Christopher S. Dunn

Owners and developers with sophisticated construction projects can appreciate that Chris Dunn has the transactional and litigation experience to handle all aspects of the project, from the creation of a custom design and construction agreements to creative and efficient dispute resolution. Chris is recognized as an industry leader and recently completed his term as the Chair of Division 12 (Owners and Lenders) of the American Bar Association's Forum on the Construction Industry, an organization of construction professionals with over 6,000 members.  In 2014, Chris was selected by his peers to serve on the twelve-person Governing Committee for the Forum, a three-year commitment that began in August 2014.

Construction projects work on strict timelines with high stakes, and clients depend on Chris's robust knowledge of the industry to guide them through the nuanced planning stage and advocate on their behalf if problems arise during or after the build phase.

A host of companies in the Engineering News Record’s Top 425 Owners turn to Chris for advice and counsel, including those in the following industries:

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitals
  • Hospitality and Entertainment
  • Professional sports franchises
  • Publicly traded manufacturers
  • REITs
  • Mixed use and residential market
  • Local government

Construction clients include international companies bringing projects to the United States.  Chris has also helped clients get projects off the ground overseas, including a recent build in mainland China.  On the local front and in addition to his work on project development, contracting, and dispute resolution, Chris has assisted many clients with licensing issues before the Tennessee Contractors Licensing Board.

Although the industries may be different, each client receives the benefit of Chris's sharp-focused and energetic style. His enthusiasm, optimism and ingenuity lead to efficient, cost-effective, and original outcomes. In the transactional context, this means custom agreements tailored to the owner's needs; in dispute resolution, this means driving results through conscientious evaluation at the earliest stages of a conflict and ultimately at trial or in arbitration hearings.


Best Lawyers has recognized Chris for his work in the construction law field since 2007. Furthermore, Chris has been named 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America for construction law. Additional recognition for his work includes being rated "A-V Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell, selection to the American Arbitration Association's Construction Neutrals Panel, induction as a Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation, and being named to the Nashville Business Journal's "Best of the Bar."


  • Handles matters utilizing both owner and contractor-controlled insurance programs
  • Advises clients with regard to complex scheduling, job-cost accounting, sustainability and building information modeling (BIM) contract provisions
  • Routinely reviews form construction agreements such as those associated with the American Institute of Architects, ConsensusDOCS Coalition, the Associated General Contractors of America, the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee and non-standardized contract documents for clients requiring custom agreements
  • Prepared design agreements on behalf of an owner with a project with a design budget in excess of $30 million as well as related construction documents forecasted to exceed $800 million in construction values


  • Member, American Bar Association's Forum on the Construction Industry
    • Member, Governing Committee
    • Past Chair, Division 12–Owners and Lenders
  • Member, Construction Neutrals Panel of the American Arbitration Association
  • Member, Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations
  • Member, Texas Bar Association

Prior Affiliations

  • Associate, Smith & Cashion, PLC, Nashville, Tennessee, 2000-2002
  • Associate, Cornelius & Collins, LLP, Nashville, Tennessee, 1997-2000
  • Judicial Clerk to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Middle Section, 1995-1997


  • J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law, 1994
  • B.A., cum laude, Villanova University, 1991

Legal Services

Industries Served

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee
  • Texas

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, All Districts of Tennessee

Up Close

Chris would spend all of his time in the Rockies given half the chance. He is an avid archer and rifleman, and enjoys big-game hunting. Chris also loves running, weight lifting, and watching college sports.