Biography Photo of Christopher A Cornwall

Christopher A. Cornwall


Christopher A. Cornwall focuses his practice on complex Commercial and Business Litigation and Construction law. With a depth of experience in litigation, Mr. Cornwall represents corporations in business disputes, including breach of contract, tortious interference, fraud, non-compete provisions, shareholder claims and buy-sell agreements. He counsels business and private owners in real estate matters, including adverse possession, zoning issues, restrictive covenants, variances, boundary disputes, title issues and nuisance claims.

Mr. Cornwall represents several large real estate companies, brokers and agents in complex real estate matters, including claims of fraud, misrepresentation and mortgage fraud. He is very experienced at assisting owners and developers in drafting and negotiating construction contracts, real estate purchases, Brownfield issues and defending complex construction claims. Mr. Cornwall represents national and local construction companies in construction disputes, including lien and bond claims, delays, scheduling, cost escalation, differing site conditions, defective design, cardinal change, extras, and cumulative impact claims. He serves as the Midwest Region Construction Chair for the firm.

Education & Credentials


University of Michigan

B.A., 1985

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

J.D., 1989
  • Best Advocate Award (1989)

Bar Admission

  • Michigan1989


  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Real Estate - Construction, 2023
  • DBusiness Magazine
    • "Top Lawyer," Construction Law, 2023
  • BTI Client Service
    • All Stars, 2018
  • America’s Top 100 Bet the Company Litigators, 2022 - 2023
  • Association of America
    • Top 100 Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Construction Law, 2013-2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year", Construction Law, 2023
  • Construction Lawyers Society of America
    • Fellow
  • Leading Lawyers of America
    • Commercial Litigation and Construction, 2021 - 2023
  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating® AV Preeminent® Rating
  • Top Lawyers in Detroit
    • Construction, 2021 – 2023
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly
    • Michigan's Go To Lawyers Power List, 2023
    • Michigan's Go To Lawyers, Construction, 2023
  • American Registry
    • Most honored Lawyers, 2023

Representative Clients

  • City of Grosse Pointe Farms
  • Turner Construction Company
  • The University of Michigan
  • Machine Repair International
  • United States Steel Corporation
  • ProVent Systems
  • Wayne County Airport Authority

Prominent Assignments

Assisting an energy subsidiary with regard to an ash beneficiation project, including drafting the necessary contracts for the construction and operation of an ash processing plant and related infrastructure, the harvesting of the ash, and the sale of ash to end users.

Obtained a $3.2 million trial verdict on behalf of a national construction company against an earth retention contractor for breach of contract and delays and a no-cause award on the counter claims of breach of contract and wrongful termination.

Obtained a $1.2 million arbitration award on behalf of an international heavy industrial construction company for non-payment on a new plant upgrade project.

Successfully represented a major educational facility to obtain a multi-million dollar settlement for product liability and defective construction claims.

Defended a major educational institution against a $19 million construction claim, resulting in an arbitration award of no liability.

Defended a SE Michigan City in two multi-million dollar class action litigation matters for sewer system flooding, resulting in a dismissal and settlement.

Represented a national steel company and railroad company involving eminent domains actions for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Represented a major insurance company in a $100 million coverage dispute under a fidelity/employee dishonesty policy.

Successfully represented an automotive manufacturer in defense of a multi-million dollar “cumulative impact” claim asserted by a general contractor for renovation of a facility.

Successfully prosecuted a million dollar construction delay claim against MDOT involving bridge work over the I-96 expressway.

Obtained a multi-million dollar award in behalf of an earthwork contractor on changed conditions delay and cumulative impact claims.

Successfully represented a national design-builder against claims of negligent design and defective construction.

Obtained summary judgment as lead counsel for a national sales company defending against claims of copyright infringement and Lanham Act violations and successfully defended all appeals up to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Professional Involvement

  • American Bar Association ABA
    • Forum on the Construction Law Section
    • Business Law Section
  • Federal Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Litigation Section
    • Real Property Section
  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association 

Community Involvement

  • Grosse Pointe Farms - City Little League Board of Directors
  • Toys for Tots Sponsoring Member - Grosse Pointe

Court Admissions

  • All Michigan State Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court


  • Contractors: Are You Protected From The Coronavirus Infecting The Project Schedule?, Dickinson Wright Client Alert, March 2020
  • Introducing Evidence at Trial (ICLE) 2007/2014; contributing author  
  • Construction Defect Litigation: From A to Z, National Business Institute (April 2013)
  • The Wonderful World of Construction Law (November 2010); Ali-Aba webcast panelist
  • Construction Law Forum (October 2008) - moderator
  • A Practitioner's Guide to Construction Law (John G. Cameron, Jr. 2008); Chapter author (Analysis of AIA A201 - 2007)
  • Turner Construction School of Construction Management - Lecturer (2015-present)
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