A select few attorneys have first-hand experience in the trades they represent—such as a medical malpractice attorney with an MD—but a construction attorney with hands-on construction experience is unheard of.
Alex Robertson is just such an attorney. Growing up, his family owned a construction company with 300 field employees. High school summers were spent laboring on construction sites for the family business, which was started by his grandfather in 1932. By college and law school, Robertson had moved up to estimating and managing an entire division of the company.
“Not many construction attorneys can say they got their hands dirty in the field, so this gives me an edge over my competition,” says the legal veteran of 28 years. “I can read plans and understand technical engineering issues. I know what rocks to look under to find a solution to my client’s problems.”
Of the varied and complex cases that land in Robertson’s hands, two types are most common: representing celebrities in construction defect cases involving their own luxury homes and huge high-rise commercial projects. “I usually represent the owner, which means on any given day I can be either on the plaintiff or defense side,” explains Robertson.
He has represented MGM Resorts International® in several high-profile cases, including one involving the Bellagio® hotel in Las Vegas in a $40 million claim against the general contractor and subcontractors for nonconforming work that led to mold in 2,600 guest rooms.
Another high-visibility case was that on behalf of the late Ed McMahon and his wife, in which Robertson obtained the largest published settlement of its kind involving an insurance bad faith claim for alleged negligent mold remediation at the McMahons’ Beverly Hills home.
For the past two years, Robertson has been on the frontlines of the notorious CityCenter™ Construction and Lien Master Litigation pending in Las Vegas, which involves claims totaling $1 billion between the parties concerning the construction of the CityCenter project on the Las Vegas strip, a 76-acre megaplex consisting of multiple hotels, high-rise condo towers and a luxury shopping mall. Robertson is the lead attorney for the owner, a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Dubai World, who is suing the general contractor for nonconforming work in what is one of the largest ongoing construction cases in the country.
But big names and high stakes don’t intimidate Robertson. In fact, when it comes to choosing cases, he says, “The more complicated, the better.” As such, he is often requested to take over difficult cases started by other lawyers to “get the client across the finish line.” Recently, a chief judge nicknamed Robertson “the fixer” because of his talent to manage complex legal issues and difficult personalities to negotiate a favorable resolution for his client. “I like fixing problems that others see as unfixable,” he says. “I guess I can thank my tough Scottish grandfather who started the family construction
business during the depression for that.”