Michael Zetlin, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Photo

Michael S. Zetlin

Senior Partner
  • New York, NY
    801 Second Avenue
    New York, NY 10017

Overview

Michael S. Zetlin, a founding partner of Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, is one of the country’s leading construction litigators and contract specialists who also serves as a strategic advisor to clients.

A graduate civil engineer and attorney, Mr. Zetlin has successfully litigated and arbitrated many multi-million dollar construction claims throughout the United States on projects ranging across all markets including institutional, commercial, residential, energy and infrastructure. He has also drafted and negotiated contracts on projects with construction values in the hundreds of millions of dollars within these sectors.

Mr. Zetlin’s knowledge of the built environment and the issues involved in design, construction, and project management make him a formidable advocate representing national and multi-national firms and a number of the premier owners, developers, financial institutions, design professionals and contractors for their construction-related ventures.

He is an arbitrator for the Large Complex Construction Case Panel of the American Arbitration Association.

Mr. Zetlin is a fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and is a member of the National Academy of Construction.  He holds the notable AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is consistently recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 USA Guide, Super Lawyers Magazine, and Best Lawyers of America as a leading litigator in construction law. He was twice named "Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America ​for Construction Law, New York City and Litigation - Construction, New York City.  He has been appointed to the International Who's Who of Construction Lawyers by Who's Who Legal.

Mr. Zetlin was honored for his depth of knowledge and experience within the construction industry at the New York Building Congress 2018 Industry Recognition Gala. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at City & State's 50 Over 50 award ceremony.

He serves as the General Counsel to the New York Building Congress and to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. An author and lecturer, he is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, teaching the graduate program Legal Issues in Building Construction, and is the co-editor of New York Construction Law, the definitive treatise on construction law in New York.

Experience

Representative Matters

Mr. Zetlin brings his dual legal/engineering background to most effectively represent the firm’s clients in complex litigation and arbitration. He also represents owners and developers from the onset of a project from team-selection, on contract methods (e.g., design-bid-build, design-build, general contractor vs. construction manager, Integrated Project Delivery, and P3), through the contract negotiation and drafting phases of projects. 

The following are select representative matters:

Honors

News & Events

News

Speaking Engagements

  • event
    11.12.2019
    Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

    Michael Zetlin, Senior Partner 

    Michael Zetlin will discuss the potential legal challenges to the MTA's Rules of Debarment with the Construciton Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

  • event
    10.31.2019
    Ten Grand Street - Brooklyn, NY

    Michael Zetlin, Moderator 

    Matthew Baron - Simon Baron Development; Stephen Pruess - Cushman & Wakefield; Christopher Schlank - Savanna; Alan Suna - Silvercup Studios

    Michael S. Zetlin, Senior Partner at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, will moderate the Queens Panel at the Commercial Observer's 5th Annual Brooklyn, Queens Forum on October 31, 2019.

  • event
    08.01.2019

    Michael Zetlin - Senior Partner

    Chengdong (C.D.) Xing

    Senior Partner Michael Zetlin along with associate Chengdong (C.D.) Xing presented on the MTA's New Debarment Rules for the Women Builders Council. 

  • event
    06.12.2019
    Helmsley Building

    Michael Zetlin, Moderator

    Tommy Craig - Hines; Granit Cjonbalaj - The We Company; Stephen Meringoff - Himmel + Meringof Properties; Darcy Stacom - New York City Capital Markets,

    At Commercial Observer’s Midtown Forum on June 12th, in a conversation moderated by Zetlin & De Chiara partner Michael Zetlin, panelists who’ve put their money on the line in the neighborhood discussed how they’re tackling the challenge of making some very young workers comfortable in some very old buildings.

  • event
    05.01.2019
    1221 Avenue of the Americas

    Michael Zetlin, Moderator

    Michael Goldban- Brookfield Properties Office Divison; R. Webber Hudson - Related Urban; Michael O'Neil - L&L Holding Company; Dan Wenhold - Fifth Wall Ventures

    Omnichannel was the word of the year as retailers continued to seek the perfect balance between their physical and online presence. Veteran retailers veered toward smaller spaces as rents continue to escalate and in-store sales battle online competition. Bustling, once retail-deficient areas became surprisingly robust shopping destinations at the same time the city prepares to embrace brand new neighborhoods that will upend the retail conversation in New York. And in the midst of it all, the retail apocalypse that seemed to loom in 2017 has now slowed to a crawl, with significant new leases still dotting the retail landscape.

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    10.31.2017
    Michael Zetlin, Moderator
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    03.16.2017

    Michael Zetlin, Moderator

    Eileen M. Diepenbrock - Diepenbrock Elkin Dauer Stephens McCandless LLP; Mark Heley, - Heley, Duncan & Melander, PLLP

  • event
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    11.10.2016

    Michael Zetlin, Moderator

    William Allan - Hunter Roberts Construction Group; Anita Konfederak - Merritt Engineering Consultants; Donna J. Ryan- Rose - Northwell Health

  • event
    03.10.2016
    Club 101, 101 Park Avenue, NYC
    Carol Patterson and Michael Zetlin, Moderators
  • event
    03.2016
    Transformative Projects, Transformative Risk Management, New York Build
  • event
    03.2016
    Attracting the Right Partner: Procuring PPPs, Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo 2016
  • event
    03.2016
    Commercial Observer Breakfast
    Offices 2025
  • event
    11.2015
    Bisnow’s 6th Annual NYC Construction & Development Summit
  • event
    06.18.2015
    Club 101 - 101, Park Avenue New York, NY 10178

    Daniel R. Garodnick

  • event
    06.04.2015
    The Harvard Club, New York City
    Eric L. Adams
  • event
    02.12.2015
    Anchin Construction & Development Summit
  • event
    12.04.2014
    Bisnow’s 5th Annual NYC Construction & Development Summit
  • event
    09.16.2014
    Schools, Colleges & Universities: a Construction Report Card
  • event
    05.2014
    Michael Zetlin Speaks at the Inaugural ISO 55000 Conference for the United States
  • event
    11.13.2013
    BUILDING BETTER: Boosting Your Construction Project’s Bottom Line
  • event
    10.09.2013
    New York’s Next Urban Agenda: What’s the Future of Real Estate, Development and Construction in New York City?
  • event
    02.2013
    BIM - Improved Life Cycle Management, Maintenance and Enhanced Energy Performance
    The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute
  • event
    11.2012
    Latest Innovations in the Design and Construction of Sports Facilities
  • event
    11.2012
    Where Will The Opportunities Be in 2013? NY and Beyond
  • event
    10.2012
    Public Private Partnerships - They're Coming to New York
  • event
    05.2012
    Project Labor Agreements: Real Savings or Window Dressing?
  • event
    05.2012
    BIM is Coming, BIM is Here - Now What? An Analysis of Legal Issues
  • event
    05.2012
    New York and Its Grid-Breaking Megaprojects: Themes & Issues
  • event
    04.2012
    Design Contracts and Other Design Issues
  • event
    03.2012
    Integrated Project Delivery: A New Paradigm for Construction Success
  • event
    01.2012
    ACEC New York Winter Conference: Corporate Governance - What Does It Mean for My Firm?
  • event
    04.2011
    AIA Fast Track Series: Architectural Law
  • event
    02.2011
    P3s: The Next Generation of Sustainable Development
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    02.2011
    Engineering Excellence Awards Competition
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    10.2010
    Your Firm: What's It Worth?
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    09.2010
    Protecting Profitability: Presenting Persuasive Claims on Public Projects without Running Afoul of the False Claims Act
  • event
    11.2008
    The Current Economic Crisis Affecting the Tri-State Region
  • event
    11.2008
    Legal Issues in Building Information Modeling Management

Publications

Affiliations

Education

Fordham University School of Law, J.D.

Columbia University, B.S., Civil Engineering

Admissions

  • New York
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
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