Assist' Contract Provisions in the Fabricated Structural Steel Industry in the United States

Panel Discussion, Virtual North American Steel Construction Conference, April 21, 2020

River Crossings: How an Obscure Island in the Upper Mississippi River Became a Turning Point in American History

Annual Meeting of the American College of Construction Lawyers, February 21, 2020

Pre-Bid Due Diligence

Every superhero has an origin story

by Scott Melnick, Editor, Modern Steel Construction, January 2019

Material Price Escalation Clauses and Effects of Recent Steel Tariffs

2018 Construction Law Institute, UK/CLE, Lexington, KY, October 25, 2018

Architects Webinar - The Role and Value of the AISC Code of Standard Practice

Steel Day - American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), September 15, 2017

The Importance of Front End Alignment: What You Need to Know about Bid Documents, Construction Contracts and Contract Formation

NASCC: The Steel Conference, San Antonio, TX, March 23, 2017

We Need Construction Lawyers, Guns and Money: What You Need to Know about Defending and Prosecuting Claims Before You Get Into a Dispute

NASCC: The Steel Conference, San Antonio, TX, March 23, 2017

Codification of Trade Custom and Usage as a Viable Supplement to Construction Contracts

Thompson Reuters, Journal of the ACCL, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 2017

'Bet the Company' Contract Clauses and How to Avoid Them

Modern Steel Construction, March 2017

Specific Instructions to the Contrary

co-author with Charles J. Carter, Ph.D. and Michael A. West, Modern Steel Construction, American Institute of Steel Construction, February 2017

Steel Code of Standard Practice Becomes American National Standard

by Nadine M. Post, Engineering News-Record (ENR), April 27, 2016

The Role of Engineers in Society

Civil Engineering Seminar, U of L, J.B. Speed School of Engineering, September 11, 2015

Fabricator/Erector Right to Pay for Extra Work Delayed by Legal Morass - How to Prevent This From Happening to You

2015 VCSSFA Annual Meeting, Charleston, S.C., April 24, 2015

Legal Challenges to Global Manufacturing

University of Kentucky, Department of Mechanical Engineering, William Maxwell Reed Seminar Series, September 25, 2014

Sustainability, Society, and the Law as Applied to the Built Environment

Domestic and Local Preference in Selection of Construction Contractors and Material

What Employers Should Know about Welding Fumes

Building Information Modeling

Federal Dollars for Women-Owned Small Businesses

Preparing Your Company for Life after Recovery

Sustainability & Steel: New Laws & Green Codes that Give Steel an Edge

Steel Day Free Webinar, Stites & Harbison, PLLC, September 24, 2010

Could You Be Held Responsible for Consequential Damages?

Bar Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
U.S. District Court for Nebraska
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
U.S. Supreme Court
American College of Construction Lawyers
American Bar Association
American Bar Foundation, Fellow
Kentucky Bar Association
Louisville Bar Association
Downtown Louisville Rotary Club
Society of Construction Law, United Kingdom, Member since 2008
American Institute of Steel Construction, Secretary and General Counsel (1989-2019)
Community Involvement

Thomas D. Clark Foundation, Board of Directors and Secretary (2000-present)

Downtown Louisville Rotary Club, Member and "Service Above Self" Award recipient

University of Kentucky, National Alumni Association, President (2016-17)


Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated

Best Lawyers in America® Construction Law and Litigation - Construction (2003-22)

Best Lawyers in America® Louisville Area Lawyer of the Year in Litigation - Construction (2013, 2019, 2021)

Best Lawyers in America® Louisville Area Lawyer of the Year in Construction Law (2011, 2015, 2020)

Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2007-22)

Kentucky Super Lawyers® Top 50 Lawyers in the state (2007-08)

Chambers USA, "America's Leading Lawyers in Business," Corporate/M&A: Construction (2010-18)

Lifetime Achievement Award, American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), 2019

Who's Who in American Law

Who's Who Legal, Construction (2015)

University of Kentucky (UK) Alumni Association, Distinguished Service Award (2012)

University of Kentucky College of Engineering, Hall of Distinguished Alumni (2016)

University of Kentucky Department of Civil Engineering’s Construction Management Founders Society (CMFS) Lifetime Achievement Award (2018)

Service Above Self awarded by The Rotary Club of Louisville (2013)

American College of Construction Attorneys, Past Presidents' Award (2014)

Louisville Magazine Top Lawyer (2014, 2016)


. . . particularly noted for his experience in matters concerning the fabricated structural steel industry . . . regularly acts for suppliers, contractors and designers.

- Chambers Commentary (USA), 2016

. . . rare ability to balance a deep and broad range of knowledge and experience in construction issues . . . roles of an attorney and counselor . . .

- Best Lawyers, client comment

. . . where to devote resources to solve problems created efficient, effective outcomes.

- Best Lawyers, client comment

David is an expert in matters involving Structural Steel Construction.

- Best Lawyers, client comment
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