Kenneth O'Reilly


Kenneth O'Reilly is a partner in the New York office of Lewis Brisbois. He focuses his practice primarily on construction law with particular emphasis on representing architects and engineers. He has represented owners, architects, engineers, construction managers, general contractors, EPC contractors, and trade contractors in connection with a wide variety of projects including pipelines, refineries, power plants, solar and wind facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, schools, stadiums, airports, highways and transportations systems, and other municipal and commercial structures.

He routinely counsels clients on risk management issues and dispute avoidance. When claims cannot be avoided, he handles the litigation of construction project disputes and has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution involving the full range of issues that arise on construction projects, including defects and claims for extra work, delay and disruption issues (actual and constructive acceleration and claims for lost productivity), incomplete and defective design, inadequate and uncoordinated project management, differing site conditions, cardinal change, denial of site access, improper inspections, site safety violations, rejection and repair of non-conforming work, lateral support, geotechnical engineering, support of excavation, environmental contamination issues, termination for default and convenience, lien and bond issues, and post-completion warranty claims.

Before joining Lewis Brisbois, Mr. O'Reilly practiced construction law for six years in the New York office of a Chicago-based global law firm, and for five years in the New York office of a large Atlanta-based international law firm.

Following law school, Mr. O'Reilly was a law clerk for the Honorable Catherine C. Blake, United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Professional Liability
  • Architects & Engineers
  • Construction
  • COVID-19: Construction/Contractors/Architects & Engineers

Additional Experience


New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Professional Presentations

  • “Best Business Practices for a Public Private Partnership,” Moderator, ABA Forum on Construction Law Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA. Panelists included Pete Rahn, Secretary of Transportation, State of Maryland; Monica Coffey, Senior Legal Counsel, Cintra US, and Stephen Del Percio, Assistant General Counsel, AECOM (April 2018).
  • “Challenges to Award Based on ‘Evident Partiality’ after Positive Software,” presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, New York, New York, 2007 (with Jeffrey R. Cruz).


University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

 Juris Doctor with Honors, 1995

  • Executive Editor, Maryland Law Review
  • American Jurisprudence and Judge Roszel C. Thomsen Prizes for Federal Jurisdiction
  • President, Maryland Environmental Law Society

Johns Hopkins University

 Master of Arts, Program in Comparative International Development, 1988

Clark University

Bachelor of Arts, Government, 1987


  • “Lessons Learned Pursuing U.S. Greenfield P3s, from the Design Firm’s Perspective.” Volume 38, Number 4 of the ABA Journal The Construction Lawyer, co-authored with Stephen Del Percio, Assistant General Counsel at AECOM (Fall 2018).
  • "The Design-Build Deskbook" (ABA 2010) (with Jeffrey P. Rosenstein).
  • "Wicks Law Revisited: Amid Criticism and Debate, What are the Prospects for Reform?" (National and New York Law Journals 2007) (with Jeffrey P. Rosenstein).
  • "Construction Contracts Under New York Law: A Primer" 4 North American Windpower No. 1 (February 2007).
  • "Reassessing the Preferred Formulation of the Reasonable Doubt Standard," 53 Md. L. Rev. 780 (1994).

Representative Matters

  • Represented a defense contractor in connection with a $100 million project for the design and construction of perimeter intrusion security systems at four New York area airports.
  • Represented a global engineering firm in connection with claims arising from the design and construction of traffic infrastructure improvements in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This engagement included the defense of alleged professional errors and omissions.
  • Successfully defended a global engineering firm in multiple state and federal court actions brought by three separate plaintiffs claiming millions of dollars in property damage, extra work, and delay related to the flooding of a construction site where a combined sewer overflow facility was being constructed. The actions involved allegations of defective design and failure to properly conduct site inspections.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a national pipeline contractor against the owner arising out of the construction and replacement of a 27-mile petroleum pipeline in Kentucky. Claims involved unforeseen site conditions, delays, inefficiency, and excessively intrusive inspections.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a construction manager in an action brought by a school district involving the construction and renovation of 19 school buildings and related facilities. The $17 million suit included allegations of defective architectural, engineering, and construction management services and named nine defendants – seven architecture/engineering firms and two construction managers.
  • Represented environmental engineering firm in connection with numerous state and federal actions in Illinois arising out of alleged benzene releases from an oil refinery.
  • Obtained numerous summary judgments defending engineering firms and construction managers in connection with workplace accidents in various New York state courts.
  • Provided EPC contract advice to national mainline pipeline contractor in connection with numerous pipeline projects.

Pro Bono & Philanthropy

Representing pro bono client, conducted federal habeas corpus hearing in United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee and elicited testimony revealing previously undisclosed Brady evidence leading to the Sixth Circuit reversal of capital murder conviction and death penalty.