This list of the Top 10 construction law firms in America is intended to serve as a starting place, or reference guide for those companies and individuals who find themselves in need of good counsel. These law firms have many advantages over their competition because of their size, skills, years of service, specialization in construction-related law, and longevity in the field. There’s a construction law firm that’s been in existence since 1916 in the list!
The list has been organized by geographic region to better serve those in each region of the country. Many construction law firms have multiple offices across the country and even across the world in major cities.
If you’re in the construction business, you should probably already have a really good lawyer that makes construction their main focus. So much is changing in the construction industry that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with regulatory changes, new laws and construction guidelines. The fundamentals of construction have fragmented into highly-specialized methodologies with the legal side of the house evolving right along with everything else. Does that mean you need an in-house lawyer to make your way through the maze of contracting, regulations, codes, and litigation? Maybe, but not always. You should have somebody on your side because it’s not really a matter of if; it’s more a matter of when.
In-house counsel can be very convenient and also very expensive. It may not be a situation where your company can keep a lawyer busy all day solving problems and handling day-to-day activities. You still need a resource who can be available to answer questions, keep little problems from becoming big problems, and even have what Teddy Roosevelt referred to as a “Big Stick” over your shoulder, just in case a situation requires more than just advice.
Construction law is a highly-specialized discipline within the realm of law. It deals with issues like contracts, labor negotiations, regulatory agency interactions, code and compliance issues, safety, mechanics liens, bonding, payment, and the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say that unless someone on the company’s staff has a law degree, a current law license, advanced education in construction-specific codes and laws as well as some years of experience under their belt, there’s a good chance you need to have a law firm that specializes in construction law available 24/7.
Table of Contents
West Coast South Region’s Best Construction Lawyer – Los Angeles, CA
Alston & Bird LLP – 333 South Hope Street, 16th Floor, Los Angeles, CA – Ranked by Best Lawyers “Law Firm of the Year” in Construction Law for 2019 and as National Tier 1 in Construction Law along with being recognized in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. They have also been recognized by Who’s Who Legal in the area of Construction Law. Alston & Bird have many other offices in California as well as across America, with their headquarters located in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm has represented retail developers in the negotiation of design and construction contracts for a $500 million mixed-use project in San Jose, as well as a $140 million mixed-use redevelopment project in Ontario, California.
With such a broad and talented scope of experience in construction law, it’s not surprising many construction companies and projects look toward the attorneys at Alston & Bird for help from project conception through contracting and on to completion. The staff at Alston & Bird also focus on the other affiliate areas of activity in construction including OSHA compliance, labor dispute resolution, contractor and subcontractor agreements and every aspect of real estate acquisition, ownership, development, and management.
TIP: Check out our blog on the best contractors in Los Angeles CA for a few more lawyers in this area.
West Coast Central Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer– San Francisco, CA
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP – Four Embarcadero Center, 22nd Floor, San Francisco, CA. This firm was ranked as 2016 Law Firm of the Year in Construction Law by Best Lawyers and is also ranked as a national leader in construction law by The Legal 500 U.S. Once again, this is both a national as well as an international construction law firm with fourteen offices across the United States as well as offices in London, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo. The firm works extensively in real estate, construction, contracts, breach of contracts, labor, and employment, government regulatory compliance, and many other aspects of construction.
One of the more interesting aspects of Pillsbury Winthrop’s background is their work on the Panama Canal. The San Francisco office has Clark Thiel, a contributing author to Construction Checklists, Business & Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts and Construction Defects and is accredited by the National Council of Architect Registration Boards. Keeping up-to-date on the many issues and changes that can occur on a construction project is a daunting task. having quality counsel will help avoid the pitfalls and dangers that can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions. It’s just a good insurance policy.
TIP: Check out our article on the best construction attorneys in San Fransisco CA for some of the other top lawyers in the Bay Area.
West Coast North Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer– Seattle, WA
Perkins Coie LLP – 1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, Washington. Ranked in the upcoming 2020 edition of Best Lawyers and as Tier 1 in Construction Law, this is the largest law firm in Seattle. Perkins Coie has the experience to work on large-scale projects like sports arenas and stadiums as well as working with small, disadvantaged and minority-owned business enterprises. Their expertise runs the gamut of services from pre-build activities, through all construction phases to post-construction needs and issues. With over 300 attorneys and offices up and down the West Coast (even in Alaska) as well as across the heartland of America in 16 different locations including on the East Coast. The firm also maintains offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei.
Many large law firms like Perkins Coie help clients in diverse areas of construction including permitting and development of large projects; local and national regulatory compliance, public and private water law, wildlife and endangered species, public lands and energy resource laws, and protected areas law. Specialization in environmental, wildlife, and water law make this a well-rounded resource for construction companies to use for the variety of situations and circumstances that can occur at any time.
TIP: For more attorneys in Seattle, WA, check out our List of Top Construction Attorneys in Seattle.
Upper Midwest Region’s Best Construction Lawyer – Chicago, IL
Barnes & Thornburg LLP – One North Wacker Drive, Suite 4400, Chicago, Illinois. Also listed as a National Tier 1 firm in Construction Law by Best Lawyers , Barnes & Thornberg have multiple offices in many large cities and metropolitan areas across the country. One of the attorneys specializing in construction law, Clifford Shapiro, was recognized by Who’s Who Legal as being one of the best construction lawyers in the nation.
It’s important to remember that construction law intersects with other disciplines within the law like employment, insurance, real estate, civil law, and a dozen or more separate, yet equally important areas with legal concerns. Most law firms have many other areas of the law in which they practice and having a “one-stop shop” legal firm isn’t a bad idea. A firm like Barnes & Thornburg has the staff to handle every direct case as well as any related activity that falls under the umbrella of construction.
Barnes & Thornburg recently introduced a suite of client services under their BT ValueWorks™ program which is aimed toward providing a higher level of client services like improving collaboration between clients and attorneys, gaining cost certainty so the bills don’t raise eyebrows and cause panic. The program also improves the firm’s engagement by creating a “No surprises experience” for their clients and by invoking a culture of continuous improvement to consistently address client needs.
TIP: Check out more construction attorneys in the Windy City at The Top Construction Lawyers In Chicago.
Central Midwest Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer – St. Louis, MO
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP – 190 Carondelet Plaza, Suite 1690, St. Louis, MO. Ranked as a National Tier 3 in Construction Law by Best Lawyers and recognized by Chambers Global, Global-wide: Construction 2019 , as being a top-ranked law firm for construction. The firm has eleven offices in the United States, from San Francisco to New York and Minneapolis to Dallas. This construction law firm is truly international in scope, with 50+ offices all over the globe, including offices in Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.
Construction law can vary from county to county, state to state, and then there are all the Federal guidelines and laws, not to mention what happens with offshore projects such as the British Virgin Islands. A company that knows the differences as well as the similarities is invaluable when it comes to solving problems with legal entanglements or considerations outside America’s borders. Norton Rose Fulbright has over 4,000 attorneys on their staff around the world. No matter what the concern or need maybe, they have the people, the background, and the ability to take care of their clients from top to bottom and everywhere in between.
Western Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer – Denver, CO
BakerHostetler LLP – 1801 California Street, Suite 4400, Denver, Colorado. Ranked by Best Lawyers as National Tier 3 in Construction Law and in Who’s Who Legal with eight of their attorneys receiving attention. The leader of BakerHostetler’s nationwide construction legal team, Laurin Quiat, has an impressive record of achievement as a litigator and is the managing partner of the firm’s Denver office, The firm has almost 1,000 lawyers in 14 offices around the country which means there’s no doubt they can handle whatever comes your way in construction. Ever since 1916, BakerHostetler has worked on construction projects, solving problems for their clients and making news in the construction law discipline.
As a law firm in existence for over 100 years, BakerHostetler has been witness to all the changes which have taken place in the construction industry. Over those years, the leadership and management of the firm have kept the same perspective – “love and respect for the law, respect for each other, and the courage to make hard decisions on the basis of what they know to be right”. With such a goal-centric mantra guiding the firm’s actions, their clients have less to worry about and it really doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Southwest Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer – Dallas, TX
Peckar & Abramson, P.C. – 8080 North Central Expressway, Suite 1600, LB 65, Dallas, Texas. Recognized by every print publication in America for its prowess in construction law, this firm has received accolades from Best Lawyers , Chambers & Partners , Legal 500 USA , Who’s Who Legal , and the BTI Client Service A-Team Report . That’s extremely impressive. Again, this is a firm with ten offices across America and decades-old relationships with law firms in Latin America, Britain, India, and Canada. Having such a large presence in Texas is great because it’s one of the most complicated states for managing construction payment and paperwork. Mechanics lien law in Texas is filled with stringent deadlines, monthly notices, and statutorily regulated lien waivers that all play a big role in this state’s construction law. Gaining the attention of the national ranking groups is important because each group ranks law firms based on input from those outside the firm being analyzed and ranked. No fees are paid to be ranked, all input comes from other professionals in the legal world resulting in unbiased and reliable ratings.
Like many law firms, Peckar & Abramson has instituted a Results First℠ approach to client relations which supports a wide range of legal services the firm offers while maintaining a high commitment to efficiency and value. For over 40 years, Peckar & Abramson has successfully represented hundreds of clients across the full range of legal issues in construction law. With all the positive commendations provided by others in the legal profession, it’s always nice to know you’re working with the best of the best.
Northeast Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer – New York, NY
Holland & Knight LLP – 31 West 52nd Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY. This is the largest construction law firm on the list. There are 25 offices spread out across America in all the major cities and metropolitan areas. The firm also has offices in Bogota, Columbia, and London, as well as in Mexico City. The firm has been recognized by every rating group in North America as being one of the foremost law firms in the nation and the world and, quite uniquely, the firm has also been given recognition by receiving a perfect rating of 100% on the 2019 Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) , which reports on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. As the largest law firm on the list, Holland & Knight maintains almost 70 lawyers specifically practicing in construction law.
The variety, size, and locations of all the projects Holland & Knight have participated in goes into the hundreds. Every type of private and public construction project, from Hydro-electric plants to office buildings, bridges, and airports, has been accomplished by this firm with great results. Working with such an experienced and skilled firm helps ensure a project will have fewer hiccups and more successful without a doubt.
Middle Eastern Seaboard‘s Best Construction Lawyer – Atlanta, GA
Alston & Bird LLP – 1201 West Peachtree Street, 49th Floor, Atlanta Georgia. This location is the headquarters for the law firm and it is the same firm cited as being Best Construction Law Firm in the West Coast South Region of Los Angeles, California by Best Lawyers. As one of the premier construction law practices in America, the group boasts over 400 lawyers on the top 16 floors of the building they occupy in downtown Atlanta. One aspect of their work is dealing with the worlds of finance and funding for construction projects. Being able to help clients with receiving payments on time and according to terms is one of the most critical capabilities of a well-rounded law office. With many successful client projects in their past and a firm that constantly looks to the future of construction law and all of the components it includes, Alston & Bird have the talent and longevity to take on the most complex and difficult construction law cases.
Given all the different activities, companies, people, agreements, communications, and cash-flow involved in even a small construction project, the best companies have shown time and time again being prepared and anticipating problems helps avoid them from becoming deal-killers and construction company killers as well.
Southeast Region‘s Best Construction Lawyer – Miami, FL
Peckar & Abramson, P.C. – One Southeast Third Avenue, Suite 3100, Miami, Florida. Once more, this is a construction law firm that was listed as the best firm in the Southwest part of the United States. As noted earlier, this law firm has received awards and attention from all the big lawyer ranking sites which means they’ve got a lot of really good talent on board. More importantly, the firm has 110 construction lawyers and it derives over 95% of its revenues from construction law services. That means these folks have only one thing on their mind – construction!
Being the largest construction law firm and completely dedicated to construction law says this firm will be working with the most up-to-date training, information, awareness of trends and potential liabilities than can be accomplished with other law firms. When all you do is walk, talk, and live construction law, you become quite expert.
Conclusion of the Best Construction Lawyer’s in America
The money that flows through every construction project demands diligence and responsibility on the part of everyone involved. The ability to deal with the legal aspects of any construction project requires conscientious attention to the legal concerns and that means a lawyer. Knowing you need a lawyer is just the beginning; figuring out what you need a lawyer for, and finding a lawyer that handles your business fairly and competently is critical.
Construction law firms are developing better and more efficient systems to reduce costs, improving client experience, and streamlining the processes needed to accomplish client’s goals. The new software tools in construction can cover every part of the job from overall construction project management, field management, time tracking your labor, and even managing construction payments and other key financial activities. Although these new technologies can help with managing a project on and off the job site, they don’t guarantee that everything will go according to plan and that’s where a good law firm can step in and get things back on track.
Let’s face it, construction is complex. It just doesn’t make sense to take any chances, especially when there are large amounts of money in the mix and huge responsibilities involved with getting everything completed on-time and in full. There are dozens of ways to add process, technology and legal know-how to your construction companies playbook.
Regardless of the need for quality legal counsel, it makes sense to have good legal advice ready when you need it. A relationship with a law firm is best accomplished before the problems arise, because you don’t want to waste valuable time trying to find legal support before you can address any problems. Good construction law firms solve problems before they happen, take care of problems as they happen, and save money dealing with problems in the long run.