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Michael J. Holden is a member of Holden Willits PLC.  A 1980 graduate of Duke Law School, he has concentrated his practice for over 40 years in the area of construction law, representing primarily owners, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and sureties.  After 20 years at the Phoenix law firm of Lewis and Roca LLP, Mr. Holden formed his own firm in 2000.  The firm name changed in 2007 when partner Roger Brodman was appointed as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge.

Mr. Holden is a frequent author and speaker on a wide range of construction issues.  He co-wrote “Developments in Change Order Law,” 1999 Wiley Construction Law Update, Aspen Law and Business (1999), “Recent Case Law Developments in West Region,” 1998 Wiley Construction Law Update, Aspen Law and Business (1998), as well as the Arizona chapter in Fifty State Public Construction Contracting, Wiley Law Publications (1996).  He was also a contributing author to the Arizona Construction Law Practice Manual, which was published in 2003, 2011 and 2016 by the State Bar of Arizona.

Mr. Holden helped draft the 1989, 1992 and 1998 amendments to the Arizona mechanics’ and materialmen’s lien laws, and he was one of the primary authors of Arizona’s revolutionary private sector prompt payment law enacted in 2000.  He also was involved in drafting the 2010 amendments to the prompt pay statutes.

He was the founder and first chairman of the Arizona State Bar Construction Law Section.  He is a member of the Arizona Builders Alliance (since 1986) and currently serves as general counsel for that association.  He is also a member of the American Subcontractors Association of Arizona (Chair, Legal Advisory Council 1993-98, 2006, and Board of Directors 1994-95, 2000-2001), and the American Bar Association Construction Forum Committee and Fidelity and Surety Committee.  For the past 17 years, he has been an Adjunct Professor at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University teaching a course on Construction Law.

Mr. Holden was elected as a Fellow to the American College of Construction Lawyers in 2011.  In addition, he has been selected by his peers to be included in the Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Construction Law since 2007.  Three times in the past 11 years (2010, 2013 and 2020) he was recognized by Best Lawyers as the Phoenix “Construction Lawyer of the Year.”  He is also included in the Southwest SuperLawyers listing for Arizona in the Construction Litigation specialty and that publication has named him one of the top 50 lawyers in Phoenix nine of the last ten years.    

Best Lawyers Badge Michael J. HoldenLawyer of The Year, Michael J. Holden, Construction LawLawyer of The Year, Michael J. Holden, Construction Law 2020

Awards and Recognition

  • Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers (2011-present)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers of America™ – Construction Lawyer of the Year (Phoenix) (2010, 2013 and 2020)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers of America™ – Construction Law (Phoenix) (2007-2021)
  • Southwest SuperLawyers™ – Construction Law (2007-2021)
  • Southwest SuperLawyers™ – Top 50 Lawyers in Arizona (2011-2013, 2015-2021)

Bar Activities

  • State Bar of Arizona, Construction Law Section
    • Founder and First Chair (1986-1988)
    • Executive Committee Member (1986-1990)
  • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry (1986-present)
  • American Bar Association, Fidelity and Surety Committee, (1982-present)

Industry and Community Activities

  • Arizona Builders’ Alliance (formerly Associated General Contractors, Arizona Building Chapter)
    • Member (1986-present)
    • General Counsel (2009-present)
    • Member Legal Advisory Council (1986-present)
  • American Subcontractors Association of Arizona
    • Member (1986-present)
    • Chair, Legal Advisory Council (1993-1998, 2006-2009)
    • Board of Directors (1994-1995, 2000-2001)

Professional Experience

  • Holden Willits PLC, Phoenix, Arizona
    • Managing Member, May 2010 to present
  • Holden Willits Murphy PLC, Phoenix, Arizona
    • Managing Member, September 2007 to April 2010
  • Holden Brodman PLC, Phoenix, Arizona
    • Managing Member, November 2001 to September 2007
  • Holden Walker PLC, Phoenix, Arizona
    • Founder and Managing Member, May 2000 to October 2001
  • Lewis and Roca LLP, Phoenix, Arizona
    • Associate, May 1980 to May 1985
    • Partner, June 1985 to April 2000
    • Chair, Construction Law Practice Group, 1991 to 2000                    

Representative Matters

  • Represented a steel subcontractor on a large public project involving delay and disruption claims.  Successfully negotiated a multi-million-dollar settlement.
  • Over the past 40 years, prepared and recorded over 200 mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens with a total value of over one billion dollars
  • Prevailed at arbitration for a general contractor against an owner of a private college, recovering the unpaid contract balance and successfully defending against a seven-figure liquidated damages claim.
  • Represented a Native American tribe in a performance and payment dispute with a contractor on a hotel project and negotiated a favorable settlement after mediation.
  • Prevailed for general contractor in a lengthy arbitration against a condominium project owner on a wrongful termination claim.
  • Represented a highway contractor in bringing delay and disruption claims against the Arizona Department of Transportation.  Successfully negotiated a significant settlement.

 

Publications

  • Co-authored with Betty Hum and David Cantelme, “Developments in Change Order Law,” published in 1999 Wiley Construction Law Update, Aspen Law and Business (1999).
  • Co-authored with Betty Hum and David Cantelme, “Arizona Chapter,” published in Fifty State Public Construction Contracting, Wiley Law Publications (1996).
  • Co-authored with Betty Hum and David Cantelme, “Recent Caselaw Developments in West Region,” published in 1998 Wiley Construction Law Update, Aspen Law and Business (1998).
  • Contributing author, Arizona Construction Law Practice Manual, State Bar of Arizona (2002).
  • Co-Author, 2010 Cumulative Supplement, Horne on Arizona Construction Law, State Bar of Arizona (2010).
  • Contributing author, “Arizona Prompt Payment Laws,” published in Arizona Construction Law Practice Manual (2nd Edition), State Bar of Arizona (2011).
  • Contributing author, Road Trips, Society of American Baseball Research (2004).
  • Editor and contributing author, Mining Towns to Major Leagues, A History of Arizona Baseball, Society of American Baseball Research (1999)
  • Contributing author, Vineline (Official Publication of the Chicago Cubs)
  • Publisher, Arizona Fall League Media Guide (1995-2000, 2003-2006)

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor, Arizona State University School of Law (2005 to 2021), “Construction Law”
  • Guest Lecturer, Del E. Webb School of Construction, Arizona State University
  • Frequent Lecturer and Presenter at Construction Law Programs
  • Presented over 300 lectures and seminars on a wide variety of construction industry topics over the past 40 years to varied audiences, including the American Bar Association Construction Industry Forum, the National Association of Credit Managers, the National Association of Electrical Distributors, and the State Bar of Arizona
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Damages in Construction Litigation,” State Bar of Arizona (November 1989)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Building a Construction Case from the Ground Up,” State Bar of Arizona (January 2004)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “New Pueblo after 20 Years,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2005)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Litigating the Multi-Party Construction Case,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2006)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “What Happens When A Construction Owner Fails to Perform Its Contractual Obligations,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2007)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Reinforcing Your Legal Foundation,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2008)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Close Inspection of Recent Arizona Construction Law Cases,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2009)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Arizona Construction Law 2010,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2010)
  • Speaker, “Arizona Construction Law Practice Manual Seminar,” State Bar of Arizona (October 2010)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Mastering Construction Law,” State Bar of Arizona (February 2011)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Key Issues in Construction Litigation,” State Bar of Arizona (March 2012)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Warranties on Construction Projects: An In Depth Look at Cutting Edge Issues,” State Bar of Arizona (March 2014)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Lost in the Rubble: A Search for Neglected Arizona Construction Law Decisions,” State Bar of Arizona (April 2015)
  • Seminar Chair and Speaker, “Arizona Construction Law: A Survey of
  • Recent Developments,” State Bar of Arizona (March 2016)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Arizona Construction Law 2017: Annual Update of Recent Developments,” State Bar of Arizona (March 2017)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Read the Contract: A Lawyer’s First Step in Every Construction Dispute,” State Bar of Arizona (March 2018)
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Emerging Issues in Construction Litigation: How Will Arizona Courts Address Developing Trends?” State Bar of Arizona (April 2019
  • Seminar Co-Chair and Speaker, “Arizona Construction Law 2020: The Past Decade in Review,” State Bar of Arizona (October 2020)

Legislative Contributions and Advocacy

  • Contributing Drafter, Amendments to Arizona Mechanics’ and Materialmens’ Lien Laws, enacted in 1992 and 1998
    Selected as construction industry representative in 1992 to negotiate final revisions to lien law amendments
  • Worked as legal advisor for the Arizona Builders Alliance and American Subcontractors Association before the Arizona Legislature’s Lien Law Task Force in 1997
  • Drafted 1998 lien law amendments and worked with construction industry lobbyists in negotiating changes and final revisions
  • Primary Drafter, Arizona’s Stop Notice Remedy (A.R.S. §§ 32-1051 et seq.), enacted in 1998
  • Legal advisor for construction industry groups during lobbying and passage of the Stop Notice statute in 1998
  • Contributing Drafter, Arizona’s Private Sector Prompt Payment Law (A.R.S. §§ 32-1129 et seq.), enacted in 2000
  • Primary Drafter, 2010 Revisions to Arizona’s Private Sector Prompt Payment Law (Senate Bill 1375), signed by Arizona Governor on May 4, 2010
  • Involved in drafting and lobbying for significant revisions to the prompt pay law in capacity as General Counsel for the Arizona Builders Alliance
  • Member, Ad Hoc Arizona Legislative Committee on Modernizing Arizona’s 20-Day Notice Process, October to December 2015 (Appointed by David Gowan, Speaker of Arizona House of Representatives)