Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino (VLMG)

Chambers USA recognizes VLMG Nationally & Statewide

» Posted June 1, 2022Christopher M. Burke, Brian R. Dugdale, Joseph S. Guarino, Bennett J. Lee, Todd R. Metz, Paul A. Varela, David WonderlickPublications

Chambers 2022


Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino once again has been recognized in the Chambers USA guide in the “Construction” category. 

For 2022, 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, Brian Dugdale, and David Wonderlick for their individual achievements.  As described by Chambers:


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.


Work highlights Represented Swinerton Builders, a general contractor, in a complex arbitration proceeding against the owner of a casino and hotel situated on tribal property in Brooks, California.

Notable practitioners

Construction - USA - Nationwide - Band 1

Ranked in Band 1, Paul Varela is eminently capable of handling the most complex contract planning, administrative and dispute resolution matters arising in the construction industry.


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: "To describe Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino as very strong does not even begin to do them justice."

Work highlights The firm represented HITT Contracting, the general contractor, in a dispute between HITT and Glenstone Foundation arising from the expansion of a new modern art museum in Maryland.

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. "Paul Varela is a go-to lawyer for federal construction issues, international arbitration and construction litigation on the East Coast." "Paul Varela is incredibly responsive and an excellent strategist." "Mr. Varela is outstanding in terms of personality, competence and capability as a legal expert."

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. "Todd Metz is an outstanding arbitration strategist, knowledgeable and has an excellent ability to comprehend complex technical matters."

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. "Joseph Guarino is savvy, knowledgeable, an incredible writer and a fierce and skillful advocate in a courtroom or arbitration proceeding." "Joseph Guarino is very detail-oriented."

Ranked in Band 2, 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. "Christopher Burke is an excellent construction attorney." "Christopher Burke is incredibly bright and able to quickly and thoroughly break down complex issues in construction disputes."Mr. Burke is meticulous; his technique of cross-examination is first-class and without peer."

Ranked in Band 4, Brian Dugdale advises on a wide array of construction matters, including contract negotiation, joint venture formation and dispute resolution.

Ranked as 'Up and Coming.' David Wonderlick is an expert construction practitioner who concentrates his practice on the representation of clients in construction and engineering disputes. "David Wonderlick displays an excellent ability to comprehend the technical aspects of a project, and precisely analyze the complicated claims of both parties."


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 Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino represented Swinerton Builders, a general contractor, in a complex arbitration against the owner of a casino and hotel situated on tribal property in Brooks, California. The claims and counterclaims covered alleged wrongful nonpayment, delay and defect.

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. "Bennett Lee is a highly skilled professional with good business judgment." "He demonstrates a mastery of the unique elements of design and construction law, which coupled with his depth of experience in high-profile projects, best positions the client for a positive outcome." "One of the best trial lawyers I have worked with."

Construction - Virginia

Construction - California

Construction - Nationwide

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