Real Estate


Contractors and owners involved in multi-million-dollar construction projects require skilled legal advice across a variety of disciplines. They need lawyers who understand the construction process from start to finish and who can mitigate risks and maximize opportunities, draft and manage rock-solid legal agreements, and settle disputes or take claims to trial, if needed.

Throughout all stages of the real estate development process, Farella guides complex projects to the finish line. Our decades of experience cover everything from entity structure, project management, and financing to delivery method selection, permits, entitlements, environmental regulatory compliance, and construction litigation, ensuring seamless access to comprehensive counsel.

In all regards, we seek to understand your commercial objectives and identify areas of concern at each juncture without over-lawyering minor details that will hold up progress. We take pride in delivering practical, effective representation to arrive at the ultimate goal—bringing in developments on-time and on-budget without needless and costly acrimony.


Public and private owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and design professionals involved in complex construction projects ranging from power plants, renewable energy projects, hospitals, water and waste treatment facilities, dams, airports, roadways, rail systems, prisons, hotels, mixed-use developments, subway stations, and more rely on us for both legal and business advice. We leverage the knowledge and expertise of Farella’s real estate, land use, insurance recovery, environmental, and energy lawyers to offer a comprehensive package of legal services to the construction industry. By providing a one-stop shop, we help our clients overcome the challenges that confront them at each step in their project.

Claims Counseling

Construction projects can be dogged with any number of types of disputes. With over 30-years’ experience in claims counseling, we can adeptly work behind the scenes to identify and mitigate issues, help clients respond to inquiries, assess which claims to pursue, and guide businesses in documenting activities along the way.

Always mindful of the project budget, we guide clients along the path towards resolving potential conflicts before an enormous amount of money is spent on depositions and other wasteful discovery. We often work with in-house litigation support staff to control and customize the technological support required to review and manage documents effectively.

Construction Litigation

Our multi-disciplinary construction practice provides valuable insight when addressing potentially costly claims in litigation. Although the goal is always to avoid disruptive litigation, when disputes do arise, our deep understanding of the construction process allows us to reliably assess the outcome of potential litigation and position a case so it can be resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Although we are first and foremost trial lawyers, we are industry leaders in the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures, including in the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration, and have traveled extensively throughout the United States and resolved hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of construction-related claims and disputes over the years.


In all stages of the construction process, our expertise includes:

  • Identifying and defining appropriate delivery systems, including traditional and alternative
  • Negotiating and drafting design documents, construction contracts, and financing agreements
  • Identifying alternative funding approaches, such as joint ventures or public-private partnerships
  • Responding to RFQ/RFP, responsive/non-responsive bids, bid protests, and all related work events along the project management continuum
  • Identifying, assessing, and allocating risk, and initiating risk management and control programs
  • Defining, negotiating and structuring insurance programs and surety bonds
  • Developing and implementing contract administration claims avoidance and resolution procedures
  • Prosecuting, defending and resolving claims of all types, including defective design, delays, disruption, financial impacts and damages, and state and federal Civil False Claims Act violations.

Professional Involvement

The Farella construction law team is committed to our clients’ success. We extend that commitment through our participation and contributions to thought leadership in top industry groups, including the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law, the American General Contractors Association’s Legal Advisory Committee, and PLI’s Annual Commercial Real Estate Institute.

Our lawyers include Fellows of the American College of Construction Lawyers, a national organization dedicated to excellence in the specialized practice of construction law, and regularly appear in national and California-based rankings from U.S. News - Best Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal, and Super Lawyers’ annual list of top lawyers in Northern California.

Firm Highlights


The 10th Circuit Correctly Construes “That Particular Part” Narrowly

We do not often write about coverage opinions from jurisdictions as far away as Oklahoma; however, a recent case from the Federal Tenth Circuit looked at one of our favorite topics and came out...

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Who 'Owns' a Secret? Whether Trade Secret Licensees Have Standing to Sue in California

If the eye-popping damages awards in several recent lawsuits are any indication, companies are increasingly coming to see their private information as one of their most valuable assets—and California juries apparently agree. For example,...

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North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to underwrite the North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference featuring keynote speaker Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. The event will also feature...

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Individual Accountability in the Huawei Trade Secrets Prosecution

In the ongoing legal battle over the alleged theft of American trade secrets by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, one curious aspect is the lack of charges filed against any individual Huawei employees. On February...

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How to Plan for a Smooth Transition of Your Family Business

Family Wealth Senior Associate Lauren Galbraith discusses how family internal dynamics play a role in transferring significant assets, especially a business, between generations. Link to read the full article.

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Attorney General Finds Impact Fees on Density Bonus Projects Invalid

In response to questions from a variety of cities across the state regarding the application of “public benefit fees” to density bonus projects, the State Attorney General’s Office published an opinion on April 9...

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Last Major SF Transbay Tower, Affordable Housing at Risk of Delays

Real Estate/Land Use and Development Partner Charles (C.J.) Higley shares his thoughts on why the 546 Howard St. tower project deserves priority for approval. Read the full article here .

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CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split

Sarah Bell will speak on the Strafford live webinar, "CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split." This CLE webinar will discuss the "indirect discharge" theory of Clean...

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Judge Finds Grounds to Sue California Insurance Commissioner for Refusing to Investigate Industry Fraud in Recent Wildfire Claims

Lawsuit Alleges Insurance Industry Has Illegally Used Unlicensed Out-of-State Adjusters to Cheat Victims of 2017 and 2018 Wildfires SAN FRANCISCO, April 1, 2019: A judge is permitting a survivor of the 2017 Tubbs Fire...

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Identifying and Preparing Expert Witnesses for Trial

How do you identify the key experts you need for trial? Once you have them, what are the best practices for preparing them for trial? How do these practices vary depending on your venue, and...

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