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

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Construction (including construction litigation)
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Alison Ashford - Seyfarth Shaw LLP
    • Heather Bartzi - Thompson Hine LLP
    • Jason Boffey - Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP
    • Jessica Singh - Duane Morris LLP
    • Gunjan Talati - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Who Represents Who

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Jones Day’s construction team has an excellent reputation in national and international construction matters. The firm’s client base covers both owners and contractors, including global developers, and the team handles transactional as well as disputes matters. In 2016, in what was an active year for major infrastructure and energy disputes, San Francisco-based Daniel McMilan acted for the joint venture between Kiewit Infrastructure and Flatiron West in a high-profile dispute surrounding the complex rebuilding of the Golden Gate Bridge through a public-private partnership (PPP) structure. On the owner side, Washington attorneys Andrew Ness and Kevin O’Brien and Atlanta-based Joseph Finley represented Georgia Power Company in a $1.5bn dispute surrounding the construction of a nuclear plant; this case was successfully closed in December 2015. Other important clients include Bechtel Power, Chevron and Sempra Energy. San Francisco-based Stephen O’Neal is another highly respected construction lawyer. In February 2017, David Buoncristiani moved to Hanson Bridgett LLP.

An ‘exceptional firm’, King & Spalding LLPgets results’, with its ‘technical knowledge proving an immense advantage’. The group is primarily based across various offices in Texas and accordingly focuses on energy and infrastructure projects, with the vast majority of the client base consisting of large multinational energy owners; these include Jordan Cove LNG, and major Middle Eastern and South American energy companies. Although centered in Texas, the team works on matters across the globe; the ‘trustworthy and results-orientated’ Angus McFadden is based in Houston and is currently leading the team in its advice to Chinese petrochemical group Yuhuang Chemical on the construction of a world-scale methanol plant in Louisiana. As a result of the commodities price drop, the team is also handling several large pieces of litigation. These include the successful representation of KBR in relation to the rescission of a major construction contract with Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company, concerning offshore oil platforms. Scott Greer and David Strickland are also highly regarded construction attorneys. David Kiefer joined the firm’s New York office in February 2016 from Dentons; other named lawyers are based in Houston.

Peckar & Abramson, P.C.’s outstanding reputation is founded on its ‘excellent response times, business acumen and highly capable team’. With over 100 construction lawyers, the specialist firm has one the largest practices in the country. Founding partner Robert Peckar has ‘superb industry knowledge’ and chairman Steven Charneyalways provides solid advice’. Recent work for the firm has focused on infrastructure projects, where the group primarily advises well-known global contractors on the construction of billion-dollar bridges, tunnels and roads. The geographical focus of the practice is in major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington DC. Other projects also include stadia, airport redevelopments and university campuses. On the disputes front, the group, led by Gregory Chertoff, represented one of the largest building contractors in the US in an arbitration surrounding the design and build of a university dormitory; the firm successfully secured a $6.8m award. On the West Coast, Los Angeles-based Joseph Sestay is acing for a national general contractor in a court litigation and AAA arbitration proceedings concerning a manufacturing facility for a multinational technology company. The group’s reputation also extends to international cases, including representing contractors in various claims in Australia, South America and Africa. Unless otherwise stated, named lawyers are based in New York. Other key offices for the firm include Miami, Washington DC and Houston.

Led by John Haug, Dentons is noted for its experience in real estate projects and, in more recent times, energy and infrastructure projects, which sees it working on multibillion-dollar developments across the country. The firm’s broad client base includes both owners and contractors, and encompasses litigation and the negotiating of contracts. US real estate developer McCormack Baron Salazar is a key client on the transactional side and, in 2016, the team represented it on numerous real estate developments. San Diego-based Mark Budwig is the main contact for construction litigation and government contracts, in which a standout piece of litigation has been the ongoing representation of San Diego Water Authority in a dispute surrounding delays on the San Vicente Dam raise project; claims are currently in excess of $50m. Other clients include Central Valley Gas Storage, LS Power Development and Granite Construction Company.

Duane Morris LLP’s nationwide construction presence is headed from New York by the highly reputable Mark Canizio. The group acts for owners, including major real estate developers and universities, as well as design professionals and contractors. The team often works with clients from front-end work to resulting litigation. Kenneth Lazaruk, also in New York, is well known for his transactional abilities and has continued to lead the team in its advice to major real estate developer the Related Companies in their activities on the Hudson Yards project in New York. On the disputes side, Canizio and government contracts expert Oliver Holmes have acted in numerous multimillion-dollar disputes. Most notably, San Francisco-based Holmes represented architecture and design firm Perkins+Will in a dispute with UCLA surrounding the construction of a billion-dollar research and teaching hospital. Other notable clients include John Russo Industrial Sheetmetal, Columbia University and Macklowe Properties. Albert Bates left the firm for Pepper Hamilton LLP in April 2016.

The construction team at newly merged Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP has ‘first-rate knowledge and an ability to get to the bottom line with cost-effective solutions‘. Led by Atlanta attorney Jennifer Fletcher, the construction group chiefly operates out of the firm’s New York and Atlanta offices, but its work extends across the country and encompasses numerous projects in the Southeastern United States. The team acts for the full range of clients, including real estate developers, manufacturing companies and top US contractors, particularly dealing with projects in the real estate sector. Dispute resolution forms the bulk of the practice and, in a standout matter, the group represented a global leader in industrial and systems manufacturing in a multibillion-dollar dispute with a state authority concerning large-scale environmental systems. Another highlight was representing a real estate developer in a dispute with a general contractor and product manufacturer over the construction of a high-rise tower in Midtown Atlanta. Lawrence Dany in New York and Lee Davis, who splits his time between Atlanta and New York, are other key names to note.

The seven-partner construction team at Farella Braun + Martel LLP is best known for its expertise in energy and infrastructure projects and, in 2016, represented owners, developers, contractors and design professionals in a wide range of projects, from dams, power plants and renewable energy to high-speed rail. The group is headed from San Francisco by Richard Van Duzer but is active across the entire west of the country. A standout piece of work in 2016 was the firm’s continuing advice to the City of Los Angeles on the $15bn redevelopment of LAX; this was led by transactional construction attorney Jeffrey Sykes. On the litigation front, Deborah Ballati led the defense of $7bn worth of claims against Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems surrounding the closure and decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Station. Other clients include multinational architecture and engineering firm Kleinfelder and energy developers First Solar and NaturEner. All lawyers are based in San Francisco.

Led by Jeffrey Blease, who splits his time between Boston and San Francisco, the team at Foley & Lardner LLP provides ‘the highest-level service; its advice is consistently in line with company culture and strategic objectives’. The group, which is based across Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Boston, San Francisco and Jacksonville, concentrates on large commercial, infrastructure and power projects across the country. Well versed in representing both owners and developers, it advises on a broad range of projects, which in 2016 included nuclear plants, refineries, data centers and cathedrals. The team had a particularly busy year on the disputes front and a highlight was acting in multiparty arbitration concerning the construction of a data center. Other clients include electrical provider Westinghouse, energy company Du Pont and real estate developer Lennar Homes. The group was strengthened with the additions of Orlando partner Kimberly Ashby from Akerman LLP and Miami-based of counsel Ralf Rodriguez from Peckar & Abramson, P.C..

Greenberg Traurig LLP is ‘highly thought of for litigation as well as its transactional practice’. Practice co-heads Robert Epstein and David Jensen are ‘exceptional construction lawyers who are always looking for the best result’. Based largely out of New Jersey, but with a national practice, the team represents private and public owners in front-end negotiations, and acts for a range of clients in litigation, including Troy Construction and real estate investment trust American Realty Capital. Currently, Epstein and the team are advising Triple Five, a US development and finance company, in its $2.6bn redevelopment of the Xanadu site in New Jersey into an amusement, retail and recreation complex. Tetra Tech is a key client on the disputes front and Houston attorney Michael Burnett and others are representing the consultancy company in a dispute with the government concerning the Army Aviation Support Facility in Maryland; claims are currently standing at $1.2m. Washington DC-based Robert Brams leads on government construction contracts.

Holland & Knight LLP’s construction team is led by established practitioner Stephen Shapiro, who splits his time between Washington DC and New York. The team is well known for acting on PPPs, representing both public entities and contractors. Infrastructure projects are a notable area for the firm and, in 2016, standout projects included roads, tunnels and rail networks, as well as educational facilities. A major client has been an EPC joint venture, which has bought together three well-known industrial and infrastructure contractors for the construction of a multibillion-dollar energy plant in the south of the country. Other clients include Skanska, Kiewit and New York University. Key contacts in the group include Boston attorney Deborah Griffin and New York-based Frederick Rohn.

Jones Walker LLP focuses on representing some of the country’s largest owners and contractors in major infrastructure projects across the country, as well as internationally. The construction team is mainly based across the firm’s offices in the south and southeast, including in Atlanta, New Orleans and Houston, and in the past year has worked on the front-end negations for billion-dollar manufacturing plants, ports, rail and stadia projects. A particular highlight in 2016 was working with a multinational EPC contractor on contractual negotiations for the construction of a $2bn smelter in Southeast Asia, which also included extensions to the surrounding infrastructure; co-head Chad Theriot led the team and is based in Atlanta. Voestalpine Texas, an iron and steel forging manufacturer, was an important client in 2016; on behalf of Voestalpine, the team negotiated contracts for a new iron plant in Corpus Cristi. Although best known for its transactional infrastructure practice, the team also handles disputes, and has been advising a specialist ship constructor on multibillion-dollar litigation concerning delays and design changes in government contracts. New Orleans-based Richard Tyler also co-heads the practice. Other key partners are Atlanta’s Joseph Henner and Houston’s Stephen Miller, as well as recent addition Neal Sweeney, who joined in Atlanta from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s construction practice is ‘one of the best out there’. Atlanta-based Randall Hafer leads the 14-partner team, which is best known for its work on behalf of public owners on mega infrastructure projects and redevelopments, mainly acting in major disputes; clients in 2016 included quasi-public entity URS Corporation as well as state transportation departments. A recent highlight on the owner side involved representing a state authority in a dispute arising out of the construction of a highway, which involved both litigation and arbitration proceedings, with billion-dollar claims in dispute. The group also acts on an international basis, mostly frequently for US EPC contractors, recently litigating high-value and complex claims concerning South America, Eastern Europe and China. Other clients are mechanical contractor Welch and Rushe, and Granite Construction. Atlanta attorneys Brian Corgan and Lee Mann are also recommended. Neal Sweeney moved to Jones Walker LLP in January 2016.

Infrastructure and energy projects are a key focus for the team at Pepper Hamilton LLP, which is renowned for its litigation expertise. It is noted for its contractor client base, which includes the likes of Bechtel, Sciame Construction and Aecom. Philadelphia-based Michael Subak chairs the practice, which includes 14 other partners spread across the firm’s offices in New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Detroit. Bechtel retains the firm for a range of matters, and recently the group represented the client in the settlement of an eight-year dispute surrounding a multimillion-dollar coal-fired power plant, which was heard in the Supreme Court of Ohio. Other clients include specialty infrastructure contractors MasTec and Midasco, on behalf of which the team has been advising on billion-dollar highway and rail disputes. Sean McNally joined in July 2016 from Kotz Sangster Wysocki P.C. and now leads the Detroit team. Albert Bates joined the firm in April 2016; formerly he chaired the construction group at Duane Morris LLP. Pittsburgh-based Ralph Finizio is also a notable figure in the team. Bruce Ficken and Raymond DeLuca were part of a team that joined Cozen O‘Connor.

The construction team at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is led by Washington DC-based Jeffrey Gans and Melissa Lesmes as well as San Francisco-based John Heisse. Concentrating on dispute resolution in the infrastructure and energy spheres, the firm represents both owners and contractors; recent clients include the Walsh Austin joint venture, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the University of Kansas. A highlight is the team’s ongoing representation of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a $7bn ICC arbitration concerning alleged defects in steam generators at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in San Diego; energy and power disputes are key areas of expertise. In another notable dispute, Gans is leading the representation of New York University in claims against Turner Construction for breach of contract and negligence regarding the NYU Langone Medical Center; claims currently stand at $1.4bn. Other disputes center on the construction of hospitals, airports and residential projects.

Schiff Hardin LLP is home to ‘problem-solving lawyers and zealous advocates’. Led by Chicago attorney Kenneth Roberts, the 14-partner group acts primarily for owners within the energy sector, both private and public, representing them in contractual negotiations and in disputes. Although primarily based in Chicago, the group has a considerable presence in New York. An important client is public utility company Alliant Energy, which retains the firm for a range of construction matters; these include advising on the development and contract negotiations for a $3.5bn retrofit program, as well as gas plant construction and numerous other plant upgrades across several states. On the disputes front, the group represents the facilities construction and finance authority Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in defending claims made by subcontractor Skanska and two other subcontractors concerning the construction of the $600m Advanced Science Research Center for The City University of New York. Other clients include Kansas City Power & Light and Equity Residential. Frank Wagner retired from practice in February 2016 and New York-based Peter Kiernan took on a greater role in the department.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is led by the highly reputable Bennett Greenberg and Sara Beiro Farabow, who are both based in Washington DC. From its Washington base, the group handles matters throughout the country, with 13 partners spread across offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. The team is best known for litigating on major public projects but also advises on front-end negotiations in private and public projects spanning energy, commercial real estate, airports and stadia. The group’s ongoing advice to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority in the contractual negotiations for the construction of the $4.5bn San Francisco transit center is testament to its expertise. Other highlights included advising OCI NV on a $2.8bn natural gas projects and acting for real estate developer Center Place Holdings on a $1.25bn mixed-use development in Washington DC; David Blake led the advice. On the disputes front, the group continues to advise IMF on claims from design professionals concerning the construction of a new $400m headquarters in Washington DC.

Managing partner Robert Chambers leads the practice at Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP from Atlanta, which is active across the country and has offices in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington DC. The group’s primary expertise lies in representing contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in high-value disputes regarding energy, infrastructure and real estate projects, however it has seen a recent uptick in advising owners in PPP developments. Energy and infrastructure projects were particularly busy areas in 2016 and the team was retained to work on multimillion-dollar disputes surrounding the construction of nuclear power and waste water plants. Another standout piece of litigation was representing a Californian joint venture contractor in arbitration concerning delay and extra work claims amounting to $27m; Atlanta-based Eric Nelson led the advice. In January 2016, the firm merged with San Francisco’s McLennon Law Corporation, expanding the team by two new partners: Daniel McLennon and Craig Wallace.

The ‘flexible and innovativeThompson Hine LLP brings a ‘remarkably high level of skill, experience and performance’. ‘Excellent communicator’ and practice head Jeffrey Applebaum, who is primarily based in Cleveland, has a reputation for ‘working towards positive outcomes’. The firm has a track record in public projects in social infrastructure and real estate, including PPPs, and has worked on major stadium, university and research center constructions. In 2016, it continued in this vein, working on projects in San Francisco, St Louis and Cleveland. The focus historically has been contentious work, but the firm has recently been handling a increasing amount of transactional and front-end work; a standout example was representing the County of Cuyahoga, as project counsel, regarding the construction of the $741m Hilton Cleveland Downtown convention center. Another key client is the Golden State Warriors, which the group advises on the construction of its high-value sports and entertainment complex in Mission Bay, San Francisco. Other project advice in 2016 included chemical plants, manufacturing facilities and mixed-use developments. Alan Ritchie and Patrick Sweeney, both based in Cleveland, are also recommended.

Highly capable’ boutique construction firm Varela, Lee, Metz, & Guarino, LLP is hailed for its ‘business-minded, practical and experienced lawyers’ and its ‘successful litigators, who are very cost effective’. Known for handling ‘bet-the-company’ litigation, the firm also handles an increasing amount of transactional work. The group principally acts for large, general contractors in complex public energy projects, but has also represented owners; as an example, it represents the receiver managers for the $3.5bn Baha Mar project, which was placed into formal bankruptcy in June 2015; in this instance, the firm was negotiating new construction contracts and is now waiting for construction to begin in early 2018. On the contractor side, Metz led advice to prime contractors Hensel Phelps Construction in a dispute over the services provided by Truland Systems for the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington DC. Other clients include Kiewit Infrastructure, Aecom and Skanska. The founding partners are all construction specialists: those are Paul Varela, Todd Metz, Joseph Guarino in Tysons Corner and Bennett Lee, who heads the San Francisco office.

Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP has a longstanding reputation as one of the top specialist construction firms in the country. The group is headed by Lewis Baker from the office in McLean, Virginia, but the group also has offices in Las Vegas, Irvine, Seattle, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Principally working in the infrastructure and energy sectors, the bulk of the firm’s clients consist of large general contractors, such as Kiewit Construction, Fluor and Salini Impregilo. Highlights in 2016 included bringing an end to an eight-year false claims dispute between the government and an engineering and construction company; this was successfully closed in late 2016. Another standout piece of work was representing the Traylor-Shea contractor joint venture in a dispute surrounding site conditions on the construction of a $198m project to build a fresh water pipeline serving San Diego County. Other major disputes in 2016 concerned metro construction, power plants, roads and school reconstructions. Gregory Dukellis moved to an in-house position at Shimmick Construction in May 2016.

Akerman LLP has a broad practice covering the real estate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with recent matters including power plant, housing and transport system projects. The ten-partner team is headed by Jeffrey Gilmore in Washington DC and represents both owners and developers; however, there has been a shift in the practice towards owner representations, particularly in relation to multimillion-dollar public infrastructure and energy disputes. A standout case for the team was defending the developer of the New England biomass power generation project against claims in excess of $70m from the EPC contractor; the group secured the complete dismissal of the claims. The team also has an international client base and acted for Italian contractor Rizzani de Eccher in contractual and claims matters relating to the construction of the Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, a project valued at $2bn. Other key clients include luxury hotel group the Faena Group; Stacy Bercun Bohm in Fort Lauderdale has been the lead partner in these matters.

The national construction practice at Baker & Hostetler LLP is headed from Denver by Laurin Quiat, but it also has a considerable presence in Houston and Orlando, as well as experts in Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC and Cleveland. The firm has historically been focused on dispute resolution, but Penny Pittman Cobey in Los Angeles has developed the transactional side of the group since joining in 2015. Social infrastructure projects have been a growing area and Cobey led the team’s representation of the City of Davis in the construction of a wastewater treatment plant worth over $100m. On the disputes front, the group advises on public projects such as hospitals and flood walls; Orlando lawyers Dennis Durkin and Michael Vitale led the advice to general contractor David Boland in its claims against the prime subcontractor for the delay of a flood wall construction in Louisiana. Other key names include Brian Blair and Barron Avery, who are based in Orlando and Washington DC respectively.

The highly reputable Cokinos, Bosien & Young is a Texas firm with offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The group is best known for its disputes practice, which is headed by founding partner Gregory Cokinos, who is a nationally recognized construction expert. Acting in both the private and public sectors, the group represents owners, contractors and subcontractors in multibillion-dollar disputes, and has a focus on energy projects, including petrol pipelines, LNG storage and processing plants. John Grayson and Elizabeth Deballion are also adept at handling front-end work and have negotiated various EPC contracts, particularly in relation to energy projects. Other recommended lawyers include San Antonio-based Stephanie O’Rourke, who has a notable disputes practice. Named lawyers are based in Houston unless otherwise stated.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s construction practice is based mainly in Atlanta but has experts across the country, including in Baltimore and Chicago. The firm’s focus is on commercial and residential real estate, as well as infrastructure projects, with recent work in this area including stadia and large-scale mixed-use developments. The team fields experts in front-end negotiations as well as disputes and predominantly acts for owners, although not exclusively. A particularly noteworthy transaction is the ongoing representation of the baseball team Atlanta Braves regarding the billion-dollar mixed-use development in SanTrust Park; this is a major project in the area and will include offices, hotels and residential blocks, as well as retail and entertainment venues. The project has also involved negotiating the surrounding infrastructure developments, including roads and transportation links, and was led by Maxine Hicks. Robert Crewdson and Anthony Meagher co-chair the department from Atlanta and Baltimore respectively.

Richard Paciaroni leads the team at K&L Gates from the firm’s Pittsburgh office. Manufacturing and energy plants were prominent in 2016, and the team advised on several gas processing plants - mainly representing the owners but not exclusively. A highlight in infrastructure and natural resources was the successful representation of Alcoa in an ICC arbitration concerning an explosion of an aluminum smelter facility in Iceland; a $20m dispute. Although the group is best known for litigation, transactional work is a developing area, and Chicago attorney Gregory Andre currently represents bKL Architecture in the front-end negotiations for its 95-story Wanda Vista Towner in Chicago; the project is anticipated to be worth $1bn and began construction in mid-2016. Timothy Pierce in Los Angeles is another key name.

The Chicago-based construction team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is best known for its litigation expertise and, in 2016, was involved in cases nationally and internationally, including in the Middle East and South America. The group primarily focuses on commercial and residential real estate, but infrastructure and energy projects are important aspects of the practice too; schools, company headquarters, fertilizer plants and renewable energy projects are some of the recent developments it has worked on. A highlight for the team is the ongoing representation of a major contractor in a multimillion-dollar dispute with a state owner regarding defects in the construction of a company headquarters. Other clients include BP Petroleum, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the Academy for Global Citizenship. James Nowacki is a key name for the group and is based in Chicago.

Mayer Brown’s construction group is spread across the country, with experts based in Chicago, New York and Houston. The team is headed by Joanna Horsnail from Chicago and has considerable experience in high-value infrastructure projects, particularly negotiating government contracts and acting for public owners. A highlight in 2016 was the continued advice to longstanding client Texas Department of Transportation on the negotiations for the construction of ten PPP highways throughout the state; the aggregate value is in excess of $4bn. Another standout front-end matter was representing German firm Benteler International in the construction of a $975m hot rolling steel mill in Louisiana. Other clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, City Colleges of Chicago and The Carlyle Group.

An ‘outstanding’ specialist construction firm, Moye, O’Brien, Pickert & Dillon, LLP houses lawyers who are ‘most competent, professional, knowledgeable and client-committed’. Founding partner James Moye is praised for being ‘one of the best construction litigators; he is always prepared and has excellent business instincts’. Moye heads the group from the firm’s single office in Orlando, but the team is active in matters across the country, particularly in infrastructure-related disputes. With a solid contractor client base, the firm has historically represented some of the US’ top contractors in construction litigation. The firm is acting for the design-build contractor in $1bn worth of claims surrounding the widening of a 10-mile highway, the Sepulveda Pass. Other high-value disputes include million-dollar PPP rail projects, tunnels and brides. Brain Heald, Sean Dillon, Steven Pickert and Anthony Kovalcik are also key names.

The ‘top-notchReed Smith LLP provides a ‘high level of service, responsiveness and very solid guidance’. Michael Dingman is practice head and leads the team from the main office in Tysons Corner, Virginia. The firm is mainly retained for front-end negotiations in manufacturing and large-scale residential projects, with clients in 2016 including both owners and contractors; examples included Lincoln Property Group, JBG Construction and IMG Midstream. A recent highlight was representing Lincoln Property Company in various mixed-use projects in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas with an aggregate value of $500m. Thomas Folk, James Brennan and Pittsburgh-based Tarek Abdalla are other key names to note. Named lawyers are based in Tysons Corner unless otherwise stated.

The West Coast-based construction team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is best known for dispute resolution, particularly regarding infrastructure and real estate projects. Candace Matson in Los Angeles chairs the team, which has been acting for owners and contractors such as Atkinson Contractors, Lend Lease and Samsung Engineering. Highly regarded for its international arbitration expertise, the group recently represented Samsung Engineering in a dispute with Alcoa regarding a $10bn joint venture in Saudi Arabia; Hwan Kim, who led the advice, is praised for being an ‘excellent and relentless litigator’. In a front-end piece of work, the team represented the Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors joint venture in the construction of a $2bn light rail transit system, linking LAX Airport to numerous surrounding cities. Former co-head Scott Hennigh and Mathew Troughton moved to Hanson Bridgett LLP in February 2017.

Stein Ray LLP’s construction group is based in Chicago, but works across the US and Canada. Name partner Steven Stein leads the seven-partner team from Chicago, with strong support from the firm’s other name partner, Stephen Ray. Representing EPC contractors in infrastructure and manufacturing disputes forms the bulk of the practice, with recent cases involving disputes over highway extensions, processing plants and refineries. The group also has expertise in international arbitration and acts in billion-dollar cases.

Houston-headquartered Vinson & Elkins LLP acts on some of the largest energy projects in the market. The practice is headed by London-based Nicholas Henchie and Houston partners Ferguson McNiel and Kaam Sahely, who specialize in commercial litigation and energy transactions respectively. Senior associate Mark Brasher is also a key name in the group and works primarily on the front end of contracts. Major energy and infrastructure clients in 2016 included Saddlehorn Pipeline Company, Texas Central Partners and Woodside Petroleum. A standout matter for the group, led by Sahely, was acting for Woodside Petroleum in the $10bn construction of the Port Arthur LNG project. The firm also has an international presence and worked on construction contracts in Oman and Israel in 2016.

Boutique construction firm Zetlin & De Chiara LLP is based in New York and led by managing partner Michael Vardaro and co-founders Michael Zetlin and Michael De Chiara. Traditionally the firm has represented architects and engineers in contracts and disputes, but more recently the client base has expanded to include major institutions, large developers and contractors, including power companies, schools and real estate developers. The ten-partner team works on PPP projects, both on the front end and in dispute resolution, and is currently acting for a real estate developer in arbitration concerning delay claims on a renovation project. Another standout matter was representing a global engineering firm in the contractual negotiations for the construction of a $550m state-of-the-art campus. Lina Telese left to practice in-house at engineering firm Jaros Baum & Bolles.

The Austin-based Allensworth & Porter is best known for representing engineers, architects and contractors in complex litigation, as well as, in more recent times, front-end negotiations. Managing partner and team lead Joe Basham and Matthew Cano have been representing IE2 Construction in an AAA arbitration concerning the owner’s allegations of lack of intention to perform, seeking $400m damages; the group successfully defended these claims. Another highlight is the ongoing representation of a mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering group in a dispute against the local authority concerning $13m in claims regarding the construction of two schools. Amy Emerson is a key name in the team and has been acting on multimillion-dollar disputes.

Mark Bloom and Andrew Ross are the key names at Arent Fox LLP and have been representing real estate developers, architects and a diverse range of owners, primarily in front-end negations. The New York-based practice has represented clients such as the City of New York, the New York Yankees, and the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority. On the disputes side, the team represented the owners in a multimillion-dollar dispute concerning the design and construction of a luxury condominium building in lower Manhattan.

Baker Donelson merged with Baltimore-based Ober Kaler in January of 2017, a move which brought with it John Morkan and Joseph Kovars, who join as co-practice chairs alongside Mark Mercante, who is based in Mandeville, Louisiana. Morkan and Kovars are best known for handling construction litigation, acting for the full range of clients, including general contractors, public and private owners, and sureties. Mercante focuses on transactional matters relating to manufacturing and industrial facilities, as well as commercial real estate such as offices and retail developments.

Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.’s construction group is led from Fort Lauderdale by Steven Lesser, although the firm has capabilities across Florida. The team is best known for its work in commercial and residential real estate disputes, acting for both owners and contractors. Typical projects include multimillion-dollar condominiums and infrastructure for mixed-use developments. Lee Weintraub and William Strop are other key names to note.

Bracewell LLP’s construction group is based in Texas and focuses on representing owners and contractors in high-value litigation. Manufacturing, infrastructure and real estate projects were the primary areas of activity in 2016. A standout piece of litigation was acting for owner Graham Media Group in dispute arising out of a defective wall which led to water damage in the construction of a $19m broadcasting facility; Richard Whiteley led on this. Another key highlight was the group’s representation of the OST/Almeda corridors redevelopment authority in a dispute with prime contractors concerning the $33m public redevelopment of Emancipation Park for the City of Houston. M&G Resins and Core Logistics Services are also clients. Stephen Benesh is key name in the group.

Bricker & Eckler LLP works across the northeastern states and has offices in Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The group has a reputation for representing public owners, such as Delaware School District, City of Canton and Miamisburg City School District, in a range of social infrastructure projects, both in front-end negotiations and subsequent disputes. Healthcare has been a growing area and the Columbus-based Jack Rosati has been acting for OhioHealth Corporation in all of its building projects, including a $300m neuroscience center in Columbus. Another standout project was acting for the City of Hamilton department of public utilities in a multimillion-dollar dispute involving delay claims; Cincinnati-based Benjamin Hyden, who was promoted to partner in January 2016, led the team in this matter.

The team at Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP is headed by James Wulfsberg from Oakland, California. Active across the state, the team handles construction disputes spanning every sector, including highways, power plants, highways, schools, libraries and sports facilities. Over the 2015-16 period, the group acted for owners and developers, including public owners, national developers and professional design firms.

The Texas-based Coats Rose, P.C. has an ‘excellent and knowledgeable’ construction team, with experts in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio as well as New Orleans. Houston-based Patrick Gaas leads the practice, which is well versed in litigation and contract negotiations and represents the full ambit of clients; private and public owners, real estate developers, contractors and designers. Energy and infrastructure is the focus for the group and it is currently acting for multinational engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler as EPC contractor in a dispute with Enterprise Products over the design, procurement and construction of a $2bn PDU facility; claims currently stand at $1bn. On the owner side, the team represents the City of Corpus Christi in delay and damages claims totaling $20m against a general contractor. Other clients include Sundt Construction, San Antonio River Authority and the Texas Facilities Commission. Stuart Richeson joined the New Orleans office in September 2016 as of counsel from Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer LLC Law Offices.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s construction practice spans front-end negotiations, risk management throughout projects, and litigation. The group is based in California, with the majority of construction attorneys in the Los Angeles office, and focuses on commercial real estate and infrastructure projects; these include highways, hotels and residential and mixed-use developments. The client base consists of private owners and real estate developers, as well as EPC contractors and engineers. In 2016, Jeffrey Masters and Kenneth Williams led advice to Regent Properties in the construction of two condominium developments, one in Utah and the other in Texas; the construction is ongoing and the value is currently standing at $100m. On the disputes front, the group is acting for a well-known global engineering firm in defending $70m worth of claims related to the expansion of 30 miles of highway in California; Robert Campbell and Jose Padilla are leading the advice. The firm also has considerable expertise in insurance coverage disputes, which Masters takes the lead on.

Jocelyn Knoll leads the construction group at Dorsey & Whitney LLP from the Minneapolis office. The 30-partner team focuses on dispute resolution and represents contractors, designers and owners, particularly in relation to infrastructure, energy and manufacturing projects. Recent projects include LAX Airport, The Minnesota Vikings Stadium and various other sporting facilities. The group has also handled commercial real estate matters, including office space, retail and hotel projects; clients include Franklin Street Properties and Retail Construction Services. A standout case over the past two years has been representing engineering and construction firm Aker Solutions and Kvaerner in a dispute surrounding the construction of a $220m coal-fired power plant in West Virginia. The group also has considerable expertise in insurance disputes.

Gibbs, Giden, Locher, Turner, Senet & Wittbrodt’s construction practice is co-headed by managing partner Richard Wittbrodt and senior partner Glenn Turner, both of whom are based in Los Angeles. The group focuses on dispute resolution and has a varied client roster that includes public owners, such as the City of Glendale, and contractors, such as Layton Construction. Real estate and infrastructure projects form the bulk of the work and 2016 was a particularly busy year for matters relating to the construction of schools, hotels, mixed-use properties and stadia. In a standout project, Turner led the team’s representation of management firm Tetra Tech in its dispute over a toxic landfill site; this case is ongoing, with claims standing at $110m. Also based in Los Angeles is Barbara Gadbois, who led the representation of Rose Bowl Stadium in a dispute worth $180m concerning contract default amongst other issues.

Hanson Bridgett LLP has a broad client base representing owners and contractors in disputes and front-end negotiations. The construction offering is primarily based out of San Francisco, but from there the team works on matters across California and beyond, including New York and Michigan. In 2016, Howard Ashcraft and team advised Vestfold Hospital Trust on the construction of a hospital in Norway. The group has been particularly busy on hospital projects and also advised Lakeland Healthcare on the construction of the New West Clinical Tower in Michigan. On the disputes side, clients include universities, EPC contractors and energy companies; Joseph Moore is currently representing a major EPC contractor in multimillion-dollar arbitration regarding a biomass project. Lisa Dal Gallo became practice head in 2016, although former practice head Howard Ashcraft is still actively practicing. The group was boosted in early 2017 with the addition of three partners; David Buoncristiani joined from Jones Day, and Scott Hennigh and Mathew Troughton both arrived from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

The ‘highly competentNixon Peabody LLP always provides a ‘high-quality service’. The team is headed by Jeffrey Brenner, who splits his time between Providence and Boston, and the firm also has construction attorneys in Rochester, San Francisco and Washington DC. The practice houses experts in litigation and contractual negotiations, and has a focus on infrastructure and real estate construction. Recent highlights include acting for China Oceanwide Holdings in the negotiations for the construction of two high-rise towers in Downtown San Francisco; the value currently stands at $1.6bn. San Francisco-based John Foust leads the team. On the disputes side, Jeffrey Brenner and the team represented Honeywell Building Solutions in a dispute with the United States Navy over the construction of a naval base at Newport, Rhode Island. Other key clients include The Regents of the University of California and Rochester Gas & Electric. Rochester attorney Darren Miller was promoted to partner in February 2017 and San Francisco-based Anthony Barron is also recommended.

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