Local Firms Announce Construction Practice, Attorney Rankings by Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for 2023. According to press releases received by Law Week, seven Colorado firms were recognized for their construction practice and attorneys. The ranking process involved interviewing the firm’s clients and peers. Construction covers contractual advisor work within the construction industry for both the suppliers, and those clients employing these types of companies on their building plans,” notes Chambers and Partners on its website. Chambers and Partners is a legal research company that has been providing rankings for lawyers and law firms since its founding in 1989. 

Woods Aitken LLP

Woods Aitken LLP announced it earned four practice area rankings as well as nine individual rankings, including Colorado for construction law attorneys Kory George and Joel Heusinger. George is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law and Heusinger is a graduate of Duke University School of Law. 

“Construction law is a unique practice area…it touches all aspects of a construction client’s company,” Heusinger wrote Law Week via email. The firm’s construction team has been counseling clients since its founding in 1921. Both George and Heusinger counsel clients all over the construction industry, from general contractors to suppliers, assisting with “all stages of the construction process, from initial conversation to the resolution of disputes,” George wrote Law Week via email.

The team also has a strong female representation with nine attorneys total, “which is not always typical in this industry,” Heusinger noted. We would love to see the practice area foster young women and diverse attorneys being leaders in the law and for our clients.”

With the future and uncharted opportunities on the horizon for construction law, George anticipates a dramatic increase in the use of AI technology “which should help to optimize efficiencies and reduce costs.”

The Chambers ranking is particularly meaningful for George because the process involved interviewing the firm’s clients and peers. “This is a great recognition that only shows [the] tip of the iceberg of who we are as a firm,” added Heusinger. 

Lewis Roca

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie announced it earned 30 individual rankings and 13 practice area rankings including five individual rankings and two practice area rankings in Colorado. For construction, the firm said Chambers recognized Denver partner Ben Ochoa, a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School.

Ochoa has been part of the construction law practice group at Lewis Roca for over 35 years and even served as the chair. His experience expands across litigation, arbitration and mediation for a broad range of construction disputes for clients who include construction lenders, owners and developers, special districts, contractors and design professionals. 

“Ben’s practice is part of a well-established construction team that is involved in some of the southwest U.S.’s biggest construction projects,” Lisa Simon provided from the firm to Law Week via email. Simon is the chief marketing and business development officer at Lewis Roca.

Over the last several years, Ochoa’s focus has been on the area of alternative dispute resolution. As a neutral construction arbitrator and mediator, he is often sought out for his understanding of the nuances of construction contracts and disputes. 

“The best recognition comes from clients who know that Ben and the firm have helped them achieve their most important business goals,” the firm added.

While he appreciates the recognition given by Chambers USA, Ochoa wrote to Law Week, he gets “the most professional satisfaction by being recognized by clients who regularly and often repeatedly ask me [to] represent them to help resolve their construction disputes either through litigation and/or ADR.”

Sherman & Howard 

Sherman & Howard announced it earned 22 individual rankings and nine practice area rankings. The firm’s construction practice, as well as two of its attorneys, Tamir Goldstein and Ryan Klein, were recognized in Colorado. Goldstein is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley School of Law and Klein is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law.

The firm’s construction practice is one of the largest practices of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region, Goldstein told Law Week via email, and has been for “approximately four decades.” Its footprint includes more than a dozen attorneys in multiple offices. The team includes professionals in engineering and contracting, former government attorneys, as well as experienced arbitrators and mediators of construction disputes. 

The construction team has been very busy the past several years, with this year being no exception. “There has been some increased activity in certain areas, such as government construction,” Klein wrote to Law Week via email. “As a result, the group is expanding the number of attorneys to address the increased demand.”

Moving forward, the industry is likely to see an increase in government construction in Colorado, added Klein. With this increasing demand, its construction “practice area could use some additional experienced construction-knowledgeable mediators and arbitrators,” Goldstein wrote to Law Week via email. 

Holland & Hart 

Holland & Hart announced it earned 108 individual rankings and 40 practice area rankings. The firm was ranked in Colorado for its construction practice area with individual rankings for construction attorneys Timothy Gordon and Sean Hanlon. Gordon is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and Hanlon is a graduate of The University of Tulsa College of Law.

Its construction and development team focuses on large-scale commercial and infrastructure construction projects assisting owners, developers and contractors navigate the construction industry. Holland & Hart has 35 construction and development project lawyers across the country including in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Alaska and Wyoming. “We design our client teams based on the project needs,” Hanlon wrote to Law Week via email.

The team guides clients through the various facets of a construction project including development, real estate, design and more. It also deals with transactional and project documentation and counseling. In addition, the lawyers resolve any disputes through active and engaged mediation, litigation, arbitration and appeals.

Even through the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects continued and so has its business. “This past year we have represented clients across the country in a wide variety of industries and matters,” Gordon wrote to Law Week via email.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by Chambers for our work,” Gordon and Hanlon added. “It is a meaningful recognition that we appreciate and do not take lightly.”

Adams and Reese

Adams and Reese announced it earned 29 individual rankings and 13 practice area rankings. 

“Adams and Reese has more than 75 construction attorneys, equating to one of the largest construction practices in the country,” Gabriel Pinilla, Denver partner at Adams and Reese, wrote to Law Week via email. 

Hilary Morgan is one of those attorneys. Morgan, a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, practices commercial litigation with a focus on construction law out of the firm’s Denver and Tampa offices. Growing up, my father was a general contractor and later a landscape architect and my sister is a civil engineer, so construction law was a natural fit,” Morgan wrote Law Week via email. 

Morgan and the firm’s construction practice fight for clients whether it’s regarding payment, surety bond claims or defending against improper payment claims. The team guides its clients through navigating contract negotiations, assisting with issues like defective work and warranty issues, as well as all other issues that come up during the process. 

Her commitment has earned her other recognitions like Best Lawyers, Ones to Watch in Administrative/ Regulatory Law, Construction Law and Litigation – Construction in 2022.

Morgan’s recognition is “a testament that clients continue to trust in Adams and Reese to deliver comprehensive counsel to all facets of their operations,” noted Pinilla.

Looking to the future, Morgan says technology is the way forward. “From smart project management systems to 360-degree cameras to AI, there are so many developments that will change this practice area,” she added. 

Fox Rothschild LLP

Fox Rothschild LLP announced the firm was recognized for construction in Colorado along with attorney Patrick Casey. Casey, co-chair of the firm’s national construction practice and managing partner of its Denver office, is a graduate of Gonzaga University School of Law. 

The firm’s construction team is “nationally recognized by Chambers & Partners, Construction Executive Magazine, and other publications for a reason,” the firm wrote Law Week via email. “It is comprised of seasoned attorneys who offer clients robust experience and market knowledge across a range of industry sectors and project types.” 

The team advises clients on cases dealing with major federal construction contracts, international infrastructure projects, private sector matters and more.

“Most of the cases we are currently litigating stem from projects that began before the pandemic,” Casey wrote to Law Week via email. “Given the surge in construction that has occurred since early 2020 and the unusual circumstances of the past three years, we anticipate a flood of new construction cases in the coming months.”

This surge has only further propelled the firm into the legal spotlight. While this recognition is a great honor for the firm, “Thanks to Chambers, everyone now knows what we have known for years: the firm’s construction attorneys are among the best [in] the country,” added Casey.  

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced it earned 21 practice area rankings and 52 individual rankings. These included recognition for the firm’s construction practice and Colorado attorneys Jonathan Pray and Kevin Walsh. Pray is a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and Walsh is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law. 

The firm’s construction practice group assists clients with every phase of their projects including drafting and negotiating design, construction, public works contracts and more. In addition to the thorough process the attorneys help guide their clients through, they also collaborate with their real estate department to support their clients in acquiring property. 

“The Colorado market continues to get more and more sophisticated, and we expect to see continued increases in the size and complexity of projects around the state,” Pray wrote to Law Week via email. “Parallel to that, we expect to see renewed interest in alternative delivery methods, such as design-build.”

While Brownstein has seen a decline in new project work in the past year, Pray is hopeful this trend will reverse in 2024. He also hopes its practice will help lead market and statutory changes, as well as the large-scale conversion of office spaces into residential spaces for families. 

Pray was also named in Colorado Super Lawyers 2023 and Walsh was recognized in Colorado Rising Stars 2023; both for construction litigation. 

“Being recognized along with our peers by Chambers is always an honor as they are seen as a stalwart of the legal industry stalwart,” Maria Miller provided from the firm to Law Week via email. Miller is a contract communications specialist at Brownstein. 

According to press releases Law Week Colorado received, other commercial litigators who made the Chambers list for construction this year include Alvin Cohen of Woods Aitken LLP and Kevin Bridston of Holland & Hart.

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