Martin Onorato has over twenty years of experience as a construction attorney, and he represents clients throughout the industry and across the nation. Mr. Onorato practiced architecture prior to becoming a lawyer, which gives him an insider’s understanding of the industry and brings significant value to his clients. He advises construction clients throughout the life cycle of projects, and he is an experienced litigator who assists clients on any project-related claims or disputes.
Mr. Onorato, a partner in the firm’s Construction Practice Group, works with the firm’s multi-disciplinary practice groups to bring a full-service approach to clients. Mr. Onorato co-chairs the Education Initiative, which services the legal needs of public and private university and secondary school clients. He also serves in the firm’s initiatives on Sustainability, Health Care, and Exempt Organizations.
Contract Procurement and Project Delivery
From the earliest stages of project planning, Mr. Onorato serves on deal teams, and he drafts and negotiates contracts for all types of developments and construction projects. He guides clients through the intricacies of structuring and documenting transactions, while counseling them on key considerations like project delivery methods, risk tolerance, schedule, budget, and project complexity.
Mr. Onorato has drafted and negotiated contracts for a wide array of public and private projects, including universities and schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities, commercial offices and corporate headquarters, research facilities, energy production and distribution, hospitality and gaming, industrial facilities, and transportation. He works regularly with all the standard industry contracts, and he also has collaborated with clients to develop contract and procurement forms that accommodate their unique needs.
Mr. Onorato handles transactions on a yearly basis worth hundreds of millions of dollars, involving millions of square feet of construction. Mr. Onorato has advised several prestigious Northeast colleges and universities on capital projects such as the expansion of new residential colleges, the renovation of art museums, student center projects, athletic facilities, and clean energy projects. He has negotiated contracts for the design and construction of major hospital expansions and corporate campus unification projects.
Challenges inevitably arise in the course of design and construction. Providing legal guidance in those times is a significant part of Mr. Onorato’s practice. He provides strategic counseling and advocacy for clients, in order to resolve disputes, preserve relationships, and avert disruptions to the project. Mr. Onorato regularly advises clients through scope changes, payment disputes, project delays, defective design and construction, unanticipated conditions, interactions with authorities having jurisdiction, terminations, and preparation and analysis of all types of claims.
The key is to identify problems as early as possible and resolve them efficiently before costs escalate. Mr. Onorato works closely with clients in these situations to identify the central issues, assess the strength of legal positions, and find resolutions that optimize the client’s business interests. When complex claims cannot be resolved by amicable means, Mr. Onorato represents clients in formal dispute resolution proceedings, including mediation with neutrals, proceedings before private arbitration panels, and litigation in state and federal courts. Mr. Onorato has successfully obtained arbitration awards and judgments in a wide variety of design and construction defaults, errors and omissions, fraud, bad faith, unfair trade practices, and fraudulent transfer of assets.
Mr. Onorato frequently speaks publicly and delivers seminars and presentations on construction law. He is a regular contributor to the firm’s blogs, and his posts can be found at the Construction Law Zone, the HigherEdWire, and Sustainability Practice Center.
Mr. Onorato is listed in The Best Lawyers in America®in the areas of Construction Law and Litigation - Construction since 2013 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC), and he has been listed as a Connecticut Super Lawyer in the area of Construction Litigation for 2010 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.). He also was listed in Hartford Magazine's April 2010 issue as one of the Top Lawyers in Greater Hartford in the area of Construction/Development.