Ian H. Frank Photo

Ian H. Frank

Partner | Chair, Construction Practice Group


For more than two decades, Ian has been a trusted advisor to the construction industry, dedicating his entire practice to all aspects of construction and surety law. His clients comprise EPC contractors, CMs, owners, developers, sureties, specialty trade contractors and manufacturers of every size, from closely-held small businesses to Top 10 ENR companies. Ian is frequently involved in large, technically complex construction projects around the country and overseas, whether developing contract documents to manage risk, counseling clients on claim management and performance disputes, acting as project counsel, or arbitrating and litigating claims. He has acquired substantial experience representing industry stakeholders on, among others, dozens of tunneling and civil projects on multiple continents, high-rise multi-use construction in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S., numerous stadiums and arenas, heavy highway and bridge construction, as well as industrial, refinery, processing and power facilities. In addition to being actively involved in dispute resolution as an advocate, Ian is a trained DRB member, mediator and an arbitrator, serving on the AAA Construction Industry Panel. Ian is well known as a leader in construction, having been recognized in the area of construction by third-party rankings such as the prestigious Chambers USA (Band 1 Ranking), The Best Lawyers in America, and Martindale-Hubbell. Ian was the 2022 Best Lawyers' "Lawyer of the Year" in construction law in Cleveland. He has served numerous leadership roles in national construction organizations such as the former Chair of Division 9 of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law (FCL), Co-Chair of the FCL Regional Program on Infrastructure, and both Chair and Chair Emeritus of the ALFA International Construction Practice Group. Ian is a Charter Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America. 


    • Successfully obtained a complete defense award and reimbursement of arbitrator fees and expenses on behalf of a general contractor in a dispute that involved multiple claims for additional costs for alleged extra work performed on a public school project.
    • Obtained a judgment awarding full damages and interest for a general contractor’s violation of a pay-when-paid clause, and further developed the definition of “reasonable time” in connection with the enforcement of such clauses under Ohio law. Chapman Excavating Co., Inc. v. Fortney & Weygandt, Inc., 2004-Ohio-3867 (8th App. Dist.).
    • Successfully pursued damages for delays and extra work in connection with a public utility and road construction project, and obtained an award on behalf of the prime contractor in arbitration of more than $2 million.
    • Following a week long arbitration hearing, obtained an arbitration award in excess of $750,000 on behalf of a bridge painting contractor performing work on a Taconic State Parkway bridge in Westchester County, New York.
    • Enforced Ohio’s Prompt Payment Act following a multi-day bench trial on behalf of a subcontractor performing work on a public university project, and secured payment of the judgment, plus 18% interest and attorney’s fees, from the general contractor.
    • Defended contractor from a multi-million dollar delay and additional cost claim relating to a metropolitan transit/subway project in Singapore, and negotiated resolution worth less than 10% of the claim value.
    • Litigated differing site condition and equitable adjustment claim on behalf of a contractor performing a tunneling project in Chicago, Illinois, and negotiated a favorable settlement worth more than $3.5 million.
    • Successfully represented a tunneling contractor and equipment manufacturer in U.S. District Court pursuing a $9.8 million claim for defective materials, delay and lost productivity relating to the $1.7 billion (USD) Parramatta Rail Link Project in Sydney, Australia.
    • Negotiated dozens of purchase, sale and service agreements for projects in more than 10 foreign countries for a global manufacturer of specialized underground equipment, including the contract for the sale of the largest rock tunnel boring machine ever manufactured in the world.
    • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a specialty trade contractor working on a steam extraction turbine overhaul and maintenance turnaround project at a chemical manufacturing plant, excluding $1.3 million in alleged lost revenue and efficiency damages.
    • Represented interior trades contractor in a lawsuit over a high-rise interior renovation project, and tried the case to jury verdict to obtain 100% of the requested damages, plus an award of punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
    • Successfully tried multiple bid dispute lawsuits to judgment arising out of the competitive solicitation of public improvement projects.
    • Frequently represents structural steel fabricators and erectors in claims for delays, additional compensation and performance disputes arising out of arena, stadium, airport and other projects across the country.
  • Education

    • Cleveland State University College of Law/CSU College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1996
    • Baldwin Wallace University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1993


    • State of Ohio
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio and Southern District of Ohio
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • Professional Affiliations

    • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) - Member (2022-Present)
    • American Arbitration Association - Member, Construction Industry Panelist (2018-Present)
    • American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law, Division 9 (Subcontractors and Suppliers) - Chair (2016-2018); Steering Committee Member (2011-2020); Co-Chair, "Infastructure From the Ground Up: Civil Works Projects for Lawyers" Program (2018); ABA/AGC 50-State Construction Law Survey - Contributing Editor (2018-Present); Regional Editor (2020-Present)
    • ALFA International, Construction Practice Group – Steering Committee (2010-Present); Marketing Committee (2018-Present); Chair Emeritus (2016-2018); Chair (2014-2016); Co-Chair, Construction Program (2014)
      • ALFA International – Board of Directors (2021-Present); Marketing Committee (Chair-2021-Present; Vice Chair-2018-2021); Treasurer (2023-Present)
    • Trial Law Institute - Member (2017-Present)
    • Diversity Law Institute - Member (2017-Present)
    • The Robbins Company - Board of Directors (2005-2016)
    • Associated General Contractors of America - Member
    • American Institute of Architects - Member
    • The Dispute Resolution Board Foundation - Member (2010-Present), DRBF/ODOT Administration and Practice Workshop Training Certification (2006)
    • Ohio Contractors Association - Member
    • Surety Association of Ohio - Member
    • Ohio State Bar Association - Member
    • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association - Member

    Community Involvement

    • Saint Ignatius High School - Operations Committee (2018-Present)

    Firm Involvement

    • Chair, Construction Practice Group - Frantz Ward LLP
    • Construction Lawyers Society of America - Charter Fellow; Order of Equitas, Barrister (2017-Present)
    • Named Best Lawyers' "Lawyer of the Year" in Construction Law in Cleveland (2022)
    • Named to Chambers USA: America’s Guide to Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Construction (2006-2023)
    • Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Construction Law (2015-2024) and Construction Litigation (2022-2024)
    • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (2021-2024) 
    • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated—Martindale-Hubbell
    • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (2005; 2007; 2011)
    • Marcum Ohio Construction Summit, Marcum LLP (October 2023)
    • Annual Business Meeting: Marketing Committee Updates, ALFA International (October 2023)
    • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting, ALFA International (October 2023)
    • "Clean Energy Production and Resilient Design -- Climbing the 'Range' of Challenges to a Paranorma of Opportunities," ALFA International Construction Law Seminar (August 2023)
    • "Cost Plus… (Or Minus): Managing the Unique Risks of Cost Reimbursable Contracts," ALFA International Construction Law Regional Seminar (April 2023)
    • "Cost Plus or Minus: Managing Risks with Cost Reimbursable Contracts," Advice From the Trenches Frantz Ward Construction Webinar (April 2021) 
    • “Contracting Trends: Emerging Issues with Cost Reimbursable Contracts,” Burns & McDonnell Eleventh Annual EPC-CLE Program, Webinar (May 2020)
    • "Cost Reimbursable Contracts: Managing Risks on Infrastructure Projects," Risk Management in Underground Construction Seminar, Houston, TX (March 2020)
    • "Defining Collaboration: Legally Speaking," Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Ohio Chapter, Cleveland, OH (November 2019) 
    • "Best Practices and Potential Dangers for Sureties Bonding Set-Aside Projects," The Guarantee Company of North America (GCNA) National Underwriting Meeting, New Orleans, LA (March 2019) 
    • "Unearthing the Risks of Delegated Design and Design-Assist," Advice from the Trenches—Frantz Ward Construction Practice Seminar, Cleveland, OH (February 2019) 
    • "Legal Aspects of Risk Management", The Risk Management in Undergroound Construction Course, Marina Del Ray, CA (November 2018)
    • "Arbitration: Best Practices for Using Your Trial Tools in a Different Setting," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's ABCs of ADR: Best Practices Guide for Litigators & Neutrals (October 2018)
    • “Best Practices and Potential Dangers for Sureties Bonding Set-Aside Projects,” Surety Association of Ohio Fall Meeting (September 2018)
    • "The Shifting Sands of Design Liability - Can You Manage to Escape It, Or Will You Struggle and Be Swallowed by the Desert?" ALFA International Practice Group Seminar, Banff, Alberta, Canada (July 2018)
    • “Bringing Back the “Alternative” in Alternative Dispute Resolution” and “Good News? Or Bad? Recent Court Decisions Affecting Your Risk and Exposure,” Burns & McDonnell 9th Annual Joint In-House EPC-CLE, Kansas City, MO (May 2018)
    • “Alternative Delivery, Legal & Insurance,” Panelist, Risk Management in Underground Construction, Washington, D.C. (November 2017)
    • “Ohio Prompt Payment Act Update,” Lorman Education Services, Webinar (October 2017)
    • “Best Practices for Underwriting and Managing Bond Risk for Federal Set-Aside SBA Contractors,” Tokio Marine HCC West Coast Conference, Long Beach, CA (March 2017)
    • “Q&A Panel: Insurance Trends and Issues,” Risk Management in Underground Construction Seminar, Miami, FL (November 2016)
    • “The News Was Rather Bad: A Day in the Life of a Project Gone Wrong,” ABA Forum on Construction Law Fall Meeting, Chicago, IL (October 2016)
    • “Claims Documentation and Best Practices—How to Get Paid and Make a Profit,” ABC Northern Ohio Chapter Speakers Series, Independence, OH (April 2016)
    • “Underground Risk Management and Market Opportunities in Latin America,” Latin America Construction, Technology and Risk Seminar, Miami, FL (April 2016)
    • “Constructing the Perfect Beer in the Booming Brewery Industry,” ALFA International—2014 Construction Law Practice Group Seminar, Asheville, NC (July 2014)
    • “Understanding and Managing the Risks of Bonding Federal Government Set-Aside Programs,” Private continuing education program for surety client, New Orleans, LA (May 2014)
    • “Riding the Collaborative Construction Wave,” Ohio State Bar Association Convention and Annual Meeting, Cleveland, OH (May 2013)
    • “What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate: Successfully Identifying and Negotiating to ‘Yes’ on Potentially ‘Deal Killer’ Contract Provisions,” ALFA International. Construction Law Practice Group Seminar—Rebuilding America: Constructing the Road to Recovery, Colorado Springs, CO (July 2012)
    • “Allocation of Risk, Reward and Responsibility to a Subcontractor Based on Choice of Project Delivery System,” American Bar Association, Forum on Construction Industry Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV (April 2012)
    • “Large Bids/Large Risks: Perspectives from Design Team and the Specialty Contractor,” American Bar Association, Forum on Construction Law Mid-Winter Meeting, Houston, TX (February 2012)