Michael K. De Chiara

Top rated construction litigation attorney in New York, New York

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
Michael K. De Chiara
Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

Practice Areas: Construction litigation, Business & corporate, Employment & labor; view more

Licensed in New York since: 1984

Education: Vanderbilt University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2023

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

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


Attorney Michael K. De Chiara is co-founder and senior partner with Zetlin & De Chiara LLP law firm, which has law offices in New York, New York; Caldwell, New Jersey; and Stamford, Connecticut. Working primarily out of the firm's New York location, Mr. Chiara focuses his practice almost exclusively on construction law, and he has become a recognized leader in this legal area.

Throughout the course of his legal career spanning more than 36 years, Mr. Chiara has handled thousands of cases involving virtually all aspects of construction law and related issues. Along with maintaining a successful construction litigation practice, he regularly consults with his clients to help them make the best-informed decisions regarding the matters they need to address, and he has served as counsel to some of the nation's largest construction, engineering and architectural firms.

He also holds the designation of being the only construction attorney in private practice to represent the Federal General Services Administration, defending the organization against claims involving more than $100 million. He has also represented the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority as well as the United Nations, and he is currently serving as counsel in a high-profile case involving a large condominium dispute in San Francisco.

Mr. Chiara has drafted contractor agreements for some of the city's most prominent real estate developers, with budgets exceeding $850 million. He also serves as General Counsel to the American Institute of Architects as well as to New York State and the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York. He has also volunteered his time and services for a variety of historical architectural preservation initiatives.

In honor of his exemplary professionalism and service, Mr. Chiara has received the AIA New York State President’s Citation for Outstanding Service along with the March of Dimes’ Thomas E. Diana Spirit of Volunteerism Award. He also holds an AV Preeminent peer review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell, and he has received consistent recognition from The Best Lawyers in America as well as many other top rankings and endorsements from his peers.

Mr. Chiara began his legal career in 1984 after obtaining his Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School and his license to practice from the New York State Bar Association. He is also admitted to practice in New Jersey as well as before the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

*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.

Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America© are registered trademarks of BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC. The names, logo, and database are protected under the trademark, copyright, and fair use laws of the United States of America. Any use of name, including in electronic form, must be made only by permission and under the guidelines of BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC.

Practice areas

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

Focus areas

Contracts, Business organizations, Employment law - employee, Intellectual property law

  • 30% Construction litigation: business
  • 20% Business/corporate
  • 20% Employment & labor: employee
  • 10% Administrative law
  • 10% Alternative dispute resolution
  • 10% Intellectual property

First Admitted: 1984, New York

Professional Webpage: https://www.zdlaw.com/professionals-michael-k-de-chiara

  • Honorary Member, AIA New York State Award
  • AV Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2009-2016 Best Lawyers of America
  • 2009 March of Dimes Transportation & Construction Thomas E. Diana Spirit of Volunteerism Award
  • 2009-2017 Chambers USA - Leading Lawyer in Construction Law
  • 2009-2010 Legal 500 USA
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, New York
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Institute of Architects New York State — General Counsel
  • New York Landmarks Conservancy — Board of Directors
  • Construction Management Association of America
  • New York City Bar Association
  • American Council of Engineering Companies of New York— General Counsel; Member, Legal Counsel Forum
  • New York Building Foundation — Board Member/General Counsel
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • American Bar Association — Member, Construction Industry Forum
  • AIA – ACEC/NY Special Advisory Committees — Chairman
  • New York Building Congress — Member, Energy; Healthcare; Planning, Growth & Sustainability; Public Building & Procurement; and Transportation & Infrastructure Committees
  • Society of American Military Engineers  
Educational Background:
  • SUNY at Stony Brook, B.E.M.E. Mechanical Engineering
  • Columbia University, Graduate Program Architecture
  • SUNY at Stony Brook, M.S. 
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Outlook 2017: The Future of Labor in Construction, Moderator, 2017
  • Serious Issues: A close analysis reveals the fallacy of integrated project delivery, Author, Construction Today, 2016
  • New Lobbying Law Could Hurt Development in New York City, Author, Real Estate Weekly, 2016
  • Work Rule Changes, No-Strike Clause ‘Critical’ for One Vanderbilt, Executive Says, Featured, Politico New York, 2017
  • Author, Foreign Employment Issues for the Unwary, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review, 2010
  • Panelist, An Introduction to IPD, 2009
  • Moderator, The State of the Insurance Industry Managing Risk and Protecting Profitability, 2010
  • Real Estate, Construction, Author, Are We Nature-Ready?, Mann Report, 2013
  • Outlook 2017: The Future of Labor in Construction: The Conversation Continues, Moderator, 2017
  • Leadership Lunch: Risky Business - What Marketing Leaders Need to Know to Position Their Firms in High-Risk A/E/C Environment, Speaker, Society for Marketing Professional Services, 2017
  • Anchin Construction & Development Forum: Play, Live, Work: Transformative Development, Moderator, Anchin, 2016
  • Biz groups fight town apprentice plan, Featured, Real Estate Weekly, 2018
  • Uncertain Future for Labor Unions, Featured, Real Estate Weekly, 2017

Office location for Michael K. De Chiara

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

Phone: 646-916-3174


18 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2023

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