Michael S. Zetlin - Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

Michael S. Zetlin

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007
Phone: 212-682-6800

Michael S. Zetlin, a founding partner of Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, is one of the country’s leading construction litigators and contract specialists who also serves as a strategic advisor to clients.

A graduate civil engineer and attorney, Mr. Zetlin has successfully litigated and arbitrated many multi-million dollar construction claims throughout the United States on projects ranging across all markets including institutional, commercial, residential, energy and infrastructure. He has also drafted and negotiated contracts on projects with construction values in the hundreds of millions of dollars within these sectors.

With over 30 years of experience, Mr. Zetlin’s knowledge of the built environment and the issues involved in design, construction, and project management make him a formidable advocate representing national and multi-national firms and a number of the premier owners, developers, design professionals, and contractors in the U.S. and internationally. He also provides legal counsel to private equity firms, hedge funds and lenders for their construction-related ventures.

A fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and a member of the National Academy of Construction, Mr. Zetlin holds the notable AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is consistently recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 USA Guide, Super Lawyer Magazine, and Best Lawyers of America as a leading litigator in construction law. He has been appointed to the International Who's Who of Construction Lawyers by Who's Who Legal, and was named New York Construction Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers of America in 2011. Mr. Zetlin is also a recipient of the Harry B. Rutkins Award for Service to the New York Chapter of AIA. In 2014, he was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Construction, an organization established to recognize industry leaders in engineering and construction and offer this reservoir of expertise as a valuable service to the nation. 

He serves as the General Counsel to the New York Building Congress and to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. An author and lecturer, he is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, teaching the graduate program Legal Issues in Building Construction, and is the co-editor of New York Construction Law, the definitive treatise on construction law in New York. 

Columbia UniversityBS Fordham UniversityJ.D.
American Arbitration AssociationAmerican Bar AssociationAmerican Bar Association Forum on the Construction IndustryNew York Building CongressAmerican College of Construction Lawyers

Client Comments

"Michael Zetlin is at the top of construction industry attorneys practicing in New York City and across the United States. His effectiveness is based on thorough preparation, attention to detail, and an excellent reputation in the building community. He commands respect in everything he does and has been an outstanding General Counsel of the New York Building Congress, among numerous other outside activities."

"Mike Zetlin meets even the most demanding of expectations. Intelligent, responsive, honest, experienced, articulate, and dependable, he is everything that in-house counsel in need of outside assistance could possibly require. He treats each client with respect, and his intense focus leaves that client feeling as if he were the sole beneficiary of a one-client, five-star practice. Mike is my "go-to" counsel in New York."

"Michael Zetlin is an excellent attorney and a pleasure to work with. His engineering background is invaluable to his ability to handle construction-related claims. He is accommodating and responds in a timely manner. He is able to work well with co-counsel, as well as opposing counsel. I recommend Michael Zetlin without reservation."

-Elise Greenspan
Vice President and General Counsel
DMJM+HARRIS, Inc.

Office Location

801 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2011 Lawyer of the Year in Construction Law of the New York City Metro Area
Michael S. Zetlin has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

Litigation - Construction

Other Information

Gender: Male