John W. Hays

Phone: (859) 255-9500 | Fax: (859) 288-2849 | Email:
175 East Main Street, Lexington, KY 40507

John W. Hays is a Member in the Firm's Lexington, Kentucky, office. 

Mr. Hays' practice is primarily focused in construction litigation, contracts and commercial litigation. He also has extensive training and experience as a mediator in construction, commercial, employment and personal injury disputes. Mr. Hays has also served as an arbitrator and is on the Commercial Arbitration Panel for the American Arbitration Association. He is a frequent author and lecturer on topics related to construction and alternative dispute resolution.

Mr. Hays is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and all state and federal courts within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He is a member of the Fayette, Kentucky and American Bar Associations and is active in the ABA Forum for the Construction Industry and KBA Section on Construction and Public Contract Law. Mr. Hays is also a member of the ADR Section of the KBA, was on the board of directors for the Mediation Center of Kentucky and is a past president of the Mediation Association of Kentucky.

Mr. Hays received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1985 and his Juris Doctor, with distinction, from the University of Kentucky in 1988. He was a member of the Kentucky Law Journal and graduated Order of the Coif. Mr. Hays has an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and has been named in the Kentucky Super Lawyers® list since 2009. Mr. Hays has also been named in The Best Lawyers in America® for Construction Law since 2013. He has been a member of The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals since 2012 and was named the 2016 Lexington Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers.

Legal Experience
2004 - PresentJackson Kelly PLLC
2001 - 2004Stites & Harbison PLLC
1988 - 2001Frost Brown Todd\Brown Todd & Heyburn
2013Advanced Mediation TrainingNational Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
2005Mediation WorkshopHarvard Law School (Program of Instruction for Lawyers)
2002Arbitrator II TrainingAmerican Arbitration Association
2001Arbitrator I TrainingAmerican Arbitration Association
1995Mediation TrainingMediation Center of Kentucky (40 hours)
1988J.D. University of Kentucky College of Law
1985B.A.Princeton University
Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
1989U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
1988U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
1988U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky

Professional Involvement:
  • The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, Member, 2012-present
  • Kentucky Bar Association (ADR Section, Construction and Public Contract)
  • American Bar Association (Forum on Construction Industry)
  • American Arbitration Association (Panel Member)

Teaching and Lecturing:
  • "Jockeying for the Best Position—Contract Negotiation Skills in Government Contracting," American Bar Association, Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 2017
  • "Construction Claims," International Paint Committee, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sept. 2017
  • "Professional Liability and Duty for Engineers," Professional Engineers in Mining, Lexington, Kentucky, Sept. 2017
  • "Legal Issues for Civil Engineers and Surveyors," HalfMoon Education, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky, June 2017
  • "Arbitration 101—The Process from Demand to Award," Kentucky Bar Association, Owensboro, Kentucky, June 2017
  • "Drones in the Construction Industry:  Risks and Rewards," KSPE Annual Convention, Covington, Kentucky, April 2017
  • "Drones in the Construction Industry:  Risks and Rewards," ABCWV Winter Meeting, The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Jan. 7, 2017
  • "Drones in the Construction Industry:  Risks and Rewards," 2016 Biennial Construction Law Institute, University of Kentucky College of Law, Oct. 2016
  • Law 825 – Negotiating Process, University of Kentucky College of Law, May 2011-present
  • “Professional Conduct for Professional Engineers,” KSPE/ACEC-KY Leadership PE Training (Multiple Years)
  • “Risk Management & Claims Experiences for Structural Engineers,” KSPE/ACEC-KY Seminar Lexington, Kentucky, Jan. 2012
  • “Professional Conduct for Professional Engineers,” 2011 KSPE Annual Convention, Covington, Kentucky
  • “Professional Conduct for Professional Engineers,” 2010 KSPE Annual Convention, Louisville, Kentucky
  • “Law of Construction Defects and Failures,” HalfMoon Seminars, Lexington, Kentucky, June 2010
  • “Construction Claim Arbitration,” KSPE/ACEC-KY Seminars, Fall/Winter 2009
  • “Making Changes and Resolving Disputes during the Construction Process,” Sept. 2008
  • “Mediation Ethics,” AOC Mediation Training, Frankfort, Kentucky, July 2008
  • “Advantages and Disadvantages of Arbitration,” KBA Convention, Lexington, Kentucky, June 2008
  • "Professional Conduct for Professional Engineers," Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 2005
  • "Proving the Structural Engineer’s Standard of Care with CASE Guidelines," 2004 Risk Management Program Convocation, Reston, Virginia
  • "Still Looking for WMD’s? Try Your Contracts and Office Practices," 2004 ASCE Structures Congress, Nashville, Tennessee
  • "Mediation and Arbitration: Getting Your Money’s Worth," 2004 KSPE Annual Convention, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • "Claims Against the Design Professional," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oct. 2002
  • "Multi State Practice and Unauthorized Practice of Law Rules," 2000 Biennial Midwest/Construction Law Institute, University of Kentucky College of Law
  • "Ethical Guidelines Concerning Mediation and Arbitration," 1998 Biennial Midwest/Construction Law Institute, University of Kentucky College of Law

Writings and Publications:
  • "Construction Defect Claims Against Design Professionals and Contractors," THE CONSTRUCTION LAWYER, Spring 2003
  • "Prompt Payment Acts: Recent Developments and Trends," THE CONSTRUCTION LAWYER, vol. 22, no. 3, Summer 2002
  • "Mediating Construction Disputes," BENCHMARK, vol. 26, issue 1, Spring 2001
  • Co-author, "A Trap for the Unwary Architect or Contractor," THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR, Nov. 2, 1998
  • Co-author, "Admissibility of Expert Testimony under the Daubert Standard," CONSTRUCTION BRIEFINGS, June 1997

Awards and Honors:
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2018 Lexington Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2016 Lexington Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Named in the list of Kentucky Super Lawyers®, 2009-present
  • Listed in the Construction, Real Estate & Environmental Section of 2013 Super Lawyers® Business Edition for Construction Litigation
  • The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Member, 2012-present (for online calendar, click here)
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® for Construction Law, 2013-2018
  • Order of the Coif, 1988
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent rating
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