Robert J. MacPherson

Principal | New Jersey


Robbie is with Cokinos Young in Saddle River, NJ and New York City and has been practicing construction law exclusively since 1981. He is a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and former Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law. He acts as construction contract and disputes counsel for contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and owners involved in building and heavy civil construction for public and private work. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in New Jersey and New York. In addition to his practice counseling clients in construction matters, he regularly serves as an arbitrator and mediator of construction disputes. He is a pro bono mediator for the Southern District of New York and the Supreme Court of New York, New York County and was a pro bono mediator for the Tinton Falls NJ Municipal Court. Robbie is on the Boards of Building For Good (Building for Good (,  ACE Mentor (2012-2021) (ACE Mentor Program of America :: Home) and currently serves on the ACE Mentor CMiC Alan Berg Scholarship Review Committee. He is also a member of the Building Board of Directors of the AGC of New York State (AGC NYS – Associated General Contractors of New York State LLC). He is a graduate of Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ, Monmouth University, West Long Brach, NJ and Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ and has taught ADR and Construction Law at Rutgers Law School, Newark, NJ.


  • Seton Hall University Law School – J.D., 1980
  • Monmouth University – B.A. Sociology, 1976
  • Brookdale Community College – A.A., 1972

Recognitions & Distinctions

  • Best Lawyers in America 2024 – Construction Law and Litigation – Construction
  • ABA Forum on Construction Law – Outstanding Service Award 2021
  • New Jersey Bar Dispute Resolution Section – James B. Boskey Practitioner of the Year 2001
  • Named Newark, NJ Lawyer of the Year – Construction – 2012, 2016, and 2020 by Best Lawyers
  • Martindale & Hubbell AV Rated
  • Listed in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers for Construction Law
  • Listed in Chambers USA for Construction Mediation

Representative Experience

  • On behalf of a geotech specialty contractor established the existence of a Type II  Differing Site Condition encountered during the construction of a major infrastructure project in New York City.
  • Defended a public authority against a $95 Million claim before a Dispute Review Board. The DRB found the claim barred by contractual notice provision, but declined to enforce the provision.
  • Represented the design-builder of a power plant in a dispute with the supplier of two 315 MW CFB Steam Generators. Primary issue was the use of 3D modeling in the design process. Other issues included design deliverable liquidated damages and concurrent delays.
  • Defended a cooperative housing corporation in an action by a municipality seeking over $20 million for the repair of the concrete encased columns and slab supporting the co-op’s building over a major urban highway. Issues included the legality of an emergency contract let without public bidding, access rights to a public roadway to maintain co-op’s structures, impossibility of performance, breach of implied contractual duties, and liability of the municipality for corrosive effect of road deicing materials on the co-op’s concrete structures.
  • Negotiated a $120 million contract for the design and construction of the headquarters campus of a major pharmaceutical company.
  • Acted as construction contract and claims counsel for the owner/developer of several hydroelectric projects in upstate New York. Prepared and negotiated contracts with designers, contractors, and major equipment suppliers. Provided advice on claims and disputes that arose during construction and litigated extra work, delay, and warranty claims.
  • Advised a public agency on construction contract issues involving a public-private partnership or, “P3,” project.
  • Negotiated EPC, Fuel Supply, and Operation and Maintenance agreements for a 50 MW bio mass fueled combined heat and power plant with a value in excess of €120 million.
  • Assisted a German wind turbine manufacturer in redrafting its supply contracts for use in the U.S.
  • Negotiated EPC contracts for several solar projects in New Jersey.
  • Represented a nonprofit foundation in the negotiation of a $500 million construction management agreement.
  • Negotiated a $180 million construction management agreement for a major retail development on a Brownfield site in Brooklyn, New York. Advised the construction manager on issues that arose during construction.
  • Provided advice to design-builder on issues related to P3 projects.
  • Assisted a wind turbine manufacturer and supplier in the preparation of master contracts between the manufacturer and private power developers. Also provided advice in connection with disputes including design and construction defects and performance warranties for projects throughout the U.S.
  • Arbitrator in a dispute between the owner and design-builder of a gas-fired peaking plant. The design-build contract value was in excess of $40 million, and a separate turbine supply contract between the owner and turbine manufacturer was approximately $60 million. Issues included coordination between the design-builder and the turbine supplier, delays, construction defects, manufacturing defects, and performance guarantees.
  • Arbitrator in a dispute involving a design-build contractor’s $30 million claim against an insurer under a policy providing coverage for certain payment obligations of the project owner and a performance bond surety arising out of a landfill closure project.
  • Arbitrator in a dispute involving the sale of a construction company where the future revenue from a public construction project was the source of the funding for the purchase price.
  • Arbitrator in a dispute arising out of contracts for roof systems on two office buildings. Issues include statute of limitations, choice of law, limitations of liability provisions, and warranty claims, including a claim that the warranty failed of its essential purpose.
  • Arbitrator in a dispute between a contractor and subcontractor on several public housing authority projects. Issues included the subcontractor’s claim that it was the general’s joint venture partner; a project suspension by the owner and the application of the Eichleay formula for a home office overhead claim arising out of the suspension; and extra work claims.
  • Since 1990 Mediator in construction contract, construction defect, insurance, and surety disputes involving from two to more than 40 parties with claims ranging from thousands to millions of dollars.

Speaking Engagements & Presentations

  • Robbie has spoken before Construction Law and Construction Industry Organizations locally and nationally. He has the distinction of doing presentations as Elvis, a Beatle and Alex Trebek.
  • Interview
    Still Spearin After All of These Years
    Construction Law Today Podcast
    July 10, 2019



  • Discovery Deskbook for Construction Disputes
    ABA Publishing
    Executive Editor
    Buckner Hinkle, Jr., W. Alexander Moseley and Richard F. Smith, Editors
  • Sticks and Bricks, A Practical Guide to Construction Technology
    ABA Publishing
    Editor with Christopher C. Whitney and James Duffy O’Connor
  • New York Construction Law Manual
    West Publishing
    Author with members of Postner & Rubin
  • 50 State Public Construction Law Source Book- Chapter author
    CCH Incorporated
  • Partnering in Design and Construction – Alternative Dispute Resolution as a Partnering Tool
    McGraw Hill
    Chapter author


Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Arbitration Association: Arbitrator and Mediator Panel for Construction; Member Construction Mega Project Panel
  • American College of Construction Lawyers – Board of Governors (2017-2020)
  • American Bar Association: Forum on Construction Law – Leadership (2000-2010); Officer (2007-2010)
  • New Jersey State Bar Association: Dispute Resolution Section – Chair (1994-95); Construction and Public Contract Law Section
  • Hon. Marie L. Garabaldi ADR Inn of Court-Original Member (1998-2005)
  • Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to the Supreme Court Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution (2013-2015; 1994-1996)
  • Associated General Contractors of New York State- Building Board of Directors
  • Associated General Contractors of America-Contract Documents Committee
  • Former member, New York City Procurement Policy Board Advisory Council
  • Member of the Construction Cost Reduction Team appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to study and report on New York City’s capital construction program. The report was delivered in July 2008


  • State Bar of New Jersey
  • State Bar of New York
  • United States District Court: District of New Jersey
  • United States District Court: Southern & Eastern Districts of New York
  • United States Supreme Court

Community Involvement

  • Founding and current Board Member Building For Good
  • National Board Member ACE Mentor
  • New Building Committee- Family Resource Associates

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