Joseph A. Cleves, Jr.

Of Counsel Cincinnati


Joe leads the firm’s Lean Construction & Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) group. He also is a member of the Construction and Real Estate groups. Joe has extensive experience in lean construction, a practice designed to maximize value and minimize waste throughout the construction process, and with integrated project delivery, a process uniquely suited to put lean construction principles into practice. Joe has consulted on multi-million dollar developments across the nation, incorporating IPD as a means to delivering value to all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.

Joe is highly experienced in developing and revising contract documents and procedures and has negotiated and closed on numerous construction contracts, joint venture agreements, and subcontracts.

Construction clients of note include:

  • A U.S.-based international auto manufacturer in its IPD projects in the U.S.
  • Owners and developers throughout the U.S. engaged in IPD projects.
  • Major medical centers and hospital/health care networks throughout Ohio and Kentucky.

Joe has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America each year since 2012 and was named Cincinnati “Lawyer of the Year” in 2013 for Construction Law. He is also a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America.

He is the board chair of the Cancer Support Community of Greater Cincinnati. Joe serves on the national board of Cogence Alliance, whose goal is to transform the design and construction industry. Joe is a past board member and former chair of the Thomas More College Alumni Association and served six years on the board of a local ministry-based, non-denominational social service agency, including three years as its chair.


All Service Areas

All Practices

All Industries


  • St. Louis University School of Law (1978)
  • Thomas More College (1975)


  • State - Ohio
  • State - Kentucky
  • Federal - Eastern District of Kentucky
  • Federal - Southern District of Ohio

Notable Matters

  • Representing a U.S.-based international car manufacturer in the use of IPD for the design and construction of a battery plant for electric cars, which will have a cumulative investment of $2.3 billion.
  • Representing a major medical center in Omaha, Neb., on a $350 million construction renovation project using IPD.
  • Consulting with an owner for a $45 million high energy efficiency apartment development in Kansas City using IPD.
  • Advising an international construction manager on a $160 million office project in California using IPD.
  • Representing the owner and facilitating the implementation of integrated project delivery for a $35 million senior living facility.
  • Representing and coaching the design team and negotiating contracts for the implementation of IPD for a $100 million facility for a major Greater Cincinnati medical center.
  • Contract negotiations with a construction manager for a $50 million expansion by a Greater Cincinnati medical center.
  • A master construction manager agreement between a Greater Cincinnati medical center and a large construction company for continuing services on core hospital projects.
  • Standard form construction contact libraries with extensive customized revisions of numerous project delivery systems for two major medical centers in Greater Cincinnati, a major regional design-builder and the Kentucky branch of a significant religious organization.
  • Contracts for a $48 million residential village at a major state university in Ohio for a design-builder, including a joint venture with a residential builder.

Speeches and Publications


  • Panelist, “10 Things I Love & Hate about Updating my Contracts: An Owner’s Checklist,” Construction Owners Association of America Connect Spring 2022 Conference, May 12, 2022.
  • “Transparency in Building a New Jail: An In-Depth Public Discussion of Modern Methods for Building Successful Public Projects,” Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s “Hot Talks” program, April 19, 2021
  • “The Lean Construction Journey: Collaborative Project Delivery,” Ohio Valley Chapter of the Lean Construction Institute, Virtual Panelist, Sept. 2020
  • “Lean Practices for Design-Build Projects and the New ConsensusDocs 431 Lean Design-Build Addendum,” Associated of General Contractors of America (AGC), Webinar Panelist, July, 2020
  • “IPD and IFOA: How to Make Collaboration Work,” CURT (Construction Users Roundtable) LCI Lean Summit, Las Vegas 2016
  • “The New and Improved ConsensusDOCS 300,” LCI Congress, Boston World Trade Conference Center 2015
  • “What You Need to Know About Lean Project Delivery and IPD,” Pre-Construction SuperConference Workshop, San Francisco, with Will Lichtig
  • “Moving from GMP to Integrated Project Delivery,” Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, with Roland Nikles, John Nunan and Jeff Allen
  • “Integrated Project Delivery: The Game Changer,” American Bar’s Construction Law Forum, Las Vegas, with Hanson Bridgett partner, Lisa Dal Gallo
  • “AIA Design and Construction Contracts and Bonds,” Catholic Conference for Facility Managers, Covington, Kentucky
  • “The New Paradigm:  Realignment Through Integrated Project Delivery,” ConSteel Conference, Atlanta, an organization of designers, construction companies and suppliers
  • “The Top-Down Approach to Integrated Project Delivery,” Lean Construction Institute – Central Florida Chapter
  • Guest lecturer on lean construction at the University of Cincinnati’s and University of Dayton’s Engineering Colleges


Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association


  • American Bar Association Forums

    Member, Steering Committee of Division Two on Construction Documents

  • Cincinnati Bar Association


  • Construction Lawyers Society of America


  • Kentucky Bar Association


  • Lean Construction Institute (LCI)

    Co-Chair, LCI Ohio Valley Chapter

  • Northern Kentucky Bar Association


  • Ohio State Bar Association


Community Involvement

  • Cancer Support Community of Greater Cincinnati

    Board Chair

  • Cogence Alliance

    National Board Member

  • Thomas More College

    Past Board Member
    Former Chair, Alumni Association