ACCL Membership Directory

Michael S. Zetlin

  • Founding Partner
  • Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
  • 801 Second Avenue
  • New York, New York 10017
  • Email:
  • Phone: (212) 682-6800
  • Cell:
  • Company Phone:
  • Fax: (212) 682-6861


  • Undergraduate: B.S., Engineering Columbia University
  • Law School: J.D. Fordham University


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 as well as the Construction Mega Project 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 USAThe 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. City & State also included him in their Law Power 100 list twice and in their Construction Power 50 list.

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.

Professional Activities

  • American College of Construction Lawyers
  • American Bar Foundation


  • American Arbitration Association — Arbitrator, Construction Panel
  • New York Building Congress — General Counsel & Board of Directors
  • American Institute of Architects New York City — General Counsel
  • Columbia University Industry Advisory Committee of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics — Advisory Board Member
  • American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry — Past Governing Committee Member
  • Pratt Institute — Board of Trustees Member
  • Global Design Alliance — Board Member
  • Ort America, Inc. — Board Member

Professional Affiliations

ABA Forum Committee on the Construction Industry,American Arbitration Association Panel of Arbitrators,American Institute of Architects

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

  • Speaker – “AIA Fast Track Series: Architectural Law,” AIA New York, April 2011
  • Moderator – “P3s: The Next Generation of Sustainable Development,” Zetlin & De Chiara LLP and The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute Baruch College, February 2011
  • Judge – “Engineering Excellence Awards Competition,” American Council of Engineering Companies, February 2011
  • Moderator – “Your Firm: What’s It Worth?,” Zetlin & De Chiara with Anchin Block & Anchin, October 2010
  • Moderator – “Protecting Profitability: Presenting Persuasive Claims on Public Projects without Running Afoul of the False Claims Act,” Zetlin & De Chiara LLP with Hill International, September 2010
  • Speaker – “The Current Economic Crisis Affecting the Tri-State Region,” Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, McGraw-Hill and New York Construction Forum, November 2008
  • Speaker – “Legal Issues in Building Information Modeling Management,” McGraw-Hill BIM Workshop, November 2008
  • Speaker – “Ammunition for Litigation? The Collateral Use of a Construction Professional’s Violations of Licensing Regulations and Codes of Ethics,” American College of Construction Lawyers, Summer 2007


  • Co-Editor – “New York Construction Law,” Aspen Publishers
  • Author – “Public Private Partnerships Provide New Opportunities,” New York Construction Supplement, July 2010
  • Author – “How We Will Build New York: Hospitals and Healthcare,” New York Construction, August 2009
  • Author – “How We Will Build New York,” New York Construction, July 2009
  • Co-Author – “Structural Condition Assessment – Legal Issues,” Structure Magazine, August 2006
  • Chapter Author – “Limiting Exposure After 9/11/2001,” Building Security: Handbook for Architectural Planning and Design, McGraw Hill Companies, 2003

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court, Eastern District, New York

U.S. District Court, Southern District, New York

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