Clarissa is a partner specialising in cross-sector construction and engineering disputes.  Clarissa's practice has focussed on all forms of alternative dispute resolution, adjudication, mediation, arbitration and the resolution of disputes in High Court litigation. 

Previous clients have included some of the UK's largest developers, contractors, sub-contractors and local authorities wherein her experience includes advising on issues ranging from defect claims, building safety defects, final and interim payment disputes, and extension of time and loss and expense claims.  She has extensive experience of advising clients on the implications of the Building Safety Act, and also in providing clients with commercial and pragmatic risk and contract management advice during the course of construction projects with the aim of resolving disputes swiftly and cost-effectively where possible.

Experience includes:

  • Acting for a developer in a final account dispute in relation to the construction of a 40+ storey residential tower in central London. The dispute involved complex issues in relation to the delayed completion of the works, the valuation of variations, loss and expense and delay damages in excess of £10m.
  • Acting for a developer in the termination of an insolvent Turkish trade-contractor engagement, bond call and subsequent claim for costs and losses in excess of £50m arising as a consequence of the insolvency and termination of the contractor.  The case also involved advice in relation to Turkish insolvency proceedings (in parallel with local legal Counsel).
  • Acting for a local authority in relation to the management of a c£100m cyclical repairs, maintenance and capital works contract and parallel dispute with its appointed multi-national contractor concerning the valuation of works over the project lifecycle.   
  • Providing extensive advice to a range of private and public sector clients in relation to the implementation and impact of the Building Safety Act 2022, and associated claims for building safety defects.    
  • Regularly providing risk and contract management advice to a range of private and public sector clients during the course of construction projects aimed at early intervention and the avoidance of disputes where possible. 


  • University of East Anglia – Law LLB (2007)
Professional Memberships
  • Society of Construction Law
  • Forum for the Built Environment (Vice-Chair, London Branch)

"Clarissa Smith is an excellent partner.  She was well engaged with the detail, but also kept a helicopter view of the dispute so that the signal was not lost in the noise." Legal 500 2022/23

"Clarissa Smith sets and maintains high standards which are mirrored through her team." Legal 500 2022/23

"Clarissa Smith has an enviable practice in local authority outsourcing and construction in addition to a number of major names in construction" Legal 500 2022/23

"Clarissa Smith is very responsive, commercially minded and able to see the wood from the trees." Chambers & Partners 2022/23