Michael L. Sterling

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Michael L. Sterling

Mike serves as the Managing Partner of the law firm, and is located in the Firm’s Norfolk office. He has also served on the Executive Board and Chaired the firm's Construction and Government Contracts Department, Practice Management Committee, and Dispute Resolution Services.

Mike’s practice is concentrated on complex projects and disputes for international, national and local clients with particular focus on accounting, scheduling, contract terms, protests, insurance, safety, ethics, land use, environmental and other regulatory issues.

He is experienced in a wide range of project delivery methods including design-build and public-private-partnerships; projects included co-generation and processing plants, wind tunnels, cable stay bridges, highways, stadiums, hotels, courthouses, hospitals, water and wastewater treatment plants, parking garages, high-rise condominiums, environmental site restoration, demolition and large scale residential developments as well as ship construction and repair; represented general contractors, subcontractors, vendors, manufacturers and design professionals, as well as private and public owners; experienced with the Federal Acquisition Regulations, related agency regulations and statutes applicable to federal government funded contracts and grants; appeared before federal and state courts, boards of contract appeals, GAO, agency administrative judges and arbitration panels; and  prevailed at the United States Supreme Court.

Mike also managed the law firm’s Dispute Resolution Services; served as arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the Virginia Conflict Resolution Center, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (formerly NASD), the Better Business Bureau, the National Arbitration Forum, the Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the Circuit Courts for the Cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach and by private appointment; previously certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia as a Mediator and Mentor.

Construction matters have ranged from claims of defective workmanship to incomplete work to other performance and payment related problems; non-construction matters have ranged from securities fraud to creditor-debtor disputes to employer-employee disputes; mediated attorney-client fee disputes for the Virginia State Bar; intermediated disputes between clients pursuant to the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct; also served as a Hearing Officer for the Supreme Court of Virginia presiding over various state and local employee grievances and professional licensing disputes; represented construction clients in numerous alternative dispute resolution proceedings including AAA arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation and partnering sessions; founded the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association ADR Committee that prepared a standing order for court sponsored ADR; and conducted various presentations on ADR including as a guest lecturer at William & Mary School of Law.

Mike is an “AV” rated lawyer. Virginia Business magazine recognized Mike as one of Virginia’s Legal Elite in Construction and Alternative Dispute Resolution. He has also been recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer, a Best Lawyer in Hampton Roads, and one of the Best Lawyers in America, Construction. The Firm recognizes the importance of public and professional service. Mike was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of Eggleston Services.  Mike has served on the Boards of the Red Cross of Southeastern Virginia, and the Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association, and he has been Chairman of the Virginia Bar Association Construction and Public Contract Law Executive Council and the Vandeventer Black Foundation.

Representative Matters

  • Security Services - Counsel to firms performing international, national and local security services, and construction of related facilities.
  • Supplies - Counsel to firm's seeking supplies on international, national and local markets. 
  • Football Stadium - Counsel for steel fabricator in connection with dispute involving alleged defective design and delay, disruption and cost impact during construction and renovation of college football stadium.
  • Cable Stay Bridge Construction - Co-counsel for international construction company in dispute regarding bridge and approach design.
  • Multi-story Retirement Complex - Counsel for general contractor in dispute with owner and architect concerning design defects in building envelope, as well as disputes with various subcontractors.
  • State Courthouse - Counsel to steel fabricator in defense of claims by erector for delay, disruption and changed work.
  • Hotel - Counsel to architect in defense of claim of alleged design error in light gauge metal steel frame leading to building collapse during construction, and pursuit of third party claim against structural engineer.
  • International Airport - Counsel to steel fabricator in defense of claims by erector for delay, disruption and changed work.
  • Oceanfront Condominiums - Co-counsel for various condominium associations in disputes with developers and builders related to building envelope defects.
  • Communications Facility - Counsel for general contractor in dispute with DoD regarding design defects related to standing seam metal roof on structure intended to house top secret communications equipment, and claims against surety arising from default by electrical subcontractor. 
  • Hospital - Counsel for masonry subcontractor in connection with claim for design defects and insurance coverage related to building envelope failure.
  • Child Development Centers - Counsel for general contractor in connection with design, supply and installation of modular child development centers throughout the United States, and related litigation with team member, subcontractors and others.
  • Wastewater and Water Treatment Plant Construction - Counsel to locality in conjunction with the financing, planning and construction of new wastewater and water treatment plants.
  • Local Government - Counsel to various localities and public authorities in connection with public-private-partnerships, contracts, protests, building code, land use and administrative law issues.
  • Historic School Renovation - Counsel for general contractor in dispute with owner concerning claims of delay, disruption and other damages arising from the discovery of extensive lead, asbestos and other contamination and owner responsible design defects.
  • Paper Plant - Counsel to international steam turbine manufacturer in dispute related to design and performance of turbine-generator set.


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