Best Law FirmBest Law Firm 2016

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, LLP (VLMG) proudly serves the specialized needs of clients in the construction and engineering industry. The construction law firm features offices in Tysons Corner, VA and San Francisco, CA with 20 seasoned construction lawyers, each of whom has deep experience serving clients in this unique legal field.

VLMG’s lawyers have represented clients on an impressive array of civil, industrial, commercial, and government projects across the United States and around the world. The firm’s attorneys offer a particularly in-depth understanding of heavy civil, energy and infrastructure projects, including power plants, petrochemical facilities, pipelines, highways and bridges, tunnels, mass transit systems, water/wastewater plants, airports, ports, and sports stadiums.  Handling matters across this spectrum of project types has enabled the attorneys at VLMG to develop substantial expertise regarding federal, state, and local government contracts and procurement.

VLMG also maintains a significant and expanding international practice, with experience handling matters across the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. VLMG’s clients represent a diverse cross-section of the major players in the worldwide construction industry, and include EPC contractors, owners, developers, sureties, design professionals, and public agencies.

A significant portion of the firm’s practice focuses on front-end risk management such as contract drafting/review, subcontract preparation, compliance, insurance and project-specific training. Further, after the project commences, the firm’s attorneys also regularly provide guidance to clients during ongoing projects as issues arise.

VLMG’s attorneys are recognized as being especially capable in litigation and dispute resolution before federal and state courts and boards of contract appeals.  In the arbitration arena, VLMG is actively arbitrating over $1 billion in disputes across four continents throughout the world. 

The four name partners in VLMG – Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, Todd Metz, and Joseph Guarino – boast a total of more than 80 years in practice devoted entirely to the construction and engineering industry and have been honored for their work in respected publications such as Chambers USA, Legal 500, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers. They are joined by eight additional partners – Christopher Burke, Garrett Dillon, Brian Dugdale, Nicholas Merrell, Kirk Niemi, Michael Suga, Andrew Van Ornum, and David Wonderlick −  all of whom have 9 to 18 years of construction law experience.

VLMG was created in 2014 to meet the changing needs of high-end clients in today’s construction market.  We promote the use of cutting edge information management technology coupled with partner-level attorneys who are prepared to meet your needs from inception to conclusion.  Each attorney is expected to demonstrate deep knowledge, practical thinking, agility, value, and responsiveness. Clients in the construction industry value close working relationships with lawyers who understand their business. We will continue to nurture those relationships in a marketplace that has evolved to place increasing emphasis on a law firm’s sophistication and creativity.

Contact Information

2 offices

Firm Attorneys

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Paul A. Varela Paul A. Varela Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, LLP
Practicing in: Litigation - Construction
Practicing in: Litigation - Construction

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    "Top-Listed" Metro Awards
    "Top-Listed" in Tysons Corner, Virginia in Litigation - Construction with 3 lawyers.

    "Top-Listed" Metro Awards
    "Top-Listed" in Tysons Corner, Virginia in Litigation - Construction with 3 lawyers.



    At its core, VLMG is a construction services law firm.  Disproving the concept that legal service should only be consulted upon litigation, clients realize value from VLMG’s precisely tailored contract administration support, among other proactive services. As many of our clients understand, project-level decision-making, such as scheduling and change order management, can either create or avoid a lawsuit.  VLMG’s professionals work as a team with executive, legal, accounting, and engineering personnel as a foundational risk management asset. 

    Furthermore, VLMG espouses the philosophy that legal information should be freely given, as it is our custom-tailored advice that sets us apart.  Accordingly, through in-house seminars and publications, VLMG provides its clients the resources to educate its employees to directly implement a more sophisticated brand of contract administration.

    To the extent disputes are unavoidable, VLMG is prepared to successfully shepherd its clients to resolution, maximizing alternative dispute resolution techniques across a broad swath of project types in international, federal, and state forums.  VLMG’s team has substantial experience handling major litigations and arbitrations on mega-projects.  However, it also possesses the judgment necessary to cost-effectively resolve disputes in the low six-figures.  As it concerns the construction industry, VLMG is in a unique position to advise on nearly every issue that comes to pass.

    International Arbitration

    VLMG routinely serves foreign and domestic clients throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  VLMG’s lawyers have assisted clients throughout the world in drafting, negotiating, and administering billions of dollars of construction contracts. VLMG’s lawyers possess the experience and expertise to seamlessly operate with local customers and partners and successfully assist our clients in navigating all aspects of international projects so as to avoid unnecessary disputes. Where disputes are unavoidable, however, VLMG has handled dispute boards and arbitrated cases internationally, including before the ICC, DIAC, DIFC, and ad hoc arbitrations.  We advise clients in setting up businesses overseas, and have provided in-house training on how to run a construction company in the Middle East.  

    Government Contracts

    Well-positioned with its Beltway office and cadre of experienced practitioners, VLMG’s founding partners are leading authorities in government contracts. Their expertise encompasses compliance, bid protests, suspension and debarment, claim preparation, pricing, and dispute resolution. VLMG’s professionals have appeared before the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA), Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), the United States Court of Federal Claims, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on a host of procurements as diverse as the federal government’s purchasing needs.

    Compliance Education

    If there is a constant in government contracts, it is change. VLMG stands ready to educate our clients about the next wave of compliance regulations.  Labor compliance and small business regulations are just a few of the areas where compliance obligations arise.  However, it would be a mistake to characterize government contracts compliance as anything less than complete compliance with the FAR, FCPA, FCA, SBA Programs, Davis-Bacon, DCAA/IG audits, and beyond.  Our professionals quickly spot potential issues and offer custom solutions.

    Commercial Litigation

    VLMG’s experience ranges beyond construction law to include a robust commercial litigation practice.  VLMG’s lawyers have assisted clients in drafting, negotiating, and administering contracts as well as handling a variety of matters across business, real estate, corporate disputes, intellectual property, and other aspects of commercial litigation.  VLMG’s lawyers possess extensive experience representing clients in commercial matters in both domestic and international arbitrations as well as all levels of litigation, including both state and federal appeals.  VLMG works collaboratively with its clients to develop goal-oriented strategies that are also mindful of costs and risks.  When the target objectives cannot be achieved short of litigation, VLMG’s lawyers possess the experience necessary to provide clients with aggressive, innovative and ultimately successful strategies and tactics to achieve the desired results. 

    Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, LLP

    Contact Information

    2 offices


    Founding Partner
    Founding Partner
    Founding Partner
    Founding Partner
    Marketing Manager


    Partners: 12
    Associates: 7
    Paralegals: 2
    Non-Legal Employees: 9

    Practice Areas

    Construction Law
    Government Contracts
    International Arbitration - Commercial
    International Arbitration - Governmental
    Litigation - Construction
    Transportation Law