Todd Bressler has joined BBG to lead operations in California. Todd has spent his 28+ year legal career providing strategic legal and business guidance to clients across the AEC industry. In doing so, Todd has advised and collaborated with CEOs, Boards of Directors, executive leadership, corporate partners, and in-house counsel in an outside general counsel capacity, focusing on contract negotiations, corporate governance, employment matters, compliance protocols, project safety, and the general management of risk, whether through internal mitigation efforts or the litigation/arbitration process. In doing so, Todd served as a trusted advisor to executive leadership related to the mitigation of risk and disputes, strategic planning, and the development of operational management through empowerment and coaching. Todd has also served as lead litigation counsel in a variety of construction and real estate disputes.
Most recently, Todd served as the Chief Legal Officer at Bernards, a regional general contractor in Los Angeles and, immediately prior to that, as General Counsel, West Region at Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., a national contractor headquartered in Boston. Before that, Todd practiced in construction and real estate law firms where he provided corporate management guidance and assisted his clients with all legal matters.
Todd recently held positions on the executive board of the Southern California Development Forum, a philanthropic industry association, where he currently serves the Board’s Legal Advisor, a role he also provides to the Board of the ACE Mentor Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter.
Whether using my Tinkertoys, taking apart my toy cars and putting them back together (they never rolled the same way as they did when they were new), or building Lego (which I still like to do), I have always been interested in how things are put together. I furthered that interest by working construction jobs (roofing; wood framing; hardwood floors; drywall) during high school and in college. During law school, however, I decided that I wanted to become a prosecutor. Immediately after law school, I was waiting until the OJ Simpson murder trial was finished so the Los Angeles District Attorney could replenish his budget, lift his office’s hiring freeze, and officially bring me on as a DA rather than having me volunteer my time as a clerk. The OJ trial went on far longer than anyone expected (except maybe Johnny Cochran) and I couldn’t afford to work for free any longer. Fortuitously, a friend of mine told me she heard of a position at a construction law firm that was opening. I knew I loved construction (for the reasons noted above) so I jumped at it. During my interview, the named partner asked me the difference between concrete and cement. I was shocked, but I apparently answered it correctly which ultimately led to my receiving an offer. Upon reflection, it made perfect sense that someone interested in how things are put together would be representing clients who “put things together” on a very large scale. Unbeknownst to me at the time, construction law was a perfect fit for me.
Although this probably applies to any field, my suggestion is ask tons of questions internally and of your clients. Make sure to visit client jobsites as often as possible, even if that is on your own time. Remember, our clients are experts in what they do and we come out of law school knowing very little (nothing if you want me to be honest). Be humble, ask questions (none of which are stupid) and as the weeks turn into months which turn into years, it’s amazing what you’ll learn from the people you are there to advise and protect. That process engenders trust and before you know it, you’re off and running.
My true passion is helping others. Although the people on the other side of the fence when I worked at the District Attorneys’ office would not agree, I have always liked helping people. Occasionally, it’s hard to see how we do that when we are representing large corporations, but if you follow my suggestion about asking questions, you will quickly realize the people who are teaching you what they do are getting as much from your help as you are from their answers to your questions. What you may not know is that after taking the California Bar Exam, I was convinced I didn’t pass. I swore I wouldn’t take the bar exam a second time, so I struggled to find my path during the 4 months while awaiting exam results. Following my guiding principle – helping others – I decided to apply as a firefighter with the Los Angeles City Fire Department. After passing my physical agilities test and interview, I was put on a wait list. While waiting for my start date at the Fire Academy, I learned I passed the Bar Exam. One year, almost to the day, after starting at the construction law firm, I received a card in the mail with my start date at the Fire Academy. Ultimately, I opted to stay at the law firm which, if I’m being honest, is the one “what if” question I regularly think about. Looking back, I’m convinced I could have done both … at least that’s what I tell myself.
I’m a third generation Angelino. I grew up in a city called Tarzana which was named because Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author of Tarzan) lived in this suburb of Los Angeles. In my free time, I love doing anything outdoors – cycling, hiking, swimming, surfing, skiing, and walking the dog. I also make a point of spending time as much time with family and friends as possible.