Paul W. Berning

Paul W. Berning

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Construction Litigation Attorney in Alameda, CA

Law Offices of Paul W. Berning
 | 2381 Mariner Square Drive, Alameda, CA 94501
Phone: 510-863-8118
Fax: 510-578-7700
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2004, 2007 - 2020
Licensed Since: 1986
Practice Areas:
  • Construction Litigation: Business (50%),
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (20%),
  • Government Contracts (10%),
  • Energy & Natural Resources (10%),
  • Appellate (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    After more than 24 years at two large, national law firms, Paul Berning opened his own practice to continue providing clients with high-quality, sophisticated representation in construction, energy, business and regulatory matters – but at substantially lower rates made possible by a streamlined cost structure.

    From the earliest days of his practice, Mr. Berning found that working closely with clients to solve their legal problems gave him the most professional satisfaction.  He continues to provide this personalized service.

    Mr. Berning draws on the skills and experience gained at the large law firms (Thelen LLP and Howrey LLP) to serve clients from his new platform.  As a litigator, Mr. Berning has represented clients in trials, arbitrations, appeals, mediations and administrative proceedings.  He has advised clients in negotiations and assisted with regulatory compliance.

    Besides working on cases throughout California, Mr. Berning has been involved with projects across the United States and around the world that included participants from the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Ecuador, Uruguay, Dubai, Spain, Japan and South Korea.

    Mr. Berning practices in these areas of law:

    >  Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution.

    >  Licensing and Regulatory Compliance.

    >  Renewable Energy and Power Projects.

    >  Business Litigation and Appeals.

    Mr. Berning is a member of:

    >  American Arbitration Association's Roster of Neutrals (construction arbitrations)

    >  American Arbitration Association's Panel of Mediators

    > Caltrans Dispute Review Board Panel

    >  Dispute Resolution Board Foundation

    White Papers

  • Survey of U.S. law on abandonment of construction contracts and recovery in quantum meruit

  • Survey of U.S. law on materials shortages, damages available, defenses to claims

  • Survey of U.S. law on claims of cardinal change by contractors (oversaw preparation)

  • Survey of U.S. law on the  jury verdict method of determining damages (oversaw preparation)

  • Survey of U.S. law on measuring and limiting damages for defective construction work 

  • Survey of U.S. law on force majeure provisions in construction contracts, particularly regarding labor shortages (oversaw preparation)

  •  Survey of U.S. law on total cost construction claims

  • Survey of U.S. law on contractor licensing, professional licensing for engineers and engineering companies, and design-build licensing requirements

  • About Paul Berning

    Admitted: 1986, California

    Professional Webpage:


    • AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5, Martindale-Hubbell
    • Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Law (multiple years), Marquis

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • California -- All State Courts
    • England and Wales (non-practicing)
    • Admitted to the Court of Federal Claims
    • Admitted to U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California
    • Admitted to U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 9th and District of Columbia Circuits
    • Admitted to U.S. Supreme Court

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • American Subcontractors Association
    • U.S. Building Green
    • Alameda County Bar Association
    • State Bar of California
    • Commonwealth Club of California
    • World Affairs Council of San Francisco
    • Building Code Task Force of the International Council of Shopping Centers (former member)
    • Building Industry Conference Board
    • Associated General Contractors of America
    • American Bar Association and its Forum on the Construction Industry

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Manager of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridge's legal clinic pro bono program, 1988-1991; volunteer lawyer, 1986-1988.
    • Conceived, developed, managed Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridge's LAMP (Legal Assistance for Military Personnel) program during Gulf War, 1991-1992.
    • Founder, Editor-in-Chief,, Internet portal for the construction, engineering, architecture and infrastructure industries, from inception in 1999 to 2011.  Site was owned by Thelen LLP and Howrey LLP.

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • "Design/Build and Construction Management," Lorman 2005.
    • ."How to Survive a Troubled Project," WPL, September 10, 2014
    • “Construction Payment Remedies: Using the Right Tools at the Right Time,” Lorman Teleconference Seminar, November 10, 2005, October 6, 2009, March 19, 2013, December 4, 2013 and February 4, 2015.
    • "E-Construction Management: Is It Just Glamour and Glitz?" International Bar Association, San Francisco, September 16, 2003.
    • "Total Cost Claims by the Contractor: Peril or Panacea," Construction Superconference, New York, April 2, 1992.
    • "Construction Project Web Sites," California AGC Legal Retreat, September 30, 2000.  
    • "Project Management Web Sites," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 2000.
    • "Legal Aspects of Web-Based Project Controls and Electronic Documents," Western Council of Construction Consumers, Irvine, California, March 2002.
    • "E-Tools:  Time for a Legal Check-Up," American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Annual Engineering and Construction Contracting Conference, San Francisco, October 4, 2002.
    • "Project Websites: A Toolbox for Avoiding and Resolving Disputes," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, December 13, 2002
    • "How to Win Construction Claims," San Francisco, five 2-day seminars from 2001 to 2003.
    • "Disputes Review Boards," paper presented to first World Conference on Construction Risk, Paris, April 28-29, 1994.
    • “Complying with Licensing and Registration Laws,” chapter in Construction Checklists, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2008 (co-author).
    • "Termination Claims from Owner's and Contractor's Perspective," chapter in Proving and Pricing Construction Claims (Wiley 1990).
    • "U.S. Construction, Architecture and Engineering Industry:  An Overview for International Investors," paper presented to the Shanghai Association of International Economic and Technological Cooperation in Shanghai on December 10, 2002, and to the China International Contractors' Association in Beijing on December 12, 2002.  Serialized in China's Construction Times newspaper.  Reprinted on, February 2, 2004.
    • “United States Construction, Architecture, and Engineering Industry,” chapter in United States Country Handbook, which is part of International Contract Manual (Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell), 2007.
    • “Construction,” chapter in Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Thomson West (2d ed.), 2005 and annual supplements.

    Representative Clients:

    • Fillmore Center, San Francisco (represented general contractor and major trade contractor in separate lawsuits)
    • Eurotunnel (represented project owner)
    • New Tacoma Narrows Bridge (represented designer-builder)

    Other Outstanding Achievements:

    • Extern, Consumer Fraud Division, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, 1984
    • Extern, San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Raymond Williamson, 1986
    • Extern, California Supreme Court, Justice Otto Kaus, 1985


    • "E-Commerce and the Construction Industry: The Revolution Is Here,", October 2, 2000 (co-author)
    • "Project Web Sites: How to Evaluate Them and How to Agree on Using Them,", May 13, 2002 (co-author)
    • "Complying with Licensing and Registration Laws: A Compliance Checklist,", April 12, 2004 (co-author)
    • "Complying with Licensing and Registration Laws: An Overview, with Case Histories,", April 12, 2004 (co-author)

    Educational Background:

    • University of Missouri, Bachelor of Journalism

    Industry Groups

    • Construction
    • Energy
    • Real Estate
    • Sales Of Goods And Equipment
    • Technology
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    Office Location for Paul W. Berning

    2381 Mariner Square Drive
    Alameda, CA 94501

    Paul W. Berning:

    Last Updated: 2/18/2020

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