Slates Harwell


B.A., Southern Methodist University, magna cum laude (1992)

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (1995)

John Slates


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 and arbitration lawyer who has first-chaired numerous cases and arbitrations to verdicts and awards, 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. In addition to his dispute resolution practice, a significant segment of John’s practice concentrates on the transactional side of the construction industry.  Since forming Slates Harwell LLP, John has negotiated over $11 billion in design and construction contracts for a wide array of commercial projects.  John also serves as an arbitrator in construction industry disputes and is a member of the National Panel of Construction Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association.

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 enjoys cooking, playing golf, and spending time with his wife Paige and their three children at Rough Creek Lodge.


“I’m Late, I’m Late, For a Very Important Date – The Landscape of Liquidated Damages in Texas,” Texas State Bar Construction Conference (March 2023)

“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)


Board Certified for Construction Law Specialization by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Inaugural Class (2016 – present)

Recognized, Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Construction (Texas) (2016 – 2023)

Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America®, Construction Law, Litigation – Construction, and Commercial Litigation, Texas (2013 – 2023)

Recognized, Texas Super Lawyers (2016 – 2022), Texas Rising Stars (2005, 2007, 2008), as published in Texas Monthly (Construction Litigation, Construction Surety) (A Thomson Reuters Service)

Recognized, Appellate Lawyer of the Week, as published in Texas Lawyer, September 2, 2013


TEXO, The Construction Association – Government Affairs Committee (2012 – present); Board of Directors (2022 – 2023)

The Association of General Contractors – Texas Building Branch, Legal Affairs Committee Member (2019 – present)

ABA Forum on the Construction Industry

Construction Lawyers Society of America

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), Immediate Past Chair (2023)

Texas Bar College (2022)

Member, William “Mac” Taylor American Inn of Court

Salesmanship Club of Dallas (2020 – present)

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Board Member (2013 – 2019), Board Chair (2017 – 2018)

Habitat for Humanity Board Member (2008 – 2013)

Preservation Dallas, Board Member (2000 – 2008); President (2005)

Graduate, Leadership Dallas (2007)

SMU Alumni Association

Member, Highland Park United Methodist Church