Given its seat as our political capital, it’s no surprise that the Washington D.C. metro area has a wealth of lawyers. It could be exhausting for contractors to sift through them all looking for one that specializes in construction. Construction lawyers can play a key role on construction projects, from reviewing construction contracts to enforcing a mechanics lien claim. To make it easier on contractors, we’ve listed the top construction lawyers in Washington D.C. and northern Virginia.
Construction lawyers in DC understand the industry and region
Once you step back and see just how many subs and suppliers from various industries it takes to complete one project, you’ll see why construction lawyers are so pivotal. But construction law is just as complex as a construction project. For example, lawyers can handle a contractor’s payment disputes, foreclosures, contracts, litigation, and more.
In particular, Virginia has construction payment problems that are exacerbated by the complexity of laws. For example, Virginia has one of the most powerful mechanics liens in the country, which means there are many strict requirements that must be met in order to secure your lien rights. Thankfully, construction lawyers can also assist contractors when they need to:
- Review and draft construction contracts
- Enforce a mechanics lien claim
- Take a construction dispute to court
Learn more about construction law, including what subs, suppliers, and GCs must know.
The List: Construction Lawyers in DC & Northern VA
These lawyers were selected based on the following criteria:
- Actively answer contractor’s questions about getting paid in Washington D.C. and Virginia
- Members with the Construction Law and Public Contracts Section of the Virginia Bar Association and/or the District of Columbia Bar
- Work on cases in northern Virginia and the District of Columbia
- Focus their practice specifically in the construction sector
- Are thought leaders in construction law
Christopher Hill started his own construction law firm in 2010 after 13 years of serving general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, and suppliers at the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and with two other private firms. Christopher is based in Richmond, VA and is a Virginia Supreme Court certified General District Court mediator. He practices risk management for construction professionals, litigation, mechanics liens, payment and performance bond claims, construction contract review, and more. Christopher attended Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and graduated in 1997.
Super Lawyers in Construction Litigation have nominated Christopher since 2017. He was named by Expertise.com in 2020 as one of the top 14 arbitrators and mediators in Richmond. Christopher’s firm is a member of the Associated General Contractors of Virginia. He also publishes the Construction Law Musings blog covering the construction dispute process.
Here are several questions Christopher has answered, and articles he’s published on Levelset:
- Does Virginia have construction waiver and release of lien upon final payment form?
- Is a sub responsible for billing on behalf of the contractor?
- Virginia Joins The Crowd On Liens: What Does It Mean?
Lauren McLaughlin has been representing GC’s, subs, developers, and owners for over 20 years. She is currently a partner at Smith Currie, which has serviced the construction industry since 1965. Before she joined Smith Currie, Lauren was a founding partner at BrigliaMcLaughlin, PLLC, which exclusively focused on the construction industry and surety clients.
Over the course of Lauren’s career at Smith Currie, she has counseled contractors on project risk management and litigation avoidance. She’s worked on several diverse projects, such as a government facility, two federal prison complexes, central utility plants, an urban housing and development program, and more.
She’s also been selected to Super Lawyers for D.C. and Virginia and has chaired the Construction Law and Public Contracts Section of the Virginia Bar Association. Lauren graduated magna cum laude from Trinity University and obtained her juris doctorate with honors from Catholic University Columbus School of Law.
Timothy R. Hughes is a shareholder of Bean, Kinney & Korman, representing contractors in construction and commercial litigation. Timothy has over 20 years of practicing as a construction and litigation attorney. His experience includes representing payment bond claimants, commercial leases, owner and contractor construction contracts, and more. Timothy has worked directly with GC’s, subs, property owners, and developers.
Some of Timothy’s honors include being named to Arlington Magazine’s Top Attorney’s list for construction and to the Virginia Super Lawyers in Construction Litigation list. In 2006, Timothy helped subcontractor Casey Industrial resolve a payment bond case that resulted in two national first impression decisions on AIA bond claims.
Additionally, Tim is a LEED Accredited Professional and understands how the law relates to sustainable design and construction.
Christopher Burke has over 15 years of experience litigating construction disputes. He is a partner with Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, which represents clients across the construction industry. VLMG has been representing subs, GC’s, project owners, developers, and design professionals since 2014. Over the years, Christopher has worked with contractors to resolve issues directly at the project level.
Not only does Christopher have Bar Admissions in Virginia and the District of Columbia, but also in New York. Christopher represents subs, GC’s, project managers, and owners from claim preservation through trial. He graduated cum laude from Yale University and also from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Some of his awards and rankings include:
- Virginia Super Lawyers, Rising Stars: 2015 – 2017
- Chambers and Partners List of Top Construction Lawyers (Virginia): 2017 – 2019
- Who’s Who Legal Construction: 2017 – 2020
Raziye Andican is an associate of Smith Currie in Tysons, Virginia. She previously worked under Lauren McLaughlin at BrigliaMcLaughlin. Raziye’s practice deals with construction litigation, such as filing and enforcing mechanics liens. She also has experience representing GC’s, project owners, and suppliers in various construction disputes.
Razyie has several professional affiliations, including membership to the American Subcontractors Association of Metro Washington. In October of 2019, Razyie presented on mechanics liens at the National Business Institute’s “Construction Law From Start to Finish” seminar in Fairfax, VA. She attended the College of New Jersey and earned her B.A., cum laude. At the American University Washington College of Law, Razyie also attained her juris doctorate
Her construction litigation experience stretches to both the state and federal courts of Virginia, while also serving as the first and second chairs at state court trials.
Stephen B. Shapiro
Stephen B. Shapiro has focused his legal career around domestic and international construction, public contracts, commercial litigation and public-private partnerships. He is a partner with Holland & Knight in Washington D.C. and is their Construction Industry Practice group leader.
In 2020, Shapiro was named by Best Lawyers as the Lawyer of the Year for construction litigation in Washington D.C. Since representing contractors and property owners, Shapiro has gained experience and knowledge in commercial and industrial construction. He is also a fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America and a member of the board of directors of the Associated General Contractors of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
Shapiro earned his B.A. degree from the University of Maryland and also attended The George Washington University Law School for his juris doctorate. Aside from Washington D.C. and Virginia, Shapiro also holds a Bar Admission in New York.
Jesse S. Keene
Jesse S. Keene is a member of Cozen O’Connor, which earned a spot on Law360’s 2019 Construction Groups of the Year. Keene has been practicing construction law for over a dozen years, and has represented the entire breadth of the construction industry in every phase of a project. He’s also an experienced litigator that was named as Super Lawyers’ Rising Star in Washington, D.C. for Construction Law.
Keene received his B.A. from Washington State University and his juris doctorate from Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of several construction law organizations with the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry and the Washington Building Congress. Keene also co-author of the 2016 through 2019 editions of the Virginia Practice Guide Construction Volume.
Peter Antonoplos not only practices construction law, but also business law, estimate planning, and real estate law. He is the founder of Antonoplos & Associates and has represented members of the construction industry for nearly two decades. As a construction lawyer in DC, Peter can assist contractors with mechanics liens, payment bond claims, and construction contract drafting.
Peter has been named one of America’s Top 100 Attorneys and is a Avvo 10.0 Top Rated Construction Attorney. He earned his M.B.A. from Yale University, School of Management and his juris doctorate from Catholic University, Columbus School of Law. Peter has periodically represented residential homeowners against house flippers in construction defect litigation.
Peter’s law firm also represents contractors through litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as:
- Construction litigation
- Commercial construction projects and development
- Subcontractor lawsuits against GCs
- Construction defect claims
- Contractor licensing issues
Charles Asmar works exclusively in construction, government contracts, and real estate transactional law. He is a partner at Asmar, Schor & McKenna and received his law degree from the Columbus School of Law, the Catholic University of America. Asmar advises contractors on the advantages and risks for construction management and design build. His practice also specializes in mechanics liens, bond claims and defenses, and government contracts.
The Asmar, Schor & McKenna law firm has worked with many complex construction projects, such as condominiums, office buildings, hospitals, water treatment facilities, airports, embassies, large-scale residential buildings, highway systems, and more. Charles is also a member of the Board of Directors for the District of Columbia Building Industry Association.
Charles has been recognized by a number of organizations, including:
- Washington D.C. Super Lawyers
- Chambers and Partners Top Construction Lawyers
- Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent AV rating of 5.0
- A Charter Fellow with Construction Lawyers Society of America
Douglas L. Patin
Douglas L. Patin is a partner at Bradley, which represents clients in all sectors of the construction industry. Douglas has represented some of the largest federal GC’s and subs in the country. In 2017, Patin successfully represented Turner Construction Company before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. Patin’s work led the board to awarard Turner Construction a $6M settlement plus interest.
Patin is a part of a law firm that was named by U.S. News as the “2020 Law Firm of the Year” for construction law, as well as being listed as a Tier 1 law firm in construction litigation and construction law. He’s also a 2019 Chambers and Partners Top Construction Lawyer.
In 1976, Patin received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin. He later earned his juris doctorate from The George Washington University Law School. Patin is a licensed lawyer in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland.
Michael A. Branca
Michael A. Branca is a managing partner of Peckar & Abramson. His practice deals with construction and government contract law. Branca typically represents GC’s and construction managers. He serves contractors through prosecution of bid protests, preparation and litigation of claims, project counsel support, and negotiation of contract documents.
Branca was recognized as one of Eight Peckar & Abramson Attorneys Named 2019 Thought Leaders in Who’s Who Legal. He’s also been named as one of the 2020 Best Lawyers in America. Branca’s law firm is ranked by U.S. News as a Tier 1 construction law firm. Since 2007, Branca has been listed as one of the leading lawyers in construction law by Chambers and Partners.
David T. Dekker
David T. Dekker is a Pillsbury litigation partner and firm chairman. Dekker was a part of a winning team at Pillsbury that was named 2018 Construction Law Firm of the Year. He is known around Washington D.C. for handling tough insurance coverage claims due to construction projects or damage to business operations. Dekker also assists contractors on individual projects and nonlitigation matters.
Payment questions? Ask construction lawyers in DC, NOVA and beyond
With this list of reputable construction lawyers in northern Virginia, finding the right one should be the easiest part of the process. Before you hire an attorney, consider your legal needs today and in the future. Even if you aren’t currently in a sticky situation, it can be reassuring to have a trusted construction lawyer in your corner for when you need them most.
Visit our Attorney Network to find more construction lawyers in Washington D.C. and around the country. Or head over to the Payment Help Center, where you can ask a legal question for free and get an answer from a construction attorney!