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Zetlin & De Chiara LLP


801 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
United States
(212) 682.6800

Firm Details

Firm Overview:

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP provides sophisticated, innovative legal representation and business counsel to some of the world’s most prominent real estate owners and commercial and residential developers, architects and engineers on all aspects of their complex construction projects and disputes. The firm’s attorneys provide highly insightful advice to clients because they bring a rare blend of expertise from their prior experience as in-house construction counsel, education in engineering and architecture and LEED accreditation. Zetlin & De Chiara has been involved with many iconic projects in the education, healthcare, hospitality, infrastructure, transportation, environmental and energy sectors.  The firm provides counsel throughout the construction planning, design and building process, from drafting and negotiating contracts to developing risk management strategies. Well-known for its courtroom results, the firm also represents clients in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Zetlin & De Chiara represents domestic and international clients in high-stakes, bet-the-firm matters. Many of the lawsuits in which the firm has been involved concerned projects outside of the United States. Zetlin & De Chiara also assists clients with business formation, licensing and corporate issues. Clients also seek the firm’s guidance on the benefits and challenges of new technologies, innovative methodologies, alternative construction delivery methods and industry trends. Zetlin & De Chiara serves as general counsel to numerous design, construction and real estate professional associations.  

Main Areas of Practice:  


Contract Preparation & Negotiation:

Zetlin & De Chiara has long been recognized as the pre-eminent firm in the drafting and negotiating of construction agreements between Design Professionals/Owners, Design Professionals/Sub-Consultants, Owners/Contractors, Owners/Construction Managers and Owners/Owner's Representatives. The firm is also well-versed in Project Labor Agreements and advises on their suitability and practicality for particular projects. Its attorneys are highly skilled in navigating the nuances of all construction delivery methods, including design-bid-build, design-build, construction management and Integrated Project Delivery. The firm has familiarity with the full range of public and private sector construction projects, including commercial, infrastructure, industrial, residential, institutional, retail and mixed-use. The firm has provided legal services on the following project types:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Aviation
  • Correction Institutions
  • Energy
  • Entertainment
  • Environmental
  • Gaming/casinos
  • Government Facilities
  • Healthcare and Hospitals
  • Hospitality
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Marine Structures
  • Mixed-Use Spaces
  • Museums and Galleries
  • Office and Commercial Buildings
  • Performing Arts Facilities
  • Schools and Universities
  • Stadiums and Arenas
  • Transportation
  • Waterfront Facilities  


Litigation & Alternate Dispute Resolution:

Drawing on their previous experience in architecture, engineering, construction and real estate, Zetlin & De Chiara attorneys recognize issues quickly and advocate proficiently on technical matters. The firm brings this depth of expertise to courtroom trials, mediations, arbitrations, appeals and administrative proceedings. The firm advises on strategies designed to prevent lengthy and expensive trials and aggressively represents clients during unavoidable litigation matters at both the state and federal levels. Areas of experience include:

  • Complex Contract Claims
  • Scope of Services
  • Changed Conditions
  • Property Damages
  • Fee Claims
  • Construction Safety Claims
  • Surety Claims
  • Catastrophic Claims
  • Errors & Omissions
  • Construction Defects
  • Design & Delay Claims
  • Construction-related disputes between adjacent property owners


Risk Management:

Zetlin & De Chiara is particularly skilled at devising strategies to reduce their clients’ exposure and strengthen their position from the beginning of a project and throughout the evolving phases of construction. During the risk evaluation process, attorneys identify areas of potential vulnerability and outline comprehensive dispute avoidance plans and risk reduction procedures. Zetlin & De Chiara successfully pursued and defended claims under general liability, first-party property coverage, OCIPs, CCIPs, Subguard and professional liability policies. The firm also advises on the management of changing circumstances, appropriate documentation and, where necessary, project restructuring. Zetlin & De Chiara stays at the forefront of construction industry trends in order to anticipate risk issues before they become a liability.  

Corporate & Employment Law:

The firm acts as general business counsel, offering specific guidance on how to prevent legal problems and how to protect its clients when issues do arise.    

Professional Licensing:

Licensing and registration standards for architects and engineers are complex, and can vary between states and among countries. Zetlin & De Chiara ensures that its clients meet the requirements unique to a particular project. The firm assists with offshore compliance issues through its longstanding relationships with counsel throughout the world.  

Intellectual Property & Emerging Technology:

Zetlin & De Chiara alerts clients to potential intellectual property issues involving new technologies and delivery protocols, such as Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery. The firm also offers the technical knowledge and experience necessary to prepare its clients for the impact these advancements will have on the planning, design and building process.  

International Projects:

Conducting business internationally can be a complicated process, which is why Zetlin & De Chiara is dedicated to helping clients navigate the increasingly complicated landscape of international construction. The firm's attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of intricacies involved in conducting business internationally. They also work closely with local counsel to enable clients to carefully evaluate international opportunities.


Michael Vardaro
Managing Partner


  • Chambers USA top ranked firm in NY for Construction
  • Legal 500 top construction law firm


Andrea K. Stimmel
Marketing Director

Firm Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Litigation - Construction

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Office Locations

United States

United States



Stamford, CT

Six Landmark Square, Fourth Floor

Stamford, CT 06905

United States

(203) 359.5733

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New Jersey

New Jersey

Caldwell, NJ

80 Bloomfield Avenue

Caldwell, NJ 07006

United States

(973) 364.9900

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New York

New York

New York, NY

801 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10017

United States

(212) 682.6800

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