Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United States > Real estate and construction > Construction (including construction litigation) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Construction (including construction litigation)
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jeffrey Appelbaum - Thompson Hine LLP
    • Lewis Baker - Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & F itzgerald, LLP
    • Deborah Ballati - Farella Braun + Martel LLP
    • Albert Bates - Pepper Hamilton LLP
    • David Buoncristiani - Jones Day
    • Steven Charney - Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
    • Gregory Cokinos - Cokinos, Bosien & Young
    • Brian Corgan - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
    • Bruce Ficken - Cozen O'Connor
    • Jennifer Fletcher - Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
    • Bennett Greenberg - Seyfarth Shaw LLP
    • Scott Greer - King & Spalding LLP
    • Randall Hafer - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
    • John Heisse - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
    • Steven Lesser - Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.
    • James Moye - Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP
    • Andrew Ness - Jones Day
    • Stephen O’Neal - Jones Day
    • Robert Peckar - Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
    • Stephen Shapiro - Holland & Knight LLP
    • Steven Stein - Stein Ray LLP
    • Neal Sweeney - Jones Walker LLP
    • George Wenick - Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP

Jones Day’s leading construction attorneys include Andrew Ness in Washington DC, Daniel McMillan in Los Angeles, Stephen O’Neal and of counsel David Buoncristiani in San Francisco and Roy Powell in Pittsburgh. The team advises national and international owners and contractors on transactional and contentious matters, particularly in relation to large energy and infrastructure projects across the US and the world. It has been representing Kiewit Pacific Company in three separate defect lawsuits related to the $721m I-405 Sepulveda Pass widening project in Los Angeles, and also successfully defended Kiewit in a whistleblower action in the Northern District of California. The group has been acting for utility owners, led by Georgia Power Company, in relation to claims of over $1bn, brought by the contractor, based on alleged regulatory changes affecting the $10bn construction of a nuclear power plant. Kevin O’Brien is assisting Bechtel Power with negotiations over the construction of a $500m 750MW power plant in Virginia. Non-contentious highlights included assisting the Los Angeles Unified School District with procurement and drafting contracts for a $30m design-build dual language (Mandarin and English) immersion elementary school project, and advising Loma Linda University Medical Center on its multi-phase $1.2bn campus redevelopment.

The ‘extremely knowledgeableScott Greer is ‘well versed in the trends of the industry’ and leads King & Spalding LLP’s practice from Houston. The group is hailed for its ‘unique combination of experience and expertise’ and handles projects ‘from cradle to grave’ on a national and international scale. ‘Expert litigatorCraig Ledet is the key partner for contentious matters, including international arbitration. Many of the attorneys have a background in engineering, allowing them to provide ‘broad thinking and strategic, realistic and pragmatic’ advice, ‘not only on legal issues but with respect to commercial, technical and risk management concerns’. The group specializes in large-scale energy and infrastructure projects, and is currently working on projects exceeding $125bn in value. ‘Adept, creative and tough negotiator’ Angus McFadden is one of the lead partners assisting Axiall Corporation and Lotte Chemical with their $2bn joint venture for the construction of an ethylene cracker in Louisiana. Highlights also included ongoing advice to the Atlanta Falcons in relation to the construction of a new football stadium, and representing Freeport LNG in relation to the development and construction of a new $14bn liquefied natural gas export terminal in Texas. The firm has strengthened its dispute resolution practice through the promotions to partner of Benjamin Pollock and Kevin Clark, and the lateral hire of David Kiefer, who joined the New York office from Dentons. All named lawyers are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.

Peckar & Abramson, P.C. is a ‘first-class firm with extremely experienced and competent construction lawyers’. New York-based Steven Charney and Robert Peckar lead an ‘excellent construction practice with a very deep bench’ of 60 partners spread across 11 US offices. Present in both public and private sectors, the firm’s extensive expertise ranges from retail, entertainment and hospitality to infrastructure and nuclear energy projects. It provides a full service offering to owners, US contractors abroad and foreign contractors in the US, and represents clients in delay and disruption disputes, payment and performance bond claims and AAA and ICC arbitration proceedings. Los Angeles-based Alex Baghdassarian and Eric Gruzen recently negotiated a favorable settlement for a national contractor in a multimillion-dollar dispute over negligent management claims. In another highlight, Steven Seeger in the Washington DC office secured an $11m award for an owner in delay, disruption and changes litigation against a general contractor. David Fultz in New York and Scott Kearns and Denis Serkin in New Jersey were promoted to partner. Although the firm is no longer physically present in Atlanta, it opened three new offices in Texas (Austin, Dallas and Houston) following the hire of nine lawyers from Ford Nassen & Baldwin. Gregory Chertoff is recommended. Danielle Cole and Todd Bressler left the firm.

Dentons’ team provides a full service to owners and developers, contractors and subcontractors, design professionals and sureties, with John Haug leading the transactional work from St Louis and Philip White heading litigation from New York. The team’s expertise includes government contracts, bid protests and bond claims, and it has recently been advising on projects ranging from residential and retail developments to chemical facilities and power plants. Examples included assisting the Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Company with contractual matters surrounding the $1.5bn design and construction of luxury hotels in the Middle East, and acting for the O’Donnell Investment Company in the development of a $240m gold-rated LEED-certified high rise in Chicago. In an example on the disputes side, it represented Longview Power in a $600m defect and delay suit arising from the construction of a $2bn coal-fired power plant. Other clients include McCormack Baron Salazar, Piedmont Natural Gas, Balfour Beatty Communities and Nicor. Following its merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge, Mark Budwig, Peter Ippolito and Laurence Phillips joined the team in California. Disputes specialist David Kiefer moved to King & Spalding LLP.

The 27-partner group at Duane Morris LLP has a broad practice, advising clients on matters ranging from project management, to bid, payment and performance bonds, to delay, loss of productivity and inefficiency claims. Led by New York-based Mark Canizio, the team also provides assistance with LEED certification, Building Information Modeling, risk management and OSHA and other compliance matters. Kenneth Lazaruk has been advising Related Companies on the drafting and negotiation of design agreements for the Hudson Yards development; he is also acting for Columbia University in the multi-phase redevelopment of Manhattanville in West Harlem. Canizio is representing Tutor Perini in multimillion-dollar claims against New York City and New York State respectively, and Philadelphia-based Joseph Battipaglia is representing the University of Sciences in a multimillion-dollar dispute over the deterioration of underground piping. Denis Shanagher joined the San Francisco office from McKenna Long & Aldridge, and Yao Bailey joined the New York office from Menaker & Herrmann LLP. Stanley Martin left the firm to open his own practice, Commonsense Construction Law LLC. Former practice head Albert Bates moved to Pepper Hamilton LLP.

The nine-partner team at Farella Braun + Martel LLP, which is headed by San Francisco-based Richard Van Duzer, specializes in solar energy, wastewater treatment, public infrastructure and relocation projects. It represents owners, developers and design-build and large contractors in a range of transactional matters, as well handling arbitration and litigation. Jeffrey Sykes is representing Nibbi Brothers General Contractors in multiple disputes arising from the construction of a $25m healthcare facility, while a team led by Mark Petersen is advising subcontractor Layne Christensen Company on various matters relating to three subway station projects within the San Francisco Central Subway project, including differing site conditions, design deficiencies and construction delays. Deborah Ballati continues to serve as outside counsel to the Port of Oakland, advising, for example, on structuring and implementing a design-build development of the former Oakland Army Base. Other highlights included representing Kleinfelder in a dispute over delay and additional design costs regarding the Carmel River reroute and San Clemente dam removal project.

The team at Foley & Lardner LLP has a notable profile both nationally and internationally, and advises owners and developers, contractors, subcontractors, joint ventures and design professionals. Led by Jeffrey Blease, who splits his time between Boston and San Francisco, it provides expertise in relation to various phases of complex public projects, as well as refineries and nuclear power plants. Blease continues his representation of engineering firm HNTB in a $20m dispute over an alleged bid error concerning Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport. He is also representing HNTB in a multimillion-dollar claim relating to the cumulative impact of owner-imposed changes, delays and disruptions on a public highway project. Other clients include Lennar Homes, CDC Group, Bankers South Lending & Finance, Waste Options Nantucket and CSDC Systems. Adam Adams left the firm; Douglas Heffer was promoted to the partnership. Christopher Ryan Maloney and Edmund Baxa are recommended.

New Jersey-based Robert Epstein and Phoenix-based Jeffrey Walsh head the 47-partner team at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, which provides an ‘exemplary service on all matters, from contractual review to full-blown litigation’. The team advises private and public owners, developers, funding companies and large contractors, including the likes of EnviroFinance Group and AECOM. Recent work includes Epstein representing the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York against multiple claims by contractors and sureties worth many millions, and Michael Burnett representing Troy Construction in AAA arbitration proceedings relating to an EPC contract for the construction of a gas storage facility in Wyoming - $78m is at stake. Elsewhere, the ‘extremely activeRobert Brams is managing the transactional aspects of the $350m development of multiple cancer treatment centers in the Middle East, Mexico and China for Acacia Health Group and defending. Brams, based in Washington DC, is also serving as construction counsel to Amstar in the $300m-plus Zlota 44 residential project in Poland. Christopher Barnett and Michael Thomas joined the firm from Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson PA, and Mark Grantham joined in Atlanta following his departure from DLA Piper LLP (US). William Wray went to Holley, Driggs, Walch, Fine, Wray, Puzey & Thompson and Benjamin Tymann left to open his own practice, Tymann LLC - Law & Compliance.

The 14-partner practice at Holland & Knight LLP is chaired by renowned practitioner Stephen Shapiro, who splits his time between New York and Washington DC. From energy and infrastructure specialists in Florida, to government contracts and compliance experts in Washington DC, to attorneys in California dealing with major construction disputes, the team demonstrates an enviable range and geographic spread of expertise, further expanded by a newly opened office in Houston. A team led by New York-based Frederick Rohn has been advising Moynihan Station Development Corporation on the development of the Moynihan Station at the Farley Post Office Building in Manhattan; the project entails partial renovation of the Farley Building and the Amtrak train shed. A team led by Boston-based senior counsel Deborah Griffin continues to advise Massachusetts Technology Collaborative on the $90m design-build project to deliver broadband infrastructure in western Massachusetts. Clients also include Chicago Bridge & Iron, Whiting-Turner, Haskell, Battery Park City Authority and Skanska USA. Ben Subin, operating from Orlando and Miami, is recommended.

The team at Jones Walker LLP recently welcomed to the fold ‘practical and business-oriented’ Joseph Henner, ‘well-of-knowledge’ Neal Sweeney, and Chad Theriot. The trio joined the firm’s Atlanta office, along with three special counsels, from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, in a move that expands the firm’s geographical footprint and adds to its broad offering, particularly in the industrial and energy sectors. A team led by Theriot represented the Kiewit-Turner joint venture in a lawsuit against the US Department of Veterans Affairs; he obtained an unprecedented relief before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, allowing the client to abandon a $1.75bn construction project due to a breach of contract by the defendant. A team led by Henner has been representing Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde in arbitration proceedings arising from the expansion of a mine in Peru and the development of a waste water treatment facility on site. Stephen Miller has been advising voestalpine Texas on completing a $740m hot briquetted iron plant in Corpus Christi, and is acting as a general counsel to Northern Star Generation on numerous projects related to its eight power generation facilities in Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada. Other key highlights included acting for EPC consortium on multibillion-dollar claims arising from the construction of two nuclear reactors. The team is led by Richard Tyler in New Orleans.

The group at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton advises private and public owners on horizontal construction projects, specializing in heavy civil infrastructure, power transportation, highways and chemical processing plants. The group has experience acting for clients in ICC arbitration proceedings and managing scope changes, delay and disruption claims as well as serving as a counsel to trade associations. It has a track record acting for major EPC contractors and handling complex disputes arising from multibillion-dollar projects in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Work highlights included representing a client in a multimillion-dollar delay claim in Latin America. Atlanta-based Randall Hafer leads the group, and ‘bet-the-company’ litigator Brian Corgan and Lee Mann are recommended. In February 2016, six attorneys left the practice to join Jones Walker LLP.

The practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is led by Washington DC-based Jeffrey Gans, who specializes in troubled projects, and the ability of the team to assess a project’s potential pitfalls at an early stage is hailed as ‘beyond comparison’. It has experience in sectors ranging from healthcare to retail and hospitality. Recent work includes assisting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with drafting and negotiating design and construction contracts for its new $300m motion picture museum and representing Walsh Austin in a $100m-plus claim against the City of Los Angeles arising from the construction of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. A team led by California-based John Heisse is representing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems in a $4bn ICC arbitration arising from alleged defects in replacement steam generators supplied for the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Melissa Lesmes and David Dekker are recommended, particularly for insurance recovery matters. Scott Barat, who manages the Northern Virginia office, is another name to note.

The group at Schiff Hardin LLP works mostly for owners and specialty contractors, helping keep projects on schedule and advising on issues from procurement to hazardous waste-related claims. The 15-partner practice is led by Kenneth Roberts in Chicago, but also has a presence in New York. The team excels in projects within the energy sector, particularly power station upgrades and retrofits. As an example, it has been retained by Alliant Energy to provide an independent evaluation of a $3.5bn pollution controls retrofit program as well as to assist the company with procurement and contracting strategies in various upgrade and construction projects across the country. The Chicago-based Amanda Schermer MacVey continues to serve as a full-time onsite counsel to Kansas City Power & Light for the La Cygne environmental retrofit project. The team is also advising on the $600m Focal Point development for Chicago Southwest Development Corporation. Contentious work highlights included defending delay, inefficiency and defect claims for Equity Residential and defending Kansas City against a multimillion-dollar delay and inefficiency claim made by a heavy highway and road contractor.

At Seyfarth Shaw LLP, ‘terrific lawyer’ Bennett Greenberg leads a ‘substantial practice with a deep bench’, which includes newly appointed co-chair Sara Beiro Farabow. The group garners praise for developing ‘creative arguments’ in difficult assignments in both private and public sectors, and for its ancillary services. Its expertise ranges from alternative energy and transportation to infrastructure and sports. James Newland continues to assist the International Monetary Fund with project administration and dispute management regarding the renovation of its headquarters, while Greenberg and Chicago-based Gregg Dorman are advising LAFC Sports on the $280m redevelopment of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, which includes demolishing the old arena and constructing a new 22,000-seater open-air stadium. Other work highlights included Farabow and New York-based Alison Ashford assisting OCI N.V. as owner and EPC contractor on the construction of a $1.8bn nitrogen fertilizer complex in Iowa and a $1bn methanol plant in Texas. David Blake (‘excellent in contract drafting on complex transactions’) is providing contractual advice to Center Place Holdings on a $1.25bn mixed-use development in Washington DC. Mark Johnson (‘practical as well as fully versed in the laws’) and David Mancini (‘working tirelessly to succeed’) are also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

The team at Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP, led by the Atlanta-based Robert Chambers, acts for large general contractors, specialty subcontractors, developers, design professionals and sureties in contentious and transactional matters. The firm’s clients include government agencies and Fortune 500 companies, most often within the energy, infrastructure and healthcare industries. The firm has attorneys trained in public procurement in a number of its US offices, and regularly advises on federal contracts. Highlights included defending a contractor against a differing site conditions claim, acting for a general contractor in arbitration proceedings, and managing multimillion-dollar claims arising from a major design-build contract. Daniel McLennon and Craig Wallace joined the San Francisco office following the firm’s merger with McLennon Law Corporation; while San Francisco-based Jay Houghton and Atlanta-based pair Joseph Dinardo and Harry Rippeon were promoted to partner. George Wenick, Eric Nelson and Brian Wolf are recommended; all three are based in Atlanta.

Jennifer Fletcher heads Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s practice out of New York and Atlanta. The group advises owners, contractors and sureties on every aspect of a project, from bids and bonds to drafting contracts to managing claims and closing troubled projects. Specializing in energy, both conventional and renewable, it has recently been advising general and mechanical contractors in Texas and Louisiana - although its client base also includes EPC contractors and parties engaged in PPP deals. In addition to energy, the team has experience in infrastructure, high-end residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and gaming developments. Recent highlights include representing the subsidiary of an international industrial manufacturer in a multimillion-dollar dispute with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The team garners praise for its ‘excellent’ appropriateness of advice and knowledge that ‘exceeds expectations’. Lee Davis, who splits his time between Atlanta and New York, and New York-based Lawrence Dany are recommended.

The construction department at Thompson Hine LLP is ‘quick to bring forth creative solutions’ to large owners, contractors and design professionals. It specializes in community impact projects (such as stadia and university facilities) and corporate headquarters. The group provides transactional and regulatory advice as well as advocacy and consultative services. ‘Seasoned veteran’ Jeffrey Appelbaum heads the practice from Cleveland; he continues to serve as project construction counsel on the development of the Golden State Warriors arena in San Francisco. A team led by Patrick Sweeney is advising BASF Corporation on project delivery systems, risk management issues and EPC contracts for the construction of a $2.5bn chemical processing facility on the Gulf Coast. Other highlights included advising the Forty Niners Stadium Company on the resolution of post-construction issues relating to the $1.2bn Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and handling transactional work related to the Cleveland Convention Center in Cuyahoga County. Heather Bartzi was made partner. Gabe Roehrenbeck was named general counsel of long-time firm client Kokosing Construction Company. All lawyers mentioned are based in Cleveland.

The ‘commercially oriented’ team at construction boutique Varela, Lee, Metz, & Guarino, LLP includes 12 ‘technically proficient and thorough’ partners who demonstrate ‘passion for the cases they work on’ and provide ‘the quality of service of a larger and more established firm.’ Paul Varela and Michael Suga obtained a highly favorable settlement for defendant CH2M HILL in multi-party federal court litigation seeking damages of more than $120m. Varela is also representing Gilbane Federal in a $15m international dispute arising out of a federal construction contract between the client and the US Navy in the Republic of Djibouti. Other highlights included representing a joint venture led by AECOM in $25m worth of disputes over the engineering and environmental evaluation of two of the first segments of the $68bn California high-speed rail project, and Chicago Bridge & Iron in a $120m dispute arising out of an explosion at Sinclair Oil’s hydrocracker complex in Wyoming. San Francisco-based Bennett Lee (‘exceptional intellect’, ‘practical problem-solving ability’) led on both of these. New clients include Dewberry Companies, Cahill Construction and Shermco. Other recommended attorneys are: Christopher Burke (‘an unyielding commitment to a successful outcome’) and Joe Guarino (‘thorough and aggressive advocate’, ‘wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of construction law’). All lawyers are based in Tysons Corner, Virginia except where otherwise stated.

Lewis Baker heads Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP’s 36-partner team from McLean, Virginia. The firm has a strong national presence, with six offices in the US; it also has an international footprint via its offices in Paris and Munich, which play an important part in the firm’s growing international arbitration practice. The group specializes in federal infrastructure, PPP and tunneling, and is particularly strong in relation to troubled projects, often representing general contractors, subcontractors, owners and sureties before federal and state courts, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, and in ICC and AAA arbitration. California-based David McPherson has been advising Kiewit Shea Desalination on transactional matters surrounding the $480m Carlsbad desalination project and on over $2m of claims against the project’s tunnel and boring subcontractor. Gregory Dukellis, also in California, is representing a Traylor-Shea joint venture in $60m worth of claims against San Diego County Water Authority relating to the construction of the San Vicente Emergency Pipeline. McLean-based Robert Barbour and Timothy Heffernan are leading a team representing FH Paschen, SN Nielsen & Associates in a $12m federal court lawsuit arising from a $37m high school construction in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Isaac. New client wins included Happ Builders, RWC Construction, Abeinsa and SK E&C.

The construction group at Akerman LLP is spread across five offices and chaired by Jeffrey Gilmore in Washington DC. It advises owners and developers on procurement and transactional work in relation to large government contracts as well as renewable energy, hospitality and infrastructure projects in the US, Middle East and Central and South America. The team has been advising Faena Group on the Faena District hospitality project and surrounding investments, totaling at $700m. On the contentious side, it represented Peabody Energy in disputes arising from the development, engineering, procurement and construction of a $3bn 1,600MW coal-fired power plant in Illinois. The LEED-accredited Stacy Bercun Bohm acts as Florida counsel to Barrick Gold and recently assisted the client negotiate a $3.8bn contract for the construction of a mine and related facilities in Chile and Argentina. Stephen Hurlbut continues to defend Ceco Concrete Construction against claims filed by its subcontractors arising from a $73m parking garages project.

The group at Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. is led by Steven Lesser and operates from offices in Fort Lauderdale, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington DC. The team specializes in construction litigation and arbitration, acting for national and international owners, developers, large-scale contractors and sureties. It has built an excellent reputation representing developers in complex delay and defect claims as well as advising them on compliance and regulatory matters. In a notable highlight, a team led by Lee Weintraub secured a $9.4m arbitration award for Interface Global Qatar WLL, following a defense against multimillion-dollar delay, contract administration and licensing claims arising from the construction of a US Air Force base in the Middle East. William Strop settled a multimillion-dollar claim against W.G. Yates over an allegedly defective pavement system at the Dames Point terminal in the Port of Jacksonville for 5% of its original value. Matthew Meyers is renowned for assisting condominium and homeowner associations in New Jersey. Clients also include DR Horton, the School Board of Broward County and Carnival Cruise Lines.

The construction law team at California-based Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP is chaired out of Oakland by James Wulfsberg, but also includes practitioners from the firm’s other offices. The team advises contractors, design builders, owners, developers, EPC contractors and major design professionals on projects across the West Coast and nationally. Skilled in dispute resolution, it represents clients in courts across the country, as well as in ICC arbitration proceedings; it also handles project delivery assistance, procurement and wider transactional work. Recent highlights include representing public owners, national developers and architectural firms in county, state, federal and Supreme Court proceedings. Richard Elder left and joined Lubin Olson & Niewiadomski LLP. Todd Wulfsberg was elected to the partnership.

Texas-based boutique Cokinos, Bosien & Young, chaired by renowned practitioner Gregory Cokinos, represents contractors and owners in commercial, retail, healthcare and petroleum projects. On behalf of Tenaris USA, a team led by John Grayson and Elizabeth Debaillon has been handling all EPC, design and construction contracts relating to, and litigation arising from, the construction of a $1bn coiled steel tube manufacturing plant in Bay City. The group has also been defending Midway Company against a $25m claim for delayed delivery of an apartment project. John Warren has been promoted to the partnership. Richard Flake and Stephanie O’Rourke are recommended. Jack Nichols left to open his own practice in Austin, The Law Office of Jack Quentin Nichols; Lauren Hornsby left to become an editor at Thomson Reuters.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s practice is chaired by Atlanta-based Robert Crewdson and Baltimore-based Anthony Meagher, and also has partners stationed in the firm’s offices in Chicago, Washington DC and elsewhere. Working predominantly on the owner’s side, the team advises on projects within the sports, gaming, hospitality, infrastructure, energy and industrial sectors, as well as on the renovation of educational facilities by local governments. A team led by Maxine Hicks continues to advise on all construction law aspects relating to the new Atlanta Braves stadium. The group is assisting Combined Properties with drafting and negotiating contracts related to a $200m mixed-use project in West Hollywood. Contentious work highlights included defending an affiliate of JBG Companies against claims for injunctive relief to prohibit $1bn worth of construction and renovation works at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington DC, and representing AvalonBay Communities in multi-party litigation arising from alleged construction defects and water intrusion at a residential complex on Long Island. Mark Grantham left the firm and later joined Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Lewis Conwell went to Conwell Business Law and Arthur Brannan went to Wargo French.

The practice heads at Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt are Glenn Turner and Richard Wittbrodt. Both are based in Los Angeles but the team also has construction experts in Las Vegas. The group specializes in prosecuting and defending delay, disruption and defect claims for clients operating in the public and private sectors. A team led by Wittbrodt successfully represented Lydig Construction in damages claims against a subcontractor involving scheduling impacts and cost overruns; the trial court’s decision to find in favor of the firm’s was upheld on appeal. Other work highlights included multi-party litigation valued at $75m concerning the $200m construction of healthcare facilities in California. Clients include Swinerton Builders, Rose Bowl Operating Company, AECOM and Layton Construction. Nathan O’Malley has years of experience working in continental Europe and is a go-to name for international construction arbitration. Marion Hack went to Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Led out of Pittsburgh by Richard Paciaroni, K&L Gates’ team has ‘tons of current real world experience in construction law’. The group leverages the firm’s offices across the US and abroad to advise on national and international matters, and is experienced in a range of sectors, including energy, transportation, commercial and residential. In addition to contract negotiation, insurance program reviews and claim management, the group has experience in nuanced areas such as cleantech projects and sustainable building certification. The team continues to assist various Skanska entities with transactional matters on projects worldwide, and has been retained by Griffith Company on multimillion-dollar litigation arising from the new Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX. Other work highlights included negotiating and drafting EPC agreements on behalf of VitAg for the construction of a $75m biosolids-to-fertilizer facility in Florida, and filing a $30m delay claim against a public agency on behalf of Taisei Corporation. Justin Weisberg and counsel Raymond Krauze joined from Arnstein & Lehr LLP. Timothy Pierce and Christopher Barbarisi are recommended.

Although largely based in Chicago, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team benefits from the firm’s broad office network when handling national and international mandates. The team handles pre-litigation counseling as well as high-stakes construction, EPC contract and engineering disputes. Although its sweet spot is in the petroleum industry, it also manages claims related to retail and residential projects, high rises and civil infrastructure. Michael Slade continues to lead a team defending Boeing against alleged defective design, breach of contract and indemnification claims arising from the construction of Saipan International Airport. The team acted for an ExxonMobil affiliate in a $78m dispute over alleged botched designs for an offshore drilling platform. It continues to represent Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as a respondent to a Rule 224 Petition in Illinois State Court regarding multi-party defect claims related to the cladding and fireproofing of a bank building in Springfield, Illinois. Elizabeth Hess and of counsel James Nowacki are recommended.

Operating from a single office in Florida, Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP’s ‘breadth of significant experience’ enables it to routinely manage national and cross-border work. Led by ‘exceptional advocate’ and ‘strategic thinker’ James Moye, the firm ‘sets itself apart based on its industry knowledge, strategic approach to legal issues, disciplined execution and consistent delivery of service’. The ‘pragmatic’ Sean Dillon and Brian Heald ‘work hard and get into details’, and Stephen Pickert is a ‘strong litigator and aggressive advocate’. The team specializes in PPP, public sector and heavy civil projects, acting for national and international contractors, joint ventures, design builders and subcontractors on transactional and contentious matters. Recent work includes Pickert drafting and negotiating several multimillion-dollar construction contracts for high rises in downtown Miami. On the contentious side, Moye, Dillon and Heald are part of a team representing the design builder in pending arbitration with a potential value of $400m arising from the I-504 Sepulveda Pass widening project in California, and Moye is acting for a subcontractor in arbitration related to a $1.05bn mixed-use development project in Miami.

Pepper Hamilton LLP’s practice is chaired out of Philadelphia by Michael Subak. The team advises the world’s largest contractors and developers on contentious and transactional matters, demonstrating ‘great knowledge of the industry’ as well as ‘risk mitigation and management’ expertise. It specializes in high-end and high-rise residential developments and industrial infrastructure and energy projects, particularly power and water plants. A team led by New York-based Ira Schulman has been advising Sciame Construction on the preparation and negotiation of numerous contracts for the $325m Culture Shed, part of the Hudson Yards development. The firm is also representing MasTec subsidiaries T&D Power and Precision Pipeline in separate federal court cases with a combined amount at issue exceeding $60m. The ‘super responsive and proactive’ James Hollyday in Philadelphia is ‘very strong in contract negotiations’. Pittsburgh-based Ralph Finizio is praised for providing ‘sound counsel’ and mentoring the future generation of ‘solid attorneys’. Joyce Hackenbrach left to open her own practice. Marion Hack joined the Los Angeles office from Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt, while Albert Bates, the former practice head at Duane Morris LLP, joined the firm's Pittsburgh office Ted Gropman in California is also recommended. Since publication, Bruce Ficken and Raymond DeLuca have joined Cozen O'Connor .

The 21-partner practice at Reed Smith LLP is chaired by Thomas Folk and Michael Dingman, who are based in Falls Church, Northern Virginia. The team has expertise in the energy sector as well as in retail, residential, commercial and industrial projects. It advises owners, developers, contractors and government agencies on procurement, risk management, dispute resolution and contracts from inception to completion; a niche is handling defect claims made by homeowners’ associations. Folk is representing long-time client the Loudoun County School Board in responding to claims regarding various projects totaling $5m. Other highlights for Folk included advising Chefs’ Warehouse on design-build documents for a $50m national warehouse expansion program, and successfully defending developer Steven B Sandler against a $35m claim for the return of a deposit. Clients also include JBG Construction, Bechtel, Lincoln Property Group and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Joseph Luchini has retired. Houston-based Lee Haag is recommended.

Harold Hamersmith and Scott Hennigh co-chair the 18-partner practice at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP out of Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively. The team, which attracts praise for its ‘deep knowledge base’ and ability to ‘deliver under tight timelines and budgets’, has been representing one of the largest public utilities in the US in a multibillion-dollar international arbitration arising out of a premature permanent shutdown of a nuclear power plant; San Diego-based John Yacovelle is leading on that. Elsewhere, Hamersmith and Washington DC-based Hwan Kim are representing Samsung Engineering in an international arbitration arising from the multibillion-dollar modernization of the Sohar Refinery in Oman. Non-contentious highlights included drafting and negotiating EPC contracts for the $500m development and construction of solar projects in six states; Meredith Jones-McKeown in San Francisco led on that. Candace Matson, who has expertise in defect claims and mechanic’s lien litigation, is recommended.

Stein Ray LLP’s nine-partner practice is led by Steven Stein in Chicago. The team specializes in representing EPC contractors, lenders and design professionals in relation to the energy and extraction sectors, resolving disputes related to oil transmission, refining, power generation and power distribution projects. The team handles domestic and cross-border disputes; as an example, a team of Stein, Stephen Ray and Peter Bedard has been defending an international mining consortium against $1bn worth of claims related to a nickel mining and mineral processing facility in Madagascar. Other highlights included Stein and Charles Wahtola advising a national engineering firm on disputes arising from a freeway extension in Seattle, and Stein and Bedard defending an EPC firm against claims totaling $1bn arising from a mining and process plant in Newfoundland.

Houston-based litigator Ferguson McNiel heads the practice at Vinson & Elkins LLP, which specializes in complex public and private energy and infrastructure projects in the US and abroad. It provides assistance at every stage of construction, from pre-contractual negotiations to post-completion disputes. A team led by Mark Brazzil has been advising Noble Energy as the operator on the $6bn Leviathan natural gas development off the coast of Israel. Kaam Sahely and New York-based Karen Smith have been acting for Gulf Coast Ammonia, a joint venture of Agrifos and Borealis, on the transactional aspects of the construction of a $1bn ammonia production facility in Texas. Sahely led a team handling the transactional matters surrounding the development of a crude oil unloading terminal in Illinois for CenterPoint Properties. Other work highlights included representing Panama Canal Authority in arbitration and litigation, and assisting SemGroup in connection with the $500m planned construction of the Maurepas pipelines system.

The team of ten partners at Allensworth & Porter has been based in Austin since the firm was established by William Allensworth over 20 years ago. Its client base is largely made up of contractors, specialty contractors and design professionals, but it also advises insurers and owners; notable clients include Kerrville Public Utility Board, Travelers Insurance and Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. The team has been particularly active in the technology industry of late - a response to the growing hi-tech market on the Gulf Coast. Joe Basham, the firm’s new managing partner, has been serving as lead counsel to Pecos County in multi-party design and construction defect litigation worth $5m. Newly made partner Amy Emerson has been representing Innovative Process Design & Controls in a $22m dispute arising from the construction of a wood pellet plant in Texas. She is also representing the City of Kerrville in a $42m dispute. In a non-contentious highlight, the firm has been advising Schlosser Development on a mixed-use project in Austin. Travis Brown is another name to note.

The eight-partner group at Arent Fox LLP is led out of New York by Mark Bloom and Andrew Ross. It acts for owners, developers, design professionals and contractors, and has expertise in front-end project contracts, transactions, regulatory work and litigation, including delay and defect claims. The group has been advising Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority in connection with the demolition and reconstruction of the Paul E Joseph Stadium and Sports Complex in St Croix. It is also handling several upgrade projects for Ronald McDonald House of New York, and was retained by Rose Associates as transactional and dispute resolution counsel on new and renovated high-rise multi-family projects in New York. Demonstrating its position as a counsel of choice for design professionals in the vibrant New York City market, the firm has also recently acted for Roman and Williams and STUDIOS Architecture.

Denver-based Laurin Quiat leads Baker & Hostetler LLP’s team, which has a background in government procurement and mainly assists sureties and general contractors working for US government agencies. It represents clients in state and federal courts on defect and delay claims in sectors ranging from traditional and renewable energy to road construction and manufacturing facilities. Robert Thielhelm is leading the defense of Siemens Energy in a multimillion-dollar civil action arising from the construction and assembly of a natural gas electricity generating unit in Texas. On behalf of Schuff Steel-Atlantic, Denis Durkin and Michael Vitale filed an $8.5m payment bond claim against the general contractor and its bond surety for unpaid amounts due for the construction of a shopping center in Sarasota. The pair have also been defending David Boland, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America in two consolidated federal Miller Act actions brought by a subcontractor in Louisiana seeking damages exceeding $20m. Brian Blair is also recommended. All attorneys are based in Orlando except where stated otherwise.

The Texas-based team at Bracewell LLP is a ‘solid partner’ that ‘handles difficult situations with professionalism’, and works mostly with owners, product manufacturers and design professionals. It specializes in construction defect claims and claims asserted under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, but it also has a strong transactional practice in contract drafting and negotiation. A team led by Austin-based Stephen Benesh has been representing Core Logistic Services in five cases in Texas relating to road improvements by Core and its subcontractors with a combined value of $10m; and a team led by Houston-based Richard Whiteley is representing Radler Enterprises, pre-litigation, in delay, defect and abandonment claims of over $1m arising from a $30m office development. In a non-contentious highlight, the team advised Texas Medical Center on the development of a $1.5bn translational research facility. The ‘dedicated, professional and knowledgeable’ Brian Mitchell in Dallas has ‘a sense of purpose to serve and achieve results’. Houston-based Phillip Sampson and Aaron Roffwarg are other names to note.

Jack Rosati heads the practice at Ohio-based Bricker & Eckler LLP. The team acts for major developers in public projects as well as for public and private owners. It is experienced handling procurement for design builders and advising on alternative project delivery models. Sylvia Lynn Gillis and Christopher McCloskey have been assisting Delaware City School District with procurement and construction matters related to a $50m district-wide capital improvement program. The group’s strength in transactional work is complemented by a solid disputes practice, which covers defect and delay claims, surety claims and insurance coverage issues. On behalf of Miller Bros. Construction, a team led by Doug Shevelow has been prosecuting a $1.7m hindrance, disruption, delay and interference lawsuit against the Ohio Turnpike Commission. Mark Evans led a team which assisted the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati complete an award-winning $8.5m design-build project. Rosati and Gillis continue to handle transactional work surrounding a $74m health center project for the MetroHealth System. Benjamin Hyden was made partner in the Cincinnati-Dayton office.

The 13-partner practice at Coats Rose, P.C. is led by Patrick Gaas in Houston. The team has expertise in transactional and contentious work, including public procurement, contract drafting, negotiation and claim management for large EPC contractors, developers and home builders. Daniel Lund, operating from the recently expanded New Orleans office, successfully defended Hunt, Gibbs, Boh, Metro joint venture against a bid protest relating to the construction of a new $546m terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Houston-based Ian Faria has been representing Ferrovial Agroman in a bid protest arising from a design-build contract for the $500m Bergstrom Expressway project in Austin. The team is also defending Trinity Infrastructure against claims by more than 120 homeowners alleging structural damage arising from a $2.2bn PPP highway expansion project. Non-contentious highlights included assisting West Harris County and North Fort Bend water authorities with the construction of a $1bn-plus water purification facility, and advising the City of Houston on the $1.3bn Mickey Leland International Terminal development program.

The practice at Dorsey & Whitney LLP is led by Minneapolis-based Jocelyn Knoll. Working with owners, developers, agencies, sureties and contractors, the team of 30 partners provides support at every stage of a project, from contract negotiation to dispute resolution. Knoll is leading a team representing Environmental Interiors in multimillion-dollar litigation in California arising from the construction of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. She is also the key figure advising Norway-based Aker Solutions and Kvaerner on the construction of biotech plants, marine oil platforms, liquefied natural gas and heavy industrial facilities, and the firm continues to represent Kvaerner North American Construction in a major dispute related to the construction of a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. Work highlights also included managing parking and residential projects worth more than $10m for the North Dakotan city of Minot, and representing a national contractor in a $3m-plus claim regarding the construction of Nike’s flagship store in San Francisco. Eric Ruzicka is recommended.

San Francisco-based Howard Ashcraft is a ‘thought leader on integrated project delivery’ and leads the practice at Hanson Bridgett LLP. The ‘large array of practitioners provide a holistic view of possible solutions’ to public and private owners, general contractors, specialty subcontractors and design professionals. The team regularly advises on commercial and industrial projects, and has a solid reputation in collaborative contracting and alternative project delivery solutions, including BIM, IPD, PPP and Lean Construction. Its clients include Kiewit Infrastructure West Co and Pacific Gas and Electric, and recently the group was retained by Advocate Health Care to create a new suite of standard contractual forms. Lisa Dal Gallo is ‘creative in challenging legal situations’ and has a ‘thorough understanding of construction from all vantage points’. Joseph Moore joined the San Francisco office from Clyde & Co LLP. Robert O’Connor and Sean-Thomas Thompson departed to open their own practice, O’Connor Thompson McDonough Klotsche LLP.

The team at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is led by Washington DC-based Scott Morrison, who ‘gets results’. It guides owners, developers, design professionals and project sponsors through every stage of a project - from inception to completion to post-completion claims - and specializes in commercial, mixed-use, hospitality, retail and entertainment projects within the private sector. The team provides counsel on disputes ranging from tortious interference to business expectancy and Condominium Act claims. It has expertise in environmental issues relating to construction and works closely with the firm’s real estate department. Work highlights included managing multimillion-dollar delay and acceleration claims, mediating disputes with general contractors and representing a developer in litigation arising from the White Flint Mall redevelopment in Maryland. Nicole Lynn Kobrine is another name to note.

The ‘very knowledgeable and easy-to-work-withJoanna Horsnail leads the 27-partner practice at Mayer Brown out of Chicago. The ‘client-friendly’ group garners praise for its ‘very good sense of the current market’ and assists mainly public and private owners and developers on large infrastructure projects. The group handles domestic and cross-border transactions, providing expertise on matters from alternative project delivery to procurement. A team led by Horsnail and Joseph Seliga continues to handle bidding, procurement and negotiation matters on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation in relation to several PPP highway projects in Texas. The group, including James Tancula, has also been retained by Benteler International to assist with the transactional aspects of the construction of a $900m hot rolling steel mill in Louisiana, including EPC agreements and site diligence. Other highlights included managing contractual work and procurement documentation for Bristol-Myers Squib for the construction of a $900m biologics manufacturing facility in Ireland. Clients also include United Airlines, Acciona Energy North America and City Colleges of Chicago. The ‘intelligent and diligentNathan Galer is recommended.

The team at McCarter & English, LLP is led by Sarah Biser and consists of seven partners based across the firm’s New York, Newark, Boston and Philadelphia offices. It advises owners, developers, construction managers, design professionals, general and EPC contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in the transactional and contentious matters that arise at every stage of a project. It has experience in projects ranging from museums to solar energy and hydroelectric power plants. LEED-accredited Mary Jane Augustine is assisting RBH Group Teachers Village with the transactional aspects of an award-winning redevelopment project in Newark. Other clients include the Israel Institute of Technology, Power Authority of the State of New York, Edison Properties, United States Mineral Corporation, Steven Holl Architects and MetLife Stadium Company.

Providence-based Jeffrey Brenner leads the six-partner practice at Nixon Peabody LLP. The team acts primarily for owners and developers, but also for EPC contractors, particularly within the healthcare, energy, sports and infrastructure sectors. It has expertise in PPP projects, decommissioning coal-fired power plants and social impact renovations. San Francisco-based Anthony Barron and Matthew Richards have been representing the University of California in a delay and defect lawsuit arising out of the design and construction of a $50m-plus commons project at the Riverside campus. The pair have also been seeking $40m in damages for the University of California in breach of contract and negligence claims relating to engineering work conducted at the Mission Bay campus. Elsewhere, Rochester-based Bruce Baker and Darren Miller have been advising Rochester Gas and Electric on the demolition of two coal-fired power plants. Other clients include University of Rochester and DL Falk Construction. Counsel John Foust joined the firm from Jones Day.

Co-chaired by the Baltimore-based Joseph Kovars and John Morkan, the group at Ober Kaler focuses mainly on dispute resolution, acting for public and private owners, large contractors and sureties in claims arising from commercial, healthcare, infrastructure, transportation and power generation projects. On the transactional side, it has experience in procurement in relation to local, state and federal government contracts, and it also it handles compliance with sustainable building certification standards. A team led by John Wolf has been representing Parsons Brinckerhoff in a seven-party dispute involving multiple claims, cross-claims and third-party claims arising from alleged design and construction errors and mismanagement by the project owner. Other highlights included securing a nearly $1.6m arbitration panel award on behalf of Penthouse 4C and James W Ancel pertaining to a dispute over inaccuracies in the condominium resale certificate. Paul Sugar is recommended. Barbara Werther left for Sedgwick LLP.

The seven-partner practice at Porter Hedges LLP is led from Houston by David Peden. It specializes in dispute resolution, representing contractors, developers and owners on delay and defect claims arising from public infrastructure and energy projects. The group has been representing Allco Construction in a dispute over sovereign immunity and insurance coverage issues arising from the construction of a fish hatchery in Texas. Allison Snyder is serving as local counsel to Dresser-Rand in a $5m claim filed by a freight forwarding supplier; she has also been acting for Durotech in numerous disputes, including alleged defective design claims surrounding the construction of a mosque in Houston. Other highlights included defending Hellmuth Obata and Kassabaum against alleged defect claims in multi-party litigation related to the development of various university facilities. Nicholas Simms and John Hawkins are recommended.

Vedder Price’s team includes 13 partners based in California, Illinois and the DC area. Led by Chicago-based Richard Pearse, the team advises developers, contractors, subcontractors, EPC contractors, manufacturers, design builders, lenders and owners in, among other things, procurement for power plants and chemical manufacturing facilities. It has a footprint in civil construction, advising on the construction of offices, schools, courthouses and retail developments. The group represents clients in state and federal court litigation as well as providing expertise in alternative dispute resolution, and includes a number of licensed AAA arbitrators. Highlights included Pearse advising Invenergy Nelson on closing out subcontracts and clearing mechanics’ liens relating to the 584MW Nelson Energy Center in Illinois. A team led by Scott Olson is representing a court-appointed receiver of an insulation contractor in multi-party litigation arising from the construction of the Santa Monica Orthopedic Hospital. Other key clients include Mammoet USA, Deka International and Zero Waste Energy.

New York boutique Zetlin & De Chiara LLP is managed by Michael Vardaro and includes 12 partners spread across offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The ‘very responsive’ team, including Michael Zetlin and Raymond Mellon, keeps clients ‘out of disagreements’, drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the field. The firm manages transactions and disputes for developers and serves as general counsel to professional associations, architects and engineers. Devoted to innovation, and present in the public and private sectors, the group has expertise in project labor agreements and alternative project delivery methods, including PPP and BIM. It advises on educational and commercial projects, as well as on the construction of biomass fuel plants, corporate headquarters and road infrastructure. Michael DeChiara successfully defended an engineering services company against a multimillion-dollar defect claim. Carol Patterson, who has an excellent track record negotiating architectural services agreements, is another name to note. Clients include Dermot Company, Columbia University, Madison Square Garden and FXFOWLE Architects.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

The Legal 500 United States - Events

GC Powerlist -
United States

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to