Martin Onorato has represented clients in the construction industry for 25 years. Coming from a career in architecture before that, he has an insider’s understanding of the industry, which has brought significant value to his practice and his clients. He is a trusted legal advisor throughout the life cycle of projects, from inception and contracting, through project counseling and claims management, and as an experienced construction litigator of construction claims and disputes.
Marty serves as Chair of the firm’s Construction Law Practice Group as well as its Construction Industry Team and works with several of the firm’s multi-disciplinary practice groups to bring a full-service approach to clients. He has chaired the firm’s Education Industry Team, which services the legal needs of public and private university and secondary school clients.
Contract Procurement and Project Delivery
From the earliest stages of project planning, Marty serves on deal teams, and he drafts and negotiates contracts for all types of development and construction projects. He guides clients through the intricacies of structuring and documenting transactions, counseling them on key considerations such as project delivery methods, risk tolerance, schedule, budget, and other project complexities.
Marty has drafted and negotiated contracts for a wide array of public and private sector 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 regularly works with the full range standard industry contracts and has collaborated with clients to develop contract and procurement forms that accommodate their particular needs.
Marty handles transactions each year worth hundreds of millions of dollars, involving millions of square feet of construction. He represents many colleges and universities in connection with their capital projects, including the expansion of new residential colleges, the renovation of art museums, student center projects, athletic facilities, and clean energy projects, to name just a few. He also has negotiated contracts for the design and construction of major hospital expansions, corporate campus unification projects, and large transportation projects across the country.
Challenges inevitably arise in the course of design and construction. Providing legal guidance in those times is a significant part of Marty’s practice. He provides strategic counseling and advocates for clients in order to resolve disputes, preserve relationships, and avert disruptions to the project. Marty regularly advises and guides clients through scope changes, payment disputes, project delays, defective design and construction issues, unanticipated conditions, interactions with authorities having jurisdiction, terminations, and preparation and analysis of all types of claims.
Marty’s approach is to identify problems as early as possible and resolve them efficiently before costs escalate. He 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, he represents clients in formal dispute resolution proceedings, including mediation with neutrals, proceedings before private arbitration panels, and litigation in state and federal courts. Marty has successfully obtained arbitration awards and judgments in a wide variety of cases, including those focused on design and construction defaults, errors and omissions, fraud, bad faith, unfair trade practices, and fraudulent transfer of assets.
Marty frequently speaks publicly and delivers seminars and presentations on construction law. He is a regular contributor to the firm’s blogs; his posts can be found at the Construction Law Zone .
Marty is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the areas of Construction Law and Litigation - Construction since 2013, and has been selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2010 to 2020. 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.