James J. Terry

Partner

212.300.1456
212.682.6861
jterry@zdlaw.com
801 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017
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Practice Areas

  • Construction Law
  • Commercial Litigation

Education

  • Columbia University School of Law, J.D.
  • New York University, B.A. summa cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Industry Recognition



Partner

212.300.1456
212.682.6861
jterry@zdlaw.com
801 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10017
VCard
Print

Biography

James J. Terry, a partner at Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, is a successful litigator, negotiator and advocate specializing in the resolution of complex design, development and construction management disputes across the spectrum of the built environment.

In practice for more than three decades, his portfolio includes construction defect claims, bid protests, change orders, liquidated damages, delays, cumulative impact claims, lost productivity, acceleration and inefficiency claims for national and international clients. He resolves disputes involving construction contract and tort issues through mediation, arbitration and litigation. He has defended or secured more than hundreds of millions of dollars in claims and settlements on behalf of his clients.

Mr. Terry devotes a significant portion of his practice to contract preparation, and he has negotiated and drafted construction management contracts for major real estate development projects in the academic, institutional, cultural, hospitality, medical, retail and office sectors. 

A skillful communicator, he excels at making clear the responsibilities and rights of all parties in a transaction and that his clients’ roles are accurately reflected in agreements. His clients also seek his counsel on matters of risk management and general business practices.

Mr. Terry’s expertise includes the development and execution of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that set labor compensation, work rules, schedules and performance expectations upfront, with the goal of ensuring quality and achieving the economical and efficient completion of a construction project.

In addition, Mr. Terry has deep experience in the area of performance and payment bond agreements. He has represented bond sureties in connection with the takeover and completion of several major projects from defaulting contractors; these include a sewage treatment plant, a state transportation authority complex, portions of the Washington D.C. and New York City subway systems and a substantial railroad maintenance facility.

Prior to joining Zetlin and De Chiara, Mr. Terry served as Vice President/General Counsel of F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. As a Litigation Partner of Winston & Strawn, he served as the lead appellate attorney in a significant and precedent-setting win for his client and benefitting similarly situated industry participants.

He is a member of the New York Building Congress, Federal Bar Council, CoreNet Global and a former arbitrator for the Court-Annexed Arbitration Program, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. 

Recent publications of his include “Leveraging Labor to Control Costs “ in Construction Today.

Mr. Terry holds the notable AV rating for ethical standards and legal ability from Martindale Hubbell and has been named a New York Super Lawyer in the practice area of construction/surety law by Super Lawyers magazine.

Honors & Awards

Representative Experience

  • Negotiated and drafted construction management contracts across a wide spectrum of projects, encompassing academic, cultural, office, retail, hotel, residential, medical and special-use projects. 
  • Represented performance bond sureties in connection with the takeover and completion of several major projects from defaulting contractors; these include a sewage treatment plant, a state transportation authority complex, portions of the Washington D.C. and New York City subway systems and a substantial railroad maintenance facility.
  • Represented performance bond sureties in connection with the takeover and completion of several major projects from defaulting contractors; these include a sewage treatment plant, a state transportation authority complex, portions of the Washington D.C. and New York City subway systems and a substantial railroad maintenance facility.
  • Represented performance bond surety in successful appeal of a $40 million judgment despite the upholding of a ruling that the surety's principal had defaulted by failing to complete a contract to convert former education facility to luxury condominiums.
  • Counseled major university hospital in connection with turnkey contract documentation for construction of health care facility.
  • Drafted and implemented funding agreements enabling sureties to avert defaults on troubled contractors' projects.
  • Defended general contractor against a public authority in litigation regarding the adequacy of building foundations on school project.

Organizations

  • New York Building Congress - Member, Public Building and Higher Education Committees
  • American Bar Association - Member, Construction Industry Forum
  • New York State Bar Association
  • New York County Lawyers Association
  • Federal Bar Council
  • CoreNet Global
  • Construction Roundtable
  • Court-Annexed Arbitration Program, U.S. District Court for Eastern District of New York - Former Arbitrator

Speaking Engagements

  • Zetlin & De Chiara Partners Speaking at the New York State MWBE Forum
  • Moderator - "For Design Professionals: New Work Opportunities," New York State MWBE Forum, October 2012
  • Speaker – "Owner-Contractor Agreements: Understanding Provisions Affecting the Design Professional," WPL Publishing, September 2011
  • Lecturer – "Performance Bond Surety's Duty of Investigation," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, January 2011 
  • Lecturer – New York County Lawyers Association and Tort/Insurance Practice Section of American Bar Association 
  • Lecturer – "The Fundamentals of Construction Contracts: Understanding the Issues," Lorman Educational Services Seminar 
  • Moot Court Judge – Columbia Law School

Publications

  • Leveraging Labor to Control Costs, Construction Today, March/April 2014
  • "What do you mean there's an issue with my additional insured coverage?" Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Newsbulletin, May 2013
  • Project Labor Agreement: An Owner's Tool For Controlling Construction Costs, March 2013
  • "Project Labor Agreements: An Owner's Tool to Controlling Construction Costs," Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, December 2012
  • "Integrated Project Delivery: An Industry Overview," Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review, September 2012
  • "Owner/Contractor Agreements: A Drafter's Dozen," Real Estate Weekly, August 2011
  • "China: New Regulations Establishing Foreign Invested Partnerships," Zetlin & De Chiara LLP Review, December 2010
  • "Legislative Alert: Real Estate Deductions for Commercial Properties,"Quarterly Review, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, 2010
  • "Recent Construction Contract Act Amendments Impact the Owner/Developer – Contractor Relationship," Quarterly Review, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, 2010
  • Co-author – The Fundamentals of Construction Contracts: Understanding the Issues," Lorman Educational Services Seminar, December 2004

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