Michael Vardaro, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Photo

Michael J. Vardaro

Managing Partner
LEED AP
  • New York, NY
    801 Second Avenue
    New York, NY 10017

Overview

Michael J. Vardaro, Managing Partner at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, is a former construction worker with a degree in civil engineering who focuses his practice on construction litigation, drafting and negotiating construction contracts, and providing advice to a variety of construction industry clients.

Mr. Vardaro's unique background gives him the ability to understand the intricacies and nuances of the construction process and to provide focused and innovative counseling to clients ranging from construction companies to owners/developers to architects and engineers.

Mr. Vardaro successfully represents clients in complex commercial and construction litigation matters in venues across the country. He has extensive experience resolving claims through mediation as well as representing clients before administrative boards and arbitration panels. 

In addition to dispute resolution, Mr. Vardaro drafts and negotiates complex construction contracts for various project types around the world and regularly counsels clients with respect to professional licensing, corporate organization and transition, general business matters, risk management and insurance issues. He works extensively with regard to advancements in the construction process, including design build, integrated project delivery (IPD), building information modeling (BIM), and sustainable/green design and construction. Other relevant experience includes representing clients in international matters including in the Middle East.

Mr. Vardaro is well known for expertise on the ethics of construction, and is a frequent speaker on the topic. He has a particular interest in the Citicorp building in midtown Manhattan and the ethical issues that arose many years after that project was completed. He appeared on the Science Channel series Engineering Catastrophes ​to discuss problems with the building's design.

Mr. Vardaro was named a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America. He was recognized for his experience and expertise as a leading construction lawyer by The Legal 500, Super Lawyers and has received the notable AV from Martindale-Hubbell.  Mr. Vardaro has also been a featured guest lecturer at Columbia University and New York Polytechnic University speaking about legal issues in the construction industry. 

Mr. Vardaro is a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Active Design. He is also a member of the New York Building Congress and the American Council of Engineering Companies.


​Michael Vardaro was featured in Engineering Catastrophes, Science Channel.

Experience

Representative Matters

Mr. Vardaro successfully represents clients in complex commercial and construction litigation matters in venues across the country. He has extensive experience resolving claims through mediation as well as representing clients before administrative boards and arbitration panels. 

In addition to dispute resolution, Mr. Vardaro drafts and negotiates complex construction contracts for various project types around the world and regularly counsels clients with respect to professional licensing, corporate organization and transition, general business matters, risk management and insurance issues.

The following are select representative matters:

Aviation

Commercial

Correctional Institutions

Cultural Institutions

Environmental

Government

Hospitality

Commercial

Hospitality

Infrastructure

Manufacturing

Mixed-Use

P3, EPC & Design-Build

Power Generation & Distribution

Residential

Mixed-Use

Sports & Entertainment

Mixed-Use

Honors

Honors & Recognitions

News & Events

News

Speaking Engagements

  • event
    09.15.2020
    Online

    Michael J. Vardaro, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP

    Ken Simons, The Associated General Contractors of America

    Frank Giunta, HKA Global

    Michael Vardaro will discuss how COVID-19 is shaping our economy as a member of an ABA Construction Law Forum panel . Contrarian investors and companies find opportunities in good times and bad. More than half a year into the COVID-19 crisis what sectors of the economy are prospering in spite or because of the pandemic? How will these developing trends shape the future of the construction economy? 

  • event
    05.05.2020
    WEBINAR

    Tara Mulrooney, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP; Mitch Simpler-JB&B; Joanna Frank-Center for Active Design; Christopher Sharples-SHoP Architects; Andrew Demming-Gardiner & Theobold

    The Post Pandemic Office: Perspectives on the New Normal.  A recording of the webinar, Panelists' Questions & Answers and a Program Summary can found be below.

  • event
    04.02.2020
    Webinar

    Michael Vardaro, Managing Partner

    Michael Vardaro, Zetlin & De Chiara's Managing Partner, provided insights on COVID-19 construction contract issues and overall business advice to senior-level Architecture and Engineering executives. He was a member of a panel of experts who shared their views in an interactive virtual roundtable format. The speakers provided practical and timely advice in an uncertain business environment.

  • event
    11.15.2019
    San Diego

    Michael J. Vardaro

    Michael Vardaro and fellow speakers: Elena Brescia-SCAPE; Gregg Garmisa-Studio Gang; and Stephen Whitehorn-Empowerment Whitehorn will provide an insider's guide to contracts.

  • event
    08.20.2019
    Center for Architecture

    Michael J. Vardaro - Managing Partner 

    Patricia A. Harris - Special Counsel & Founder and CEO of LicenseSure LLC 

    State laws and regulations affecting architectural practice are voluminous, conflict from state to state, and can impact fundamental aspects of doing business—including licensing, entity formation, marketing, branding and solicitations. For those unaware of or failing to heed the rules, these laws and regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings. This seminar will highlight specific areas where firms, often inadvertently, breach local laws or ethical rules, and will address when regulatory authorities are likely to look for violations. 

  • event
    11.30.2018

    Michael Vardaro, Moderator

    Keith J. Stevens - L’Abbate, Balkan, Colavita & Contini, LLP; Vince Cammalleri - Simpson Gumpertz & Heger; Charles F. Boland - GREYHAWK; Nathaniel B. Smith - Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

  • event
  • event
    2017
    Multijurisdictional Practices: An Exploration of the Financial, Legal and Marketing Issues related to Providing Services through Multiple Entities - CFO Forum
  • event
    09.19.2017

    Michael Vardaro, Moderator

  • event
    01.30.2017
    Michael Vardaro, Moderator
  • event

    Michael Vardaro, Moderator

    Patricia Harris - LicenseSure

  • event
    11.01.2016
    Michael Vardaro, Moderator
  • event
    11.2015
    Bisnow’s 6th Annual NYC Construction & Development Summit
  • event
  • event
    08.2013
    Ethics for Design Professionals Webinar
  • event
    06.2013
    AIA Trust Risk Management
    AIA National Convention
  • event
    06.2013
    Legal Issues in BIM
  • event
    07.2012
    Ethics for Architects & Engineers
  • event
    04.2012
    Bada Bing, Bada BIM: Sorting Through the Sizzle to Draft Meangingful BIM Contract Terms
  • event
    03.2012
    BIM Legal Risk - Real or Imagined?
  • event
    03.2012
    The Legal Risk of BIM
  • event
    02.2012
    Engineering Ethics for International Projects
  • event
    11.2011
    Energy, Energy, Energy
  • event
    10.2011
    Fall Business Conference: Ethics for Engineers
  • event
    05.2011
    50th Annual Meeting of Invited Attorneys - The Citicorp Center Project: LeMessurier Stands Tall
  • event
    05.2011
    BIM Legal Risk – Real or Imagined?
  • event
    05.2011
    Engineering Ethics: Making the Right Choice
  • event
    01.01.2011
    Ethics for Engineers
  • event
    10.2010
    AIA New York State Convention: Is Your Firm Addressing Green Building Issues?
  • event
    07.2010
    The Virtual Contractor: The Next Generation of Construction Contractors
  • event
    07.2009
    Construction Contract Negotiations
  • event
    11.2008
     AIA/ACEC Special Advisory Risk Management Committee Meeting: Insurance Perspectives
  • event
    10.2008
    Architect Symposium: Ownership Transition 
  • event
    09.2008
    AIA New York State Convention - BIM: What Architects Need to Know
  • event
    08.2008
    It's a BIM New World: The Next Revolution in Design and Construction Technology
  • event
    06.2008
    AIA/ACEC Special Advisory Risk Management Committee Meeting: When the Crane Falls
  • event
    02.2008
    New Contract Form
  • event
    11.2007
    Second Annual BIM Symposium
  • event
    12.2006
    Construction Scheduling
  • event
    11.2006
    Design Build
  • event
    10.2006
    New York State Next Generation Housing Convention: Design Build Project Delivery Alternative
  • event
    05.2006
    ACEC Contracts Committee: Building Security Design

Publications

  • publication
    05.05.2020

    Cities with their dense population, crowded public transportation system and busy high-rise office buildings, presents many challenges in the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19. As Governors across the country prepare for the return to the workplace, employers and building owners have embarked on plans for re-opening the office.

    On May 5, 2020, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP hosted a webinar that discussed the Post Pandemic Office. The expert panel including, Mitch Simpler-JB&B, Andrew Demming-Gardiner & Theobold, Joanna Frank-Center for Active Design, Christopher Sharples-SHoP Architects, and moderated by Z&D Partner Tara Mulrooney, offered its perspectives on what steps should be taken immediately and how offices might change in the future.

  • publication
    05.05.2020

    Cities with their dense populations, crowded public transportation systems and busy high-rise office buildings, present many challenges in the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19. As Governors across the country prepare for the return to the workplace, employers and building owners have embarked on plans for re-opening the office.

    On May 5, 2020, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP hosted a webinar that discussed the Post Pandemic Office. The expert panel including, Mitch Simpler, Jaros, Baum & Bolles, Andrew Demming-Gardiner & Theobold, Joanna Frank-Center for Active Design, Christopher Sharples-SHoP Architects, and moderated by Z&D Partner Tara Mulrooney, offered its perspectives on what steps should be taken immediately and how offices might change in the future.

  • publication
    01.02.2020

    As 2019 drew to a close, Governor Cuomo signed a bill on December 31st that had been passed by the New York State Legislature in June allowing certain New York City agencies to use the design-build project delivery system for construction projects.

  • publication
    10.23.2018

    Summer turned up the heat at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP where we were involved in two of the most prominent construction cases in the nation. With attorneys airborne between the East and West Coasts, the office has been busy on the ground with client matters, fielding questions from the press, speaking at industry events and supporting community and professional organizations. Even as the temperature outside cools, our high level of activity shows no signs of chilling.

  • publication
  • publication
    01.2017
    With New President Bullish on Building, Opportunity and Challenge Lie Ahead
    Real Estate Weekly 
  • publication
  • publication
  • publication
    04.2012
    Bada Bing, Bada BIM: Sorting Through the Sizzle to Draft Meangingful BIM Contract Terms
    ABA National Convention
  • publication
    02.2012
    New York's Design Professional Service Corporations: The New Choice
    Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review
  • publication
    07.2011
    Plugging Into Green To Power New York
    Real Estate Weekly
  • publication
    12.2010
    Construction and Corruption: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
    Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review
  • publication
    12.2010
    Greening the Globe: United Nations Developing Worldwide Building Emissions Monitoring Standards
    Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review
  • publication
    11.2010
    USGBC Seeks Feedback on Proposed LEED Rating Systems
    Zetlin & De Chiara LLP News Bulletin
  • publication
    2009
    Weighing the Issues on BIM Technology
    Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review
  • publication
    Spring 2008
    Doing Public Construction in NY? Wicks Law Changed Effective July 1st
    Hammer Magazine
  • publication
    11.2005
    NYC to Require LEED Certification on New Projects
    NY Real Estate Journal
  • publication
    01.2004
    Implications of NYC's Building Code Changes
    Real Estate Weekly
  • publication
    03.2003
    Design and Construction Entities and Licensing
    New York Construction Law, Aspen Publishers

Affiliations

Education

St. John's University, J.D.

Villanova University, B.C.E Civil Engineering

Admissions

  • New York
  • Florida
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont
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