Peter J. Smith


Peter J. Smith's practice is primarily devoted to litigation and arbitration of construction disputes in New Jersey and New York. He became a partner of the firm in 1989.
Mr. Smith has consistently been named one of New York area’s top lawyers in the field of construction law. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in New Jersey, Best Lawyers in New York, Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers directories.
Mr. Smith has been a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Industry Panel of Arbitrators since 1995. In 1999, Mr. Smith was selected by the American Arbitration Association to serve on its New Jersey Public Sector Panel of Mediators and Arbitrators. He has served on a variety of construction industry arbitration panels, deciding claims involving major public and quasi-public construction projects and surety matters. Mr. Smith was appointed to the New Jersey Construction Advisory Council of the American Arbitration Association in 2006.  
The Supreme Court of New Jersey, Board on Trial Attorney Certification, has designated Mr. Smith a Certified Civil Trial Attorney. He was recertified by the Board in 2007 and 2012.

Honors and Awards:

  • "New Jersey's Top Rated Lawyers" as seen in Inside Jersey magazine (2012)
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers (2005-2017)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2007-2017)
    • Construction Law
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Construction Law - Newark (2015)
  • AV Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Representative Experience:

  • Trial counsel in New York State Supreme Court, Kings County for national restaurant chain in defense of action for injunctive relief brought by owner of private sewer line seeking to disconnect restaurant from its system
  • Represented a large state university in defense of contractor claims for additional compensation for unanticipated subsurface conditions in the installation of a campus wide system of underground utilities
  • Represented a general contractor which recovered claims for delay damages in excess of $1 million arising from the major expansion of a publicly owned hospital
  • Represented several publicly traded real estate investment trusts in recovery of claims in multiple lawsuits for defective construction from contractors, design professionals, and others on large high-rise residential and shopping center projects
  • Represented a state authority in action to recover damages from contractors and designers in connection with the premature failure of irregular concrete surfaces and PVC piping in a water feature park
  • Represented an architectural firm in the defense of claims of professional negligence resulting from the specification of masonry flashing and water penetration through exterior masonry walls of a large public facility
  • Represented a general contractor in defense of claims resulting from the weekend collapse of a YMCA natatorium ceiling
  • Represented an architect reviewing construction progress for a lender in a high-rise residential condominium on the Hudson River in defense of claims of defective construction by a condominium association
  • Represented a local school board asserting claims of professional negligence against its architect in a multiple school expansion and new construction project
  • Represented subcontractors including an electrical contractor, roofer, and mechanical contractor in managing claims and account receivables
  • Represented a construction manager in claims arising from the $100 million expansion of a casino hotel in Atlantic City
  • Arbitrator in dispute over valuation of approximately $30 million in change orders in gut rehab of landmark Manhattan hotel
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute between electrical contractor and control systems contractor in major renovation and rehab of Manhattan hospital
  • Chair of arbitration panel in consolidated arbitration of disputes among construction manager, mason, and steel erector on NJ Schools Development Authority project
  • Chair of arbitration panel in dispute between public sewer authority and mechanical contractor concerning claims and counterclaims for delay, change orders, and backcharges
  • Sole arbitrator in dispute between private New Jersey university and contractor concerning the construction of an athletic field in compliance with NCAA Division 1 requirements for competition
  • Arbitrator in dispute between foreign manufacturer of industrial equipment and domestic purchaser of that equipment for its plant regarding the design and performance of that equipment, inclusive of claims for misrepresentation and lost profit
  • Arbitrator in International arbitration between foreign based passenger airline and US based contractor concerning terminal construction in PANYNJ owned airport


  • American Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association, Construction and Public Contract Law Section
  • Chairman, New Jersey State Bar Association, Construction and Public Law Sections (1993-1995)
  • Member, American Bar Association, Public Contract Law and Litigation Sections
  • Member, American Arbitration Association, Construction Industry Panel of Arbitrators (1995-present)
  • Member, American Bar Association, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry


  • State v. Perini Corp., 221 N.J. 412 (2015)
  • Schoonover Electric Co., Inc. v. Enron Corp. (In re Enron Corp.), 294 BR 232 (Bankr. SDNY 2003)
  • Rush, et als v. Kuhn Smith & Harris, 193 N.J. Super.  389 (App. Div. 1984)
  • PT&L Construction v. State of New Jersey, Department of Transportation, 108 N.J. 539 (1987)


85 Livingston Avenue
  • Rutgers University (J.D., 1981)
  • University of Notre Dame (B.A., 1978)
  • State of New Jersey
  • United States District Court for  the District  of New Jersey
  • United States Claims Court
  • United States Supreme Court
  • State of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York


Best Lawyers Award Badge


Best Lawyers Award Badge