Construction Law Firm Expands Expertise
Smith Terry & Johnson broadens its talented team
Construction law firm Smith Terry & Johnson (“STJ”) has strengthened its already impressive team with the acquisition of top construction attorneys Steele B. (“Al”) Windle III and Steven Allen Bimbo, as well as their experienced construction paralegals and administrative staff, forming the firm of Smith Terry Johnson & Windle (“STJ&W”).
For 17 years, STJ has represented owners, architects, engineers, general contractors, sureties, subcontractors, and suppliers in matters ranging from contract negotiation to complex construction jury trials and arbitration proceedings. According to partner Steve Smith, Esq., who worked alongside Al Windle earlier in their careers, “The firm’s focus is to zealously represent our clients throughout the legal process while remaining efficient, professional and cost effective.” With a focus on construction law, STJ&W lawyers have developed unique expertise and understanding of the commercial construction process and the challenges faced by their clients. With three offices throughout the Carolinas, STJ&W is committed to helping construction professionals prevent or solve complex legal problems on commercial construction projects anywhere throughout the United States but primarily in the Southeast.STJ&W attorneys understand the business of construction and the unique application of the law to the construction industry. The addition of Mr. Windle and Mr. Bimbo is another significant step in the history of STJ—now STJ&W.
Meet the Partners
Steven L. Smith is a trial lawyer who is dedicated to the construction industry. For over 20 years, his practice has concentrated on construction law and federal, state and local government contract law.
Steve has represented construction and service contractors, owners, subcontractors and suppliers on federal, state and local projects, as well as private contracting, on issues including bidding, bid protests, differing site conditions, changes, loss of productivity, delays and terminations. Steve has represented client interests in hundreds of trials, arbitrations, and mediations from Maine to Florida. Steve has also lectured and written extensively on construction law topics. In 2003, Steve founded the predecessor to STJ on the tenets of client focus and billing integrity.
Don Terry heads the firm’s Greenville office, where he focuses his practice entirely on serving the construction industry. His construction law practice emerged from his experience working in the construction industry. As a teenager and college student, Don worked as a laborer and carpenter for his father’s construction company. Thereafter, Don earned a degree from Clemson University in Construction Science and Management, while working part time for a utility contractor and part time for an asphalt sealing contractor. He then worked as a project manager for several construction companies and eventually started a small general contracting business in Greenville, South Carolina, which he operated for almost 10 years. Realizing that he could bring an insider’s perspective to the practice of law, Don earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
James Johnson heads the firm’s Asheville office. With over 15 years of experience in construction law, James is a proven litigator who has represented residential and commercial general contractors, developers, trade contractors, suppliers and design professionals throughout the Carolinas. He has also been involved in a number of complex business and commercial disputes and handles payment and collection claims involving liens and bonds.
Steele B. (“Al”) Windle III is a respected leader in construction law in the Carolinas with more than 30 years of experience as a construction lawyer. Al represents a wide variety of clients including owners, developers, general contractors, sureties, subcontractors and suppliers, guiding clients through every stage of a commercial construction project from bidding, bid mistakes, bid protests, contract drafting and negotiation, real-time advice during construction in relation to change orders, delays, acceleration, differing site conditions, defaults and termination, as well as dispute resolution via mediation, arbitration or litigation.
Clients find substantial value in Al’s thorough understanding of the construction process, as well as the intricacies of construction law, enabling him to serve as proactive counsel when advising clients on how to avoid or resolve problems.
Al has an AV rating by Martindale Hubbell and has been designated as a Legal Elite by N.C. Business Magazine, Super Lawyer by Charlotte Magazine, and as a Best Lawyer in America for more than a decade. He is also on the American Arbitration Association panel of Construction Arbitrators and is an invited Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America. Al frequently writes articles on construction law and construction contracting, and lectures on construction law-related topics.
Steven A. Bimbo has spent his entire legal career practicing with Al and focused entirely on construction law. Steven represents general contractors, owners, developers, subcontractors, vendors, and sureties at every stage of a construction project. Steven has a long-standing passion for residential and commercial development and construction, and a passion for learning and understanding the legal and technical complexities of construction projects—and how to make those complexities work in his clients’ favor. These passions fit well with his career choice as he has gained significant experience arbitrating and litigating all types of construction disputes, from a billion-dollar environmental remediation project to a broad array of large- and small-scale public and private project disputes. Steven’s rate structure allows him the flexibility to represent some of the largest general contractors on the East Coast while, at the same time, the ability to offer cost-effective representation to smaller firms in the construction industry.
Although Steven has extensive experience litigating and arbitrating construction disputes, he also enjoys working with project teams to institute dispute avoidance strategies and procedures to better avoid the chances of a dispute—and to ensure that if a dispute does occur, his clients are in the best position to recover or defend against claims.
As a reflection of Steven’s success and passion for the construction industry, he is consistently voted as one of North Carolina’s Legal Elite and Super Lawyers, a designation only given to approximately 2.5% of the practicing lawyers in North Carolina.
New Firm, New Resources, New Space
STJ&W’s expansion goes well beyond its respected new team members. The firm has just settled in to nearly 8,000 square feet in the Everett Building located in Ballantyne. This state-of-the-art space includes multiple conference rooms, including a large executive conference room capable of seating 50 people. Each conference room has high-tech gear for presentations and video conferencing.
STJ&W is excited about the formation of their new firm and positioning itself as a leader in boutique construction law services.