About

Gene Commander

Gene enjoys collaborating with successful entrepreneurs who are interested in promoting a new brand of business and deep sense of community. He would be honored to share his practical, actionable advice and expert recommendations with your senior leadership team.

Gene Commander, arbitrator

Experience

Gene began his law practice in Iowa in 1977 before moving his family to Denver in 1981 to join a growing mid-sized insurance litigation firm.  He became an owner of the business and learned many valuable lessons about the challenges of operating a law firm while building his own construction law practice.

Gene boosted his career by joining the Denver office of a regional litigation firm in 2000 to become a shareholder and leader in its highly regarded construction law practice group. This enabled him to expand his practice greatly by providing a unique blend of general counsel and commercial litigation services to a broad segment of the Colorado construction industry.   

polsinelli construction
In 2009, his firm merged with another to form a dynamic Am Law 100 national law firm with nearly 500 attorneys, which became known as Polsinelli. The expanded geographic footprint and diverse subject matter expertise of the combined firm positioned his construction law practice for further significant growth.

Gene served as the managing shareholder in Polsinelli’s Denver office from 2011 to 2015, while the office enjoyed dramatic growth in number of attorneys, scope of diverse practice areas, and revenue. Polsinelli’s clients thrived as the firm helped to position them at the intersection of law, industry, community, and public affairs.

He stepped away from the practice of law in 2015 to form Gene Commander Inc™, a commercial ADR business. He provided customized mediation and arbitration services to hundreds of Colorado businesses and their law firms for the next five years and helped them avoid the expense and uncertainty of civil litigation. Gene learned to be an effective consensus builder and problem solver through his legal and ADR experiences resolving complex construction and commercial disputes in an amicable and business-like manner.

In 2019, Gene was recognized by Best Lawyers®, the oldest and most respected guide to the legal profession, as Denver’s “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of arbitration.

Professional Achievements

Gene has provided legal and ADR services to businesses from virtually every segment of the construction and real estate development industries. Many of his construction clients were listed in Engineering News-Record’s “Top 400 Contractors.” They were responsible for the design, construction, and delivery of a wide variety of residential, commercial, health care, industrial, and infrastructure projects that have contributed greatly to the built environment in Colorado.

Clients routinely retained him to handle complex construction and commercial litigation before state and federal judges, arbitrators, government agencies, and alternative dispute resolution forums. His experience includes U.S. litigation and arbitration proceedings arising from international construction projects and business transactions based in Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Gene is a Fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators, an internationally recognized invitation-only association of commercial arbitrators. The American Arbitration Association has included him on its roster of approved arbitrators and mediators for the past 25 years.

In addition to being named as Denver’s Lawyer of the Year in the field of arbitration by Best Lawyers in 2019, the organization also recognized him as Denver’s Lawyer of the Year in the field of construction law in 2016.

Gene’s specialized educational background, lifelong curiosity, and diverse professional experiences have allowed him to gain a broad understanding of the business world.

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Practicing attorney in local, regional, and Am Law 100 national law firms with ownership, management, and construction practice group leadership responsibilities.

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Mediator and arbitrator in more than 200 complex construction and commercial disputes administered privately and by the American Arbitration Association with amounts in controversy totaling $40 million in one case.

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Board member with leadership responsibilities for charitable, nonprofit, industry, and quasi-governmental foundations, organizations, and associations.

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Mentor to diverse groups of business owners, leaders, and young professionals who are interested in learning about rewarding careers in the legal, arbitration, mediation, construction, and real estate development industries.

Experience

During his legal career, Gene handled complex litigation and arbitration before state and federal courts, arbitration panels, government agencies and a variety of ADR forums. His experience includes U.S. litigation and arbitration arising from international business transactions and projects located in Canada, Britain, Honduras and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Today

Gene focuses on helping businesses avoid or successfully resolve complex commercial disputes involving real estate, construction, law firm operations, insurance and related e-discovery matters. With more than 20 years of ADR experience as a third-party neutral, he has served as a neutral in more than 150 proceedings.

Recognition

Gene’s leadership extends beyond business and into the community. His distinguished credentials of city-building engagement include, most notably, his 2016 mayoral appointment to the Denver Urban Renewal Authority board of commissioners, and his role as chairperson of the internationally recognized Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) and Denver Civic Ventures. In 2014, Gene received the Honorary Partner Award from DDP for exhibiting strong leadership and engagement for a period of more than 10 years.

Leadership & Community Engagement

Gene’s leadership roles extend outside his law firm experiences as highlighted by his involvement in the Colorado construction industry and Denver business community.

He served as chair and longtime board member for the Downtown Denver Partnership, an internationally recognized business association. DDP actively promotes the diverse interests of the central business district in downtown Denver.   

He also has a long history of engagement with the Associated General Contractors of Colorado, a nationally recognized state chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. Gene co-founded its annual Executive Leadership Academy while serving as an AGC/C board member, and he has been a frequent instructor for the training program since its inception in 2013.

AGC/A introduced its Culture of CARE initiative in 2020, which AGC/C and Gene fully endorse.  It challenges all AGC/A construction industry members to take visible steps to ensure that their workplaces and jobsites are free from harassment, hazing, and bullying.

Gene has earned accolades for his engagement and leadership in the fields of construction, real estate development, urban planning and city building:  

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Mayoral appointment to the board of commissioners for the Denver Urban Renewal Authority in 2016

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Engineering News-Record’s Mountain States Legacy Award in 2015 for his dedication to the Colorado construction industry

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Downtown Denver Partnership’s Honorary Partner Award in 2014 for his dedication to the Denver business community

Gene currently serves as a board member for the Construction Education Foundation of Colorado. He helped ACG/C reorganize and empower the charitable foundation in 2018.

He whole-heartedly supports CEF’s commitment to grow its already successful skilled workforce development programs for high school and college students, veterans, and unemployed adults who are interested in rewarding construction careers.

He has served as an instructor for undergraduate, MBA, and law students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado, and in the Colleges of Business and Law at the University of Denver.

As a Colorado entrepreneur, Gene is an avid proponent of CEF’s mission:

… to recruit, develop, and serve students of the construction industry by promoting innovative educational pathways to rewarding careers in an inclusive, highly skilled, and prosperous construction workforce.   

 

Consensus Builder. Problem Solver.

Move your business forward with confidence and peace of mind.