Construction & Engineering

The Construction practice at McKenna Long & Aldridge (MLA) began more than 40 years ago. Notable early construction representation involved the Eisenhower Locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the City of San Diego Padres Ballpark Development Project, the Panama Canal Bridge at Balboa, and the Rayburn House Office Building and Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, DC. In the years since, the firm has developed a strong and diverse practice focusing on every area of construction and government contracts.

Today, MLA maintains its focus on all facets of federal and state public works projects, and provides services for commercial and private works construction projects as well. MLA attorneys have experience in subway and surface transportation, power generation, dams, pipelines, sewerage treatment, airports, military facilities, commercial buildings, industrial plants and housing projects. Notable examples are the San Diego Convention Center, the Los Angeles Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant.

Related practice departments at the firm assist clients with infrastructure development and finance, labor, employment, environmental and regulatory compliance and investigations.

We counsel many segments of the construction industry, including contractors and subcontractors, state and local governments, private owners and developers, engineers and architects, and financial institutions and suppliers. We also work with contractors involved in decontamination and decommissioning and toxic waste cleanup projects. We are leaders in our profession and understand the context of construction contracts, including our detailed understanding of engineering and scheduling disciplines.

Types of Projects

We assist clients on a wide range of public and private construction, from federal public works and military projects, state and local public facilities, to commercial projects. Having attorneys with a background of service to the construction industry enables MLA to provide effective solutions to meet client needs.

Typical projects include:



Our construction practice attorneys work with clients to prepare contracts, special clauses and agreements, and advise on matters involving bidding, performance, cost allowability and recovery and regulatory issues, including employment and environmental requirements. We offer timely assistance on contract and regulatory matters critical to project and business success. We view our job as solving clients' problems.

Examples of these types of legal services include:


The firm recognizes the importance of litigation avoidance, and we routinely work with clients and consultants to prepare and manage claims. Thus, we emphasize early consultation and contract risk analysis. We know the value of well-founded and properly documented claims, and have developed procedures for early detection and support of claims to provide for cost-effective resolution, generally without litigation.

MLA Representative claim matters include:


When litigation is necessary, MLA’s Construction attorneys have extensive experience in litigating and arbitrating complex construction claims and disputes, including contract performance and termination issues, delay claims, differing site conditions claims, Miller Act claims, payment and performance bond claims, mechanic’s lien and stop notice claims, claims of defective and/or negligent design, and claims brought under state and federal False Claims Acts. We also support the use of alternative dispute resolution and participate in many such proceedings, both on government claims and disputes between private parties.

Our capabilities include:

MLA’s representative litigation matters include:


Today's construction clients require timely, sophisticated assistance in a variety of related areas including:

Employer Services Group 

MLA's Employer Services Group serves the construction industry in all types of matters that arise out of the employer-employee relationship, including advising both public and private employers about workplace conditions. We offer training on preventive practices to avoid and minimize employee claims through sound human resource practices. Our attorneys handle litigation involving wrongful discharge claims, discrimination and sexual harassment matters in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies. We also advise unionized employers about collective bargaining, arbitration, strikes, secondary boycotts, contract administration and trust fund suits, and advises non-union employers who are faced with union organizational activity.


We have experience with government build-lease projects for military housing and construction, energy facilities, waste treatment and warehouse projects; and working with owners, developers, operators and lending institutions in connection with equity and debt financing documents, financial service and credit support agreements. Our attorneys have been retained to assist in the negotiation and drafting of capital structure and ownership documents, as well as contracts for the development, engineering, construction and operation of facilities, including build-own-operate and build-own-transfer arrangements; power sale/ purchase agreements; revenue sharing agreements; operation, maintenance and technical services agreements and other ancillary documentation.

Defective Design and Construction

The firm has handled claims and litigation of disputes over allegations of defective design and construction in commercial and residential structures. Examples include defective materials, inadequate shear walls and seismic resistance; inadequate foundation design and construction; defective concrete formulation, rebar placement and corrosion, and post-tension slab flaws; pipelines, soil subsidence and movement; grading and compaction problems; and water intrusion.

Procurement Fraud

MLA has extensive nationwide experience with civil and criminal investigations of suspected statutory violations and fraud by companies and individuals. We have assisted construction contractors in criminal investigation of alleged bribery, kickbacks and violations of public procurement integrity laws. Our attorneys also defend civil actions brought by the government alleging violation of procurement statutes and regulations, and actions brought by whistle blowers under the False Claims Act. We also conduct internal investigations to assess a company's potential exposure, and we provide advice as to the appropriate response to subpoenas and government requests for cooperation.

Related Industries