John W. Slates is a founding partner of Slates Harwell LLP. He is Board Certified in Construction Law and focuses his practice on representing general contractors, owners, and developers. John is an accomplished trial lawyer who has first-chaired numerous cases to verdicts, including cases that have been recognized by the National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts and Verdict Search’s Top Texas Verdicts. He has also successfully argued before the Texas Supreme Court in Lennar Corporation v. Markel American Insurance Company.
John has negotiated over $9 billion in design and construction contracts for some of the most high-profile projects recently built in Texas, including the Toyota Corporate Headquarters, as well as a wide array of other commercial projects.
In addition to broad experience with a variety of issues typical to the construction industry, John has extensive experience with products liability issues and disputes related to HUD-insured projects.
After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, John practiced for 18 years with an Am Law 200 firm and served as the chair of the firm’s construction practice group for six years prior to forming Slates Harwell.
John has also handled general commercial litigation, including disputes involving land deals, purchase and sale agreements, lease agreements, trade secrets, noncompete provisions, and partnership, shareholder, and business divorce cases.
John enjoys cooking, playing golf, and spending time with his wife Paige and their three children at Rough Creek Lodge.
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (1995)
B.A., Southern Methodist University, magna cum laude (1992)
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEECHES
“Building Diversity & Demolishing Implicit Bias in the Construction Industry,” Texas State Bar Construction Conference (March 2021)
“Happy New (Rules) Year, Changes to the TRCP Effective 1/1/21,” Texas State Bar Construction Section Webinar (February 2021)
“Contracts Panel (Owner, General Contractor, Subcontractor),” Texas State Bar Basics Course (December 2020)
“Nuances in Key AIA Contract Terms,” AGC Texas Building Branch Convention (June 2019)
“Negotiating Tricky Clauses in Prime Contracts – The Sequel,” Texas State Bar Construction Conference (February 2019)
“Contracts from the Owner’s Perspective,” Texas State Bar Basics Course (December 2017)
“The Border Patrol – What Limits Do Unauthorized Practice of Law Statutes Impose on Construction Lawyers,” Texas State Bar Construction Conference (March 2016)
“When is the Coffee Too Hot??? Product Liability Issues in Construction Defect Cases,” Texas State Bar Construction Conference (February 2014)
Speaker, Lorman Education Services: AIA – Contracts – Common Disputes (September 2014)
Author, IPD Building a Better Model, Construction Today (January 2011)
Speaker, Lorman Education Services: IPD – The Concept & The Contracts (Fall 2010)
Speaker, Lorman Education Services: Risk Allocation Under AIA Contracts (November 2007, May 2008, November 2008)
HONORS AND AWARDS
Board Certified for Construction Law Specialization by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Inaugural Class (2017 – present)
Recognized, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Construction (Texas) (2016 – 2022)
Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America®, Construction Law, Litigation – Construction, and Commercial Litigation, Texas (2013 – 2023)
Recognized, Texas Super Lawyers (2016 – 2021), Texas Rising Stars (2005, 2007, 2008), as published in Texas Monthly (Construction Litigation, Construction Surety) (A Thomson Reuters Service)
D Magazine, Best Lawyers in Dallas, Construction Litigation (2014 – 2020)
Recognized, Appellate Lawyer of the Week, as published in Texas Lawyer, September 2, 2013
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Texas Bar College (2022)
The Association of General Contractors – Texas Building Branch, Legal Affairs Committee Member (2019 – present)
ABA Forum on the Construction Industry
State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Council and Foundation Board Member (2017 – 2020)
Dallas Bar Association, Construction Law Section, Council (2015 – present), Vice Chair (2021), Chair (2022)
Member, William “Mac” Taylor American Inn of Court
TEXO, The Construction Association – Government Affairs Committee (2012 – present); Board of Directors (2022)
Salesmanship Club of Dallas (2020 – present)
Habitat for Humanity Board Member (2008 – 2013)
Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Board Member (2013 – 2019), Board Chair (2017 – 2018)
Preservation Dallas, Board Member (2000 – 2008); President (2005)
Children’s Trust (benefitting Children’s Medical Center of Dallas) (2002 – 2010)
Graduate, Leadership Dallas (2007)
SMU Alumni Association
Member, Highland Park United Methodist Church