Carol Patterson > Zetlin & De Chiara LLP > New York, United States > Lawyer Profile

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
NEW YORK, NY 10017
United States

Work Department

Construction Law
Commercial Litigation


Business Counsel on Construction Ventures
Agreements and Dispute Resolution
Integrated Project Delivery
Public Private Partnerships


Carol J. Patterson, Senior Partner at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, is a highly experienced construction industry litigator and transactional attorney who advise clients on complex litigations, contracts and risk management strategies.  Owners, developers, engineers, architects, construction managers, contractors and investors seek Ms. Patterson’s counsel on general business matters relating to construction ventures and specific project issues.  Prominent national and international firms have consulted her on matters relating to the design and construction of major projects in the technology, financial, educational, justice, healthcare, pharmaceutical, hospitality, civic, infrastructure and cultural sectors.

Ms. Patterson is known for developing comprehensive legal road maps for her clients, anticipating and addressing issues, outcomes and consequences that could affect a project or company’s desired outcome.  A creative advocate with a background in international relations, she excels at structuring agreements that enable her clients to advance their key business and project goals. Her work also focuses on crafting solutions to defuse situations that could become litigious. In a career of over 25 years, she has skillfully negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in claims, settlements and contracts throughout the United States and abroad.

In New York, she has been involved in high profile projects including the modernization of Lincoln Center, the Jacob Javits Center, the Museum of Modern Art and new buildings at Hudson Yards. She also has extensive experience consulting on residential and commercial development, design and construction.

Ms. Patterson also has a significant expertise in negotiating agreements involving integrated project delivery, public private partnerships and other innovative collaborative building strategies.  Her practice includes agreements and dispute resolution regarding emerging technologies and intellectual property issues related to the construction process.

She frequently speaks and writes on topics of interest to the Construction Industry and has lectured at the New York University Real Estate Institute, Columbia University School of Engineering and Polytechnic University. Ms. Patterson was an editor of Construction Law, the widely used textbook, published by the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry that provides a comprehensive introduction to the construction industry and the laws that govern it. 


Ms. Patterson is an engaged member of the professional community who supports opportunities for women interested in the real estate and construction industry.  She previously served on the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law, and served as Chair of the Forum’s Publications Committee and its Diversity Committee.  She is also a past president of the Associate of Real Estate Women (now the New York City Chapter of CREW). She serves as General Counsel to the American Society of Civil Engineers and is affiliated with the American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute and New York Building Congress.


University of Chicago, School of Law, J.D.

Columbia University, International Relations, M.A.

 Bryn Mawr College, B.A.

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Real estate > Construction (including construction litigation)

Boutique New York construction firm Zetlin & De Chiara LLP acts for developers, owners, architects, engineers, construction managers and contractors. Founding partners Michael Zetlin and Michael De Chiara are ‘superb litigators’ and ‘deliver results‘; De Chiara recently represented Handel Architects and DeSimone Consulting Engineers in a high-profile construction dispute relating to the Millennium Tower in San Francisco. Issues with the tower are highly publicized, and the firm represents the clients in multiple actions totaling over $100m. The team includes ‘excellent‘ managing partner Michael Vardaro, who is ‘outstanding in his representation of clients and his knowledge of the law‘, in addition to of counsel Louis Dennis and associate Anthony Riverso. Vardaro also advised Shop Architects as one of the primary contractors on a new $1bn inner city mixed-use development project in Detroit. James Terry, who is ‘extremely good at juggling a busy practice‘, was part of the team negotiating and drafting construction and lease agreements for the conversion of the former Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility to a social services facility. He was supported by Carol Patterson, seen by some as ‘one of the leaders in construction law‘. Terry, as well as associates Richard Kalinowski and Chengdong Xing, was also part of a team led by Zetlin that represented a national real estate developer in disputes connected to the renovation of a transportation facility in Manhattan. Also highly recommended are senior associate Joeann Walker and Raymond Mellon, who has ‘developed strong credentials with the design community‘, and Bill Chimos, Jaimee Nardiello and associate Roy Schwartz, who are ‘all excellent and provide great value for their services‘.