Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino (VLMG)

Chambers and Partners

 

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino once again has been recognized in the Chambers USA guide in the “Construction” category.  VLMG is described as a "well-respected boutique comprised of construction law specialists on both coasts.  Handles sensitive and substantial cases for many of the country's top 100 industry players."  A client lauded the firm for "help[ing] us overcome major construction hurdles on key projects in a timely, intelligent and creative manner; they really know construction law and come up with great ideas and insights."

For 2021, VLMG is again ranked in Band 1 for Construction in Virginia, and in Band 3 both in California and Nationwide.

To identify and rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms, Chambers and Partners, a UK-based research and publishing group, employs a team of more than 200 full-time researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of recent work and extensive interviews.

Chambers and Partners also recognized Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, Todd Metz, Joseph Guarino, Christopher Burke, and Brian Dugdale for their individual achievements.  As described by Chambers:

USA NATIONWIDE

What the team is known for Well-respected boutique comprised of construction law specialists on both coasts. Handles sensitive and substantial cases for many of the country's top industry players. Specializes in industrial and power sector projects with engineering, procurement and construction contractors and developers. Increasingly active in international construction projects and arbitrations and has significant experience in government contract disputes. Particularly skilled in cross-border and multijurisdictional matters.

Strengths A client reports: "I've been particularly impressed by how quickly they grasp the details of some very complicated engineering and design issues."

Sources say: "They provide knowledgeable and communicative advice."

Clients commend the groups' "excellent ability for strategic planning, high efficiency and capability to comprehend complex technical matters with respect to construction."

Work highlights Continued to represent a joint venture comprised of Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR, and Big-D Construction in arbitration proceedings arising from a $1.5 billion classified US Government facility project located in Utah. The firm recently advised on claims brought against the joint venture's design engineer.

Notable practitioners

Construction - USA - Nationwide - Band 1

Ranked in Band 1, Paul Varela is "outstanding in terms of both his personality and his capability as a legal expert and his arbitration tactics are both strategic and on-target," reports a client. He is eminently capable of handling the most complex contract planning, administrative and dispute resolution matters arising in the construction industry.

VIRGINIA

What the team is known for Boutique construction firm with an impressive international client base. Boasts a deep bench of highly experienced construction law specialists handling a wide variety of contentious and noncontentious mandates. Regularly advises clients on high-value dispute resolution proceedings domestically and internationally. Noted for its expertise in the power and industrial sectors and also involved in the construction of a number of high-end rail, highway and airport developments.

Strengths An impressed client says: "They are the best construction attorneys I know; they are extremely experienced, practical, they get into the weeds and know every detail of the case and help you use it to your advantage."

Another notes: "The performance of this firm is outstanding and exceptional. The team is efficient, punctual, affable, flexible and cost-efficient."

Work highlights Represented Skanska in multiple subcontractor disputes relating to the new headquarters for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority.

Notable practitioners

Construction - Virginia - Band 1

Ranked in Band 1, Paul Varela maintains an excellent reputation as a leading construction practitioner with broad experience in both contentious and noncontentious matters relating to large commercial development and infrastructure projects. Clients note "He is outstanding in terms of both his personality and his capability as a legal expert," and that "He is absolutely at the top of the list for construction matters."

Construction - Virginia

Ranked in Band 2, Todd Metz focuses his practice on disputes, with experience in arbitration proceedings as well as litigation relating to major domestic and international construction projects. Clients comment "He is an outstanding arbitration strategist; he is knowledgeable and shows excellent ability to comprehend complex technical matters," and that "He is fantastic, impressive and gives good value."

Ranked in Band 3, Joseph Guarino primarily handles dispute resolution in the construction sector, including major claims relating to the development of energy facilities, hotel complexes and commercial buildings. A client commented that "He is one of the best construction lawyers I have ever worked with; he is really practical and experienced."

Ranked in Band 3, Christopher Burke is noted for his expertise in complex construction disputes, advising on litigation as well as arbitration proceedings. He has particular experience in matters relating to the construction of power plants and public infrastructure. Clients say "He is meticulous and has high capability to comprehend complex facts and technical matters with respect to construction and his technique of cross-examination is first class," and "He is incredible - he is so smart and has a great way about him."

Ranked in Band 4, Brian Dugdale advises on a wide array of construction matters, including contract negotiation, joint venture formation and dispute resolution. "He is well prepared and does his research," one client notes, while another describes him as "smart, tenacious, skilled and an excellent writer."

CALIFORNIA

What the team is known for Experienced team with a large presence in Northern California. Handles the full gamut of construction law matters, from contract drafting to project management and dispute resolution. Particular focus on public work projects, often acting for state, federal and local governments. Also acts for major energy, transportation and engineering corporations.

A client notes "The firm has well-respected, knowledgeable construction lawyers."

Work highlights Represented the design firm HNTB in a lawsuit brought by the San Francisco 49ers seeking indemnity for an ADA class action regarding access to a new football stadium.

Notable practitioners

Ranked in Band 1, Bennett Lee advises his clients on the full gamut of matters relating to construction contracts, and is also regularly called upon to act as an arbitrator in complex construction disputes. Clients note "He has a great client list and clients love him. He is a fine lawyer," and "He's a good construction lawyer who knows what he is doing, is very well regarded and deserving of his reputation."

Construction - Virginia

Construction - California

Construction - Nationwide

 

 

undefined

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino once again has been recognized in the Chambers USA guide in the “Construction” category.  VLMG is described as a "well-respected boutique comprised of construction law specialists on both coasts.  Handles sensitive and substantial cases for many of the country's top 100 industry players."  A client lauded the firm for "help[ing] us overcome major construction hurdles on key projects in a timely, intelligent and creative manner; they really know construction law and come up with great ideas and insights."

For 2020, VLMG is again ranked in Band 1 for Construction in Virginia, and in Band 3 both in California and Nationwide.

To identify and rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms, Chambers and Partners, a UK-based research and publishing group, employs a team of more than 200 full-time researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of recent work and extensive interviews.

Chambers and Partners also recognized Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, Todd Metz, Joseph Guarino, Christopher Burke, and Brian Dugdale for their individual achievements.  As described by Chambers:

USA NATIONWIDE

What the team is known for Well-respected boutique comprised of construction law specialists on both coasts. Handles sensitive and substantial cases for many of the country's top industry players. Specializes in industrial and power sector projects with engineering, procurement and construction contractors and developers. Increasingly active in international construction projects and arbitrations and has significant experience in government contract disputes. Particularly skilled in cross-border and multijurisdictional matters.

Strengths A client reports: "I've been particularly impressed by how quickly they grasp the details of some very complicated engineering and design issues."

Sources say: "They provide knowledgeable and communicative advice."

Clients commend the groups' "excellent ability for strategic planning, high efficiency and capability to comprehend complex technical matters with respect to construction."

Work highlights Continued to represent a joint venture comprised of Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR, and Big-D Construction in arbitration proceedings arising from a $1.5 billion classified US Government facility project located in Utah. The firm recently advised on claims brought against the joint venture's design engineer.

Notable practitioners

Construction - USA - Nationwide - Band 1

Ranked in Band 1, Paul Varela is "outstanding in terms of both his personality and his capability as a legal expert and his arbitration tactics are both strategic and on-target," reports a client. He is eminently capable of handling the most complex contract planning, administrative and dispute resolution matters arising in the construction industry.

VIRGINIA

What the team is known for Boutique construction firm with an impressive international client base. Boasts a deep bench of highly experienced construction law specialists handling a wide variety of contentious and noncontentious mandates. Regularly advises clients on high-value dispute resolution proceedings domestically and internationally. Noted for its expertise in the power and industrial sectors and also involved in the construction of a number of high-end rail, highway and airport developments.

Strengths "The firm is among the best of the best in construction law," a client notes, adding that the team is "extremely knowledgeable and skilled, with a deep bench of talent, and always timely, thorough and reliable."

Work highlights Represented HITT Contracting in a $50 million payment dispute with Glenstone Foundation concerning the construction of a new modern art museum in Maryland.

Notable practitioners

Construction - Virginia - Band 1

Ranked in Band 1, Paul Varela is described by clients as a "skilled, polished, diplomatic and unflappable" attorney who "brings gravitas and a wealth of knowledge and experience" to a matter. He maintains an excellent reputation as a leading construction practitioner, with broad experience in both contentious and noncontentious matters relating to large commercial development and infrastructure projects.

Construction - Virginia

Ranked in Band 2, Todd Metz focuses his practice on disputes, with experience in arbitration proceedings as well as litigation relating to major domestic and international construction projects. A client says: "He is a very talented lawyer, but most importantly he places the interest of our organization above all other concerns."

Ranked in Band 3, Joseph Guarino is a "very good construction lawyer" who is "very talented," according to interviewees. He primarily handles dispute resolution in the construction sector, including major claims relating to the development of energy facilities, hotel complexes and commercial buildings.

Ranked in Band 4, Christopher Burke is noted for his expertise in complex construction disputes, advising on litigation as well as arbitration proceedings. He has particular experience in matters relating to the construction of power plants and public infrastructure. Interviewees describe him as "very smart and a legal strategist."

Also ranked in Band 4, Brian Dugdale advises on a wide array of construction matters, including contract negotiation, joint venture formation and dispute resolution. "He is well prepared and does his research," one client notes, while another describes him as "smart, tenacious, skilled and an excellent writer."

CALIFORNIA

What the team is known for Experienced team with a large presence in Northern California. Handles the full gamut of construction law matters, from contract drafting to project management and dispute resolution. Particular focus on public work projects, often acting for state, federal and local governments. Also acts for major energy, transportation and engineering corporations.

Work highlights Represented Chevron Corporation in connection with the arbitration of claims against an EPC contractor responsible for the design and construction of a water treatment plant on federally regulated land in New Mexico.

Notable practitioners

Ranked in Band 1, Bennett Lee is described as an "outstanding construction lawyer" by one impressed client, while another notes that he is "very knowledgeable, professional and an excellent speaker." He advises his clients on the full gamut of matters relating to construction contracts and is also regularly called upon to act as an arbitrator in complex construction disputes.

Construction - Virginia

Construction - California

Construction - Nationwide

 

 

undefined

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino once again has been recognized in the Chambers USA guide in the “Construction” category. The 2019 guide describes VLMG as a "well-respected boutique comprised of construction law specialists on both coasts.  Handles sensitive and substantial cases for many of the country's top 100 industry players."  A client lauded the firm for "help[ing] us overcome major construction hurdles on key projects in a timely, intelligent and creative manner; they really know construction law and come up with great ideas and insights."

For 2019, VLMG is again ranked in Band 1 for Construction in Virginia, Band 3 Nationwide and Band 4 in California.

To identify and rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms, Chambers and Partners, a UK-based research and publishing group, employs a team of more than 200 full-time researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of recent work and extensive interviews.

Chambers and Partners also recognized Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, Todd Metz, Joseph Guarino, Christopher Burke, and Brian Dugdale for their individual achievements.  As described by Chambers:

Ranked in Band 1, Paul Varela is regarded by market observers as a "truly outstanding lawyer" who is "very intelligent and smart."  One of the top construction lawyers in Virginia, his extensive experience spans infrastructure, transportation, energy, and industrial projects.  He is skilled at advising on contract planning and administration matters, with additional expertise in contentious matters. 

Bennett Lee maintains a significant construction practice, representing clients in arbitrations, construction contract disputes, and projects. He has particular experience advising on transportation infrastructure. One client calls him "fabulously knowledgeable, practical, and responsive" while other sources describe him as "very strategic."

Todd Metz specializes in litigation and arbitration construction disputes arising out of domestic and international projects acting on behalf of owners, contractors, and design professionals.  One source stated:  "He's a very talented lawyer who did a phenomenal job in a challenging case."  Metz predominantly focuses on contentious issues arising from construction and infrastructure projects.

Joe Guarino regularly handles all manner of construction disputes, including arbitrations.  He is experienced at advising on projects in the energy, healthcare, industrial, chemical, and transportation sectors, among others.  He also advises on the preparation, implementation, and termination of state, federal, and private contracts.

Chambers recognizes Christopher Burke as “definitely one of the up-and-coming attorneys” in the area of construction law, according to interviewees.  His practice primarily focuses on disputes arising from the development of infrastructure and power projects.

Recognized as “Up and Coming,” Brian Dugdale handles both contentious and noncontentious matters in the construction industry including contracts, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation.  He is particularly experienced at handling power, infrastructure, industrial, and government projects. 

 

 

           Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino has been once again been recognized in the Chambers USA guide in the “Construction” category. The 2018 guide describes VLMG as a "Boutique construction firm with an impressive international client base.  Boasts a deep bench of highly experienced construction law specialists as well as up-and-coming attorneys.  Regularly advises clients on high-value dispute resolution proceedings domestically and internationally.  Noted for its expertise in the power and industrial sectors."

Client comment:  "The firm demonstrates that it is client-focused consistently, passionately and with sincerity."

To identify and rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms, Chambers and Partners, a UK-based research and publishing group, employs a team of more than 140 full-time researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of recent work and extensive interviews.  When asked about VLMG, one such interviewee stated, "The firm has the capability to handle construction litigation of all sizes both domestically and internationally."

Paul Varela demonstrates "excellent legal skills while remaining sensitive to the business needs of his clients," report sources. One client comments: "His ability to learn and understand the technical issues astounded me." He handles contentious and noncontentious construction matters on behalf of domestic and international clients. His expertise includes government contracts and public-private partnerships. 

Bennett Lee is highly regarded for his practice covering both the transactional and contentious aspects of construction law. He regularly represents design engineering firms, contractors and owners and is said to be "very competent, well spoken, articulate and persuasive."

Todd Metz is "a seasoned and capable lawyer," report sources, particularly highlighting his "even temperament." Metz predominantly focuses on contentious issues arising from construction and infrastructure projects. He acts for contractors, owners and design professionals in litigation and arbitration. 

Joseph Guarino is “excellent with contract negotiations, a skilled litigator and overall a very professional attorney.” He handles disputes arising out of a wide range of projects, including power plants and hospitality projects.

Christopher Burke has significant experience handling high-value arbitrations involving construction projects. Clients say: "He's very knowledgeable, thorough and detailed."

Brian Dugdale is "very professional and thorough," according to clients. His wide-ranging experience includes negotiating construction and engineering agreements as well as handling dispute resolution.

 

 

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino has been once again been recognized in the Chambers USA guide in the “Construction” category. The 2017 guide describes VLMG as a firm that is widely respected by clients, who note a “deep bench of skilled and experienced construction lawyers” who "always provide a timely and thorough response." VLMG was also praised for being a "very client-focused” firm that “strives to provide quality service for a fair and reasonable fee." VLMG is ranked as a top firm Nationwide, “Band 1” in Virginia, and a “Noted Firm” in California.  

To identify and rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms, Chambers and Partners, a UK-based research and publishing group, employs a team of more than 140 full-time researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of recent work and extensive interviews.  When asked about VLMG, one such interviewee stated, “The service and results that I have obtained with this firm have been top-notch. I would rank them in the top echelon of the firms that I have dealt with who are experts in construction and surety law."    

Chambers and Partners also once again recognized Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, and Todd Metz for their individual achievements.  As described by Chambers:

Paul Varela is a highly regarded construction practitioner who is known for his work on both contentious and non-contentious construction matters. He is praised for his advocacy, with one interviewee saying: "an excellent lead counsel," describing him as "calm in the eye of the storm" and noting that he "inspires trust and confidence."  

Bennett Lee is a highly regarded construction litigator. Commentators describe him as "very sharp, intelligent and proactive," noting his "very good judgment" and "good legal strategy capabilities."  

Todd Metz "has consistently provided keen advice against tight deadlines, and his experience on complex construction contract issues has been a true asset for us," according to Chambers interviewees. He focuses on construction-related disputes and regularly works on matters relating to projects in the USA and abroad.   

Finally, Joseph Guarino and Christopher Burke are listed as “recognised practitioners” in Virginia.  


       

                                               

Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino was recognized in the Chambers USA 2016 guide as a "well-respected boutique compromised of construction law specialists on both coasts" that "handles sensitive and substantial cases for many of the country's top industry players" and "specializes in industrial and power sector projects with engineering, procurement and construction contractors and developers." VLMG was also praised as a "niche construction firm that has an impressive international client base."

To identify and rank the world’s best lawyers and law firms, Chambers and Partners, a UK-based research and publishing group, employs a team of more than 140 full-time researchers to conduct an in-depth assessment of recent work and extensive interviews.  When asked about VLMG, one such interviewee stated, "Their ability to keep an even keel and focus on the appropriate issues was outstanding. They kept things calm, under control and managed to keep things moving in the right direction."  Another client remarked, "Top-notch firm that has been a reliable, trusted partner. They have reasonable rates, strong litigators and the ability to meet client needs."  

Chambers and Partners also once again recognized Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, and Todd Metz as notable practitioners in 2016.  As described by Chambers: 

Paul Varela is a highly regarded construction practitioner who is known for his work on both contentious and non-contentious construction matters. He is praised for his advocacy, with one interviewee saying:"He has great courtroom strength, his cross examination skills are superb."

Bennett Lee is a highly regarded construction litigator based at Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino. Commentators describe him as "very sharp, intelligent and proactive," noting his "very good judgment" and "good legal strategy capabilities."

Todd Metz is "outstanding and a pleasure to deal with," according to sources. He focuses on construction-related disputes and regularly works on matters relating to projects in the USA and abroad. 

 

 


 

Chambers and Partners, a London-based publisher, selects leading firms and lawyers by researching firms and lawyers for each state, in over twenty areas of commercial law, and conducting over 5,000 interviews with top private practice attorneys and in-house counsel. The USA Guide was first published in 2003. 

As noted by Chambers USA, Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino, LLP is a "flourishing construction group" with "extensive construction industry experience and understanding" and a "deep bench of talent" in handling "national and international mandates with clear strength in dispute resolution."  Credited with being "very responsive and very knowledgeable," clients praise the firm's "common-sense approach; premier litigation skills; and excellent value."

Notable practitioners include Paul Varela, Bennett Lee, and Todd Metz:

Paul Varela has a varied practice involving national and international mandates for clients from all sectors.  He is adept at contract drafting, project management and litigation support. One effusive source reported that "he has decades of experience with significant projects all over the world."

Bennett Lee is well regarded by commentators for his constructive approach to complex disputes. He is described as "an unflinching, seasoned construction litigator and powerful advocate," whose "ability to predict the opposing counsel's next move is uncanny."

Todd Metz is well versed in the representation of contractors, owners, design professionals and sureties in a variety of construction matters. He works in numerous sectors, including transportation, energy and industrial projects. Sources say: "He will work incredibly hard for the clients' benefit. You can count on him for a thorough and complete analysis." 

 


VLMG is pleased to announce that three partners have been recognized in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, for their excellence in the practice area of Construction.  

Paul Varela of Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino is described as "tenacious but diplomatic - he has an excellent rapport with clients and opposing lawyers, with a great deal of experience across market segments." His practice centers on litigation and arbitration, representing major construction clients throughout the USA and internationally.

Todd Metz of Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino is highly praised by commentators for his practical and collaborative approach to disputes. He is notably experienced in the representation of clients in the energy and utilities sectors, with an impressive track record in international matters.

Bennett Lee recently joined Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino from Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald. According to observers, he is "a strong attorney" who "has a realistic approach to construction disputes." His practice covers a wide variety of matters concerning industrial and commercial construction.


Observers highlight Bennett Lee as "a solid litigator with a very good understanding of the contractor surety side of the construction business." Sources also say: "He has the ability to combine solid business strategy and business sense with his legal advice." He is also well-respected for his work as a mediator.

Todd Metz focuses on contentious matters, advising all parties on construction claims and bid protests throughout the USA and internationally. He is commended by sources as "a competent practitioner who presents his arguments persuasively."

Paul Varela advised Tishman Construction Corporation on a $500 million multiparty dispute pertaining to the 18 million sq ft mixed-use development CityCenter, located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Clients laud him as "a valuable asset who really understands our business." 

Disclaimer
Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino updates the content of this website on a periodic basis. Any content i) is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice; and, ii) is not intended to create, and your receipt and/or use of such content does not create, a lawyer-client relationship. You should not rely on any such content without first consulting a licensed attorney familiar with your particular facts and legal issues.