James J. Terry

Top rated construction litigation attorney in New York, New York

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
James J. Terry
Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

Practice Areas: Construction litigation, Administrative law, Alternative dispute resolution; view more

Licensed in New York since: 1978

Education: Columbia Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2010, 2013 - 2022

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

801 2nd Avenue
16th Floor
New York, NY 10017 Visit website


Attorney James J. Terry is a partner with Zetlin & De Chiara LLP law firm, and he works primarily out of the firm's law office in New York City. A top-rated and award-winning trial lawyer with more than 42 years of total legal experience, Mr. Terry provides exceptional counsel and support to clients throughout the greater New York City metro and surrounding areas who have legal needs involving construction law.

Over the course of his long and illustrious legal career, Mr. Terry has become a recognized authority in construction law, and he has handled thousands of cases involving construction defect claims, bid protests, delays and lost productivity, cumulative impact claims, and other issues. Along with maintaining a successful litigation practice, he routinely negotiates and drafts enforceable contracts for his clients while delineating clear responsibilities for all parties involved.

Moreover, he has extensive experience dealing with performance and payment bond agreements, and he also has considerable experience handling appeals. Drawing upon his in-depth legal knowledge, he has published articles and conducted numerous lectures and seminars across his region and around the country on a variety of legal topics on construction law and other related subjects.

Honored for his outstanding professionalism and service, Mr. Terry has earned an AV Preeminent peer review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell along with consistent recognition from The Best Lawyers in America. He has also received many other top rankings and endorsements from his peers as well as the Clients' Choice Award from Avvo.

A summa cum laude graduate of New York University, Mr. Terry began his legal career in 1978 after obtaining his Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law and his license to practice from the New York State Bar Association. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York as well as before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd and 3rd Circuits.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Construction litigation: business, Administrative law, Alternative dispute resolution, Business/corporate, Employment & labor: employee, Intellectual property

Focus areas

Construction defects, Contracts

  • 50% Construction litigation: business
  • 10% Administrative law
  • 10% Alternative dispute resolution
  • 10% Business/corporate
  • 10% Employment & labor: employee
  • 10% Intellectual property

First Admitted: 1978, New York

Professional Webpage: https://www.zdlaw.com/professionals-james-j-terry

  • New York Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine
  • , AV Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • , Best Lawyers, Construction Law, 2016
  • , Client Choice Awards, Construction, 2016
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • Court-Annexed Arbitration Program, Arbitrator
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • New York County Lawyers Association
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • New York
  • New York State Bar Association
  • New York Building Congress - Public Building and Higher Education Committees, Member
  • American Bar Association – Forum on the Construction Industry, Member
  • Federal Bar Council
Educational Background:
  • New York University, B.A., summa cum laude
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Owner/Contractor Agreements: A Drafter's Dozen, Real Estate Weekly
  • Integrated Project Delivery: An Industry Overview, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review
  • Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Fall 2018 Update, Spring 2018 Update, Fall 2017 Update
  • Mock Mediation Adds Dimension to Columbia University Graduate Course
  • Updated Guidance for New York Construction Businesses
  • Owner-Contractor Agreements: Understanding Provisions Affecting the Design Professional
  • Lecturer – "Performance Bond Surety's Duty of Investigation," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, January 2011
  • COVID - 19 Challenges to the Construction Industry
  • Author - China: New Regulations Establishing Foreign Invested Partnerships," Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review, December 2010
  • Author - "Legislative Alert: Real Estate Deductions for Commercial Properties," Quarterly Review, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, 2010
  • Author - "Recent Construction Contract Act Amendments Impact the Owner/Developer – Contractor Relationship," Quarterly Review, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, 2010
  • Lecturer – New York County Lawyers Association and Tort/Insurance Practice Section of American Bar Association
  • Lecturer – "The Fundamentals of Construction Contracts: Understanding the Issues," Lorman Educational Services Seminar
  • Arbitrator – Court-Annexed Arbitration Program, U.S. District Court for Eastern District of New York
  • Moderator, For Design Professionals: New Work Opportunities, New York State MWBE Forum, 2012
  • Speaker, 19th Annual Commercial Real Estate Institute, PLI, 2017
  • Author, Project Labor Agreement: An Owner's Tool For Controlling Construction Costs, Mann Report, 2013
  • Co-Author, What do you mean there's an issue with my additional insured coverage?, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP News bulletin, zdlaw.com/news/legal-alerts/what-do-you-mean-theres-an-issue-with-my-additional-insured-coverage-by-james-terry-and-christopher-long, 2013
  • Leveraging Labor to Control Costs, Construction Today, 2014
  • Author, Top 10 Contract Tips for Owners and Developers, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, 2017
  • Author, Project Labor Agreements, an Owner's Tool for Controlling Costs, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, 2017
  • Featured, Bracing for Lien Times, The Real Deal, 2017
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Moot Court Judge, Columbia Law School
  • Construction Roundtable

Office location for James J. Terry

801 2nd Avenue
16th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 646-916-3174


11 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2010, 2013 - 2022

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