Stanley N. Wasser

Stanley Wasser has deep insight into the laws and practices governing both building and highway construction

Stanley N. Wasser
Partner

If there’s one thing Stanley N. “Stan” Wasser wants his construction clients to know, it’s this: “I’m putting myself in their shoes.” Having spent more than 25 years as a highly referred attorney in construction matters, Stan knows the terminology, concepts, issues, contracts, and documentation of the industry. “I can read a set of drawings and understand how jobs are supposed to work – knowing that is a big help.”

With a unique combination of government experience as Chief Counsel to the Illinois Department of Transportation, General Counsel to the Illinois Bureau of the Budget, an Assistant Attorney General, and an Illinois Comptroller’s counsel, Stan has deep insight into the regulations, requirements and practices governing public construction. He is also well-versed in labor and contractor-subcontractor disputes, for which he receives many referrals.

Putting himself in the client’s shoes means understanding the critical cost-benefit questions that any business must address when faced with a legal challenge. “I don’t want to become an unnecessary journeyman on my client’s payroll,” quips Stan. “My job is to figure out how to make the right business decision and not over-lawyer the issue – I try to be a problem-solver.” If, however, litigation is necessary, Stan can advocate for and protect his clients’ interests in the litigation process and at trial.

It’s this practical attitude that Stan believes has allowed him to maintain long term relationships with his contractor clients. It has also allowed him to secure favorable verdicts in one of the most challenging areas of law – criminal defense. “It’s satisfying when somebody says they would like to hire you to help them solve a legal problem because of what they have heard about you,” says Stan. “Some of my clients have been with me for decades – that trust is incredibly rewarding.”

To read an editorial profile of Stanley Wasser by Leading Lawyers Magazine, click here.

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Phone: 217-544-3403
Fax: 217-544-1593
Email Stanley Wasser


Areas of Practice
Construction Law
Criminal Law
Employment Law – Employee
Employment Law – Employer
Labor Law – Employer

Litigation
50% of Practice

Bar Admissions
Illinois

District of Columbia

U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois

U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois

U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Education
Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Washington, DC, J.D., 1975

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, B.A., 1972

Honors and Awards
Leading Lawyers

Professional Membership
Illinois State Bar Association

Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys

Lincoln-Douglas Inns of Court

Sangamon County Bar Association

Publications
Stan is a co-author of the chapter entitled Representing the Public Owner in the IICLE 2009 Practice Handbook, entitled Pre-Construction Issues, and a co-author of the chapter entitled Labor Issues in the Transactional Side of the Project in the IICLE 2010 Practice Handbook entitled Construction Law: Transactional Considerations.

Past Employment Positions
FeldmanWasser, 1987–Present

Illinois Department of Transportation, Chief Counsel, 1985–1986

Illinois Bureau of the Budget, General Counsel, 1984–1985

Illinois Department of Transportation, Assistant/Deputy Chief Counsel, 1977–1984

Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, 1977

Office of the Illinois Comptroller, Staff Counsel, 1975–1976

MAJOR CASES

Stan’s construction practice took on greater visibility when he defended a construction client from a series of union challenges over a seven-year period. The on-going challenges became a subject of note in the central Illinois construction community. Among the challenges through which Stan guided his clients were unfair labor practices before the NLRB, prevailing wage investigations by the Illinois Department of Labor, picketing, leafleting, and challenges to the contractor’s responsibility to be awarded contracts. Stan brought union opponents to federal trial twice for unlawful picketing and won money from juries for his client.

Representing a contractor, Stan obtained a favorable jury verdict against a subcontractor after the subcontractor revoked its bid, which Stan’s client had relied upon in bidding for a contract award, thus forcing Stan’s client to pay more for the intended work. The subcontractor had refused to honor its bid after learning that Stan’s client would not be contracting with the subcontractor on a second project the subcontractor had quoted at the same time.

Following a long and difficult litigation process ending in a week-long federal jury trial, Stan successfully defended a contractor client in a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit brought by three former employees alleging a failure to pay overtime wages. According to the evidence in the case, the employees had been assisted in bringing the lawsuit by a union organizing committee. The jury refused to award the plaintiffs a penny.

Stan, together with his partner Howard Feldman, successfully guided a construction client through a difficult dispute with the State of Illinois involving the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library which buildings their client had constructed for the State. The State had wrongfully blamed their client for significant delay damages, which the State sought to recover, and wrongfully withheld payment of contract balances, forcing their client to almost. Through their persistence, Stan and Howard were able, without the necessity of litigation, to recover a significant sum from the State of Illinois, thereby preventing their client from going out of business.

Stan also has experience in defending criminal cases in state and federal court. Stan has handled drug, firearm and mail fraud cases, among others, and has secured “not guilty” verdicts on several occasions. In one case Stan was able to secure a “not guilty” verdict in federal court on a firearms charge despite the fact that the client had just served a felony sentence for a similar offense in Missouri, and despite the fact that photographic evidence linked the client to the firearm. In another case, Stan and his partner, Howard, secured “not guilty” verdicts in a state court for a client charged with two Class X home invasion charges and an aggravated battery charge.

In addition to his construction and criminal defense work, Stan has handled a variety of legal matters, including business transactions, employment issues, estate administration and real estate matters, for numerous members of his community. Among Stan’s clients are a funeral home, a public television station and a non-profit community organization.
Presentations
Stan has spoken at seminars on the following construction law topics:

  • Illinois public contract code and competitive public bidding in Illinois covering the subjects of competitive bidding, bid protests, public contract requirements, suspensions and debarments, key contract clauses and issues, contract claims and design-build;
  • laws and regulations bearing on public contracting, including state and federal prevailing wage laws, DBE/MBE/WBE requirements, project labor agreements;
  • ethics and criminal risk issues in public contracting;
  • Illinois mechanics’ lien claims;
  • change orders, extras work and differing site conditions in Illinois construction projects;
  • contractor liability for and risk management of residential construction defects;
  • construction damages;
  • construction bonds and suretyship;
  • alternative dispute resolution of construction claims; and
  • ethics issues arising from insurance, surety bonds and bankruptcy construction issues.