Paul A. Varela - Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, LLP

Paul A. Varela

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2009
Phone: 703-454-0170

"'Personality and high intellect' as well as 'tough and tenacious' representation define this lawyer in the eyes of clients." - 2006 Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Business Lawyers

"'Congenial, down-to-earth and deeply knowledgeable,' Paul Varela 'presents himself well and listens to his clients to meet their needs.' He handles a busy construction workload, advising a national client base on contract planning, administration and dispute resolution." - 2007 Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Business Lawyers

Paul Varela counsels clients in contract planning, administration, and dispute resolution matters nationally and internationally in the engineering and construction industry. His broad range of legal experience includes roads, bridges, high-rise buildings, nuclear and conventional power, environmental remediation, biomedical centers, energy and chemical projects, airports, professional sports stadiums, telecom, pharmaceutical, mass transit, and other heavy construction projects, as well as embassies and all types of general building design and construction.

Paul has extensive claims negotiation and prosecution experience with private as well as state and federal government entities, and his expertise includes EPC and design-build, P3, government contracts, suretyship, and international construction. Paul is an authority on federal government contracting issues spanning compliance, bid protests and claim preparation, pricing, and dispute resolution. He has represented clients across the country in jury and bench trials, mediations, arbitrations, boards of contract appeals, and state and federal court for both domestic and international disputes.  Paul has represented clients on international projects in countries as varied as Egypt, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Dubai, Lebanon, Chile, Mexico, Honduras, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom.

Paul also frequently advises clients in key risk management issues. He has represented clients in the drafting and negotiation of complex engineering and construction contracts priced between $100,000 and $8 Billion.


Construction Claims & Litigation

  • Successful lead counsel in defeating $60 Million claim by Owner against EPC Contractor on a complex industrial facility; after a 4-week jury trial, the jury returned a verdict rejecting 100% of Owner’s claims and awarding 100% of client’s $8 Million counterclaim.
  • Successful lead counsel in negotiating positive settlement for public Owner defending against $30 Million design claim, negotiated “no fault” termination of the Contractor and assisted in successful reprocurement.
  • Lead counsel defending against $40 Million delay, disruption and acceleration claim, and successfully won partial Motions to Dismiss with award of attorneys’ fees to the client pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
  • Successfully defended against construction and design defect claims on Major League Baseball stadium exceeding $43 Million and recovered approximately $30 Million for the client, having lead responsibility for the construction and design aspects of the case.
  • On the fourth day of a 2-week AAA arbitration hearing, obtained a favorable settlement for EPC power Contractor defending against subcontractor claims originally valued in excess of $20 Million, based on cross-examination of subcontractor’s first five witnesses.
  • Received $5.76 Million AAA arbitration award for Contractor on claim against Owner, including prevailing party legal fees of $165,500.
  • Prepared or defended against numerous construction delay, disruption and acceleration claims and engineering defect claims ranging from less than $1 Million to more than $100 Million, many of which were successfully settled prior to trial through mediation or other form of ADR.
  • Represented providers of professional services, including design, QA/QC, PM and CM services, in numerous complex professional liability actions brought by Owners, Contractors and Subcontractors.
  • Represented design-build Contractor asserting design and construction claims concerning Owner Furnished Equipment and defending against design and construction claims brought by Owner, successfully settling the lawsuit with an affirmative recovery of almost $40 Million and elimination of Owner’s $25 Million counterclaim.

Other Litigation

  • Successfully defended client in 42 U.S.C. § 1981 action; after 3-day jury trial Claimants withdrew their case and formally acknowledged their claims had no legal or factual basis.
  • Represented professional services client in multi-party triple wrongful death action arising from alleged design and QA/QC liability, and negotiated positive settlement for client prior to trial.
  • Obtained successful jury verdict on $10 Million claim arising out of catastrophic industrial plant fire involving complex fire cause analysis.


  • Advises clients in the drafting and negotiation of complex engineering and construction contracts priced between $100,000 and $8 Billion.
  • Frequently advises clients on federal government compliance, risk management and bid protests.

Additional Information


College of William & Mary, J.D., 1989

William & Mary Law Review

University of Virginia, B.A., 1985


Chambers USA - list of Top Construction Lawyers: 2005 - 2015

Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law and Construction Litigation Categories: 2009 - 2015

Washington DC's Best Lawyers , Construction Law and Litigation Categories: 2009 - 2015

Virginia's Best Lawyers, Construction Law and Litigation Categories: 2010 - 2015

Legal 500 United States - Construction Category: 2013 - 2015

Super Lawyers Business Edition: 2011 - 2012, 2014 - 2015

Washington, DC Super Lawyers: 2011, 2015

Virginia Super Lawyers: 2010, 2014-2015

Washington DC Legal Elite: 2010


Washington Building Congress

- Past Chairman's Council

- Board of Governors, 1998 - Present

- Chairman, Washington Building Congress Foundation, 2009 - 2010

- Immediate WBC Past Chairman, 2009 - 2010

- WBC Chairman, 2008 - 2009

- WBC Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Director, 1999 - 2008

American Bar Association

- Forum on Construction Law

  - Steering Committee, Government Construction Division

- Litigation Section

- Public Contract Law Section

- Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section


District of Columbia


New York

Colorado (Inactive)

University of VirginiaBA 1985College of William and Mary
Washington Building CongressAmerican Bar Association

Office Location

1600 Tysons Boulevard, Suite 900
Tysons Corner, VA 22102
United States

Practice Areas

Construction Law (Arbitration and Mediation, Architects and Engineers, Commercial Development, Construction Disputes, Contract Review and Negotiation, Contractors, Design, Government Contracts, International, Plaintiffs, Public Agency, Residential Development, Surety)
Litigation - Construction