Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino (VLMG)

Kirk E. Niemi


Kirk Niemi is an experienced construction industry attorney who focuses his practice on construction litigation, government contracts, surety, and associated contract issues.  He represents owners, general contractors, subcontractors, sureties and government agencies including highway departments and municipalities. He has extensive experience in complex matters before courts, arbitrators and mediators regarding various construction issues including mechanics' liens, acceleration claims, changes, defects, delay claims, liquidated damages, and payment bond claims. Throughout his career, Kirk has advised his clients how to reach the most cost effective favorable resolution to their disputes.

Kirk possesses significant hands-on experience with technological issues including IT setup and maintenance, data storage, retention and production.  Kirk leverages this experience to his client’s benefit, in particular with respect to eDiscovery issues, by implementing technology-based strategies, services and work-flows that fit the needs of the case rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all approach.  This comfort level allows Kirk to challenge preconceived notions of eDiscovery best practices and implement customized best practices for each case. Electronic discovery has become one of the single largest cost drivers in litigation, and Kirk is dedicated to reigning in these costs while maintaining best-in-class service.

Kirk has worked on matters involving nuclear power plants, bridges, highways, a professional baseball stadium, data centers, national intelligence facilities, office buildings (both federal and private), military bases, airports, hotel/resort complexes, industrial and petrochemical facilities, condominiums, water treatment facilities and wastewater treatment plants, amongst others. Kirk also has negotiated EPC power plant contracts on behalf of contractors.


  • Successfully represented international contractor in complex simultaneous disputes with electrical subcontractor and federal government arising out of delay and lost efficiency claims pertaining to a classified intelligence facility. Kirk was able to drive a settlement with the subcontractor while coordinating a pass-through claim to the government for portions of the subcontractor’s claims.
  • Successfully represented a state highway department in defending against a claim approaching $40 Million arising out of numerous alleged design deficiencies and inspection which was settled through mediation.
  • Represented an international contractor in negotiations for multiple EPC nuclear power plant contracts.
  • Represented international contractor in dispute with airport regarding performance guarantees of automated people mover system.
  • Represented highway department in disputes regarding constructability of largest cathedral arch bridge in North America.
  • Represented international contractor in disputes arising out of design and performance of a baseball stadium retractable roof.


  • Speaker: "Construction Delay, Acceleration, and Inefficiency Claims," Federal Publications, Sterling, VA, April 23-24, 2015.
  • Co-Author: "Mediation: When, How, and the Human Element," Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Meeting, Seoul, Korea, April 2013.
  • Panelist: “Onerous Contract Terms – Friend or Foe?”, ACC/AAAE Airport, Planning, Design & Construction Symposium, Denver, Colorado, February 2011.
  • Co-Author: "The Construction Industry in the Crosshairs: Legislative and Regulatory Proposals Impacting Contractors on Federally Funded Construction Projects," The Washington Building Congress, November 2007.
  • Speaker: "Condominium Construction: The State of the Market and What You Should Know - Legal Implications," Associated Builders and Contractors Virginia Chapter, October 2006. 
  • Author: "Keeping What You Were Paid: Potential Defenses to Bankruptcy Preference Actions," Journal of Construction Accounting and Taxation, December 2003.
  • Speaker: "Construction Contracts: Understanding Key Contract Clauses," Associated Builders and Contractors - Virginia Chapter, October 2003.
  • Author: "Accord & Satisfaction: The Dangers of Accepting a Partial Final Payment," Dig It! Heavy Construction Contractors Association, November 2002.
  • Author: "Don't Count on that Contract: Subcontractor Listing is No Guarantee of Award," MEInsights, National Electrical Contractors Association Management Education Institute, Summer 2002.
  • Co-Author: Chapter 4: Design-Build Claims - Case Law, in Design-Build Risk and Insurance (Ann Hickman ed., 2002), Insurance Risk Management Institute, Inc.
  • Author: "Lost in Cyberspace: Personal Jurisdiction in an Era of Non-Physical Presence," Fairfax Bar Association, June 1999.

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