Kathleen O. Barnes

(703) 749-1000

Kathy Barnes’s practice focuses on domestic and international construction contracting and federal government contracts. Kathy counsels and advises contractors, design engineering firms, construction managers and owners in all phases of industrial, power, civil, transportation and commercial construction in the United States and overseas. For over 30 years, Kathy has represented clients at every stage of complex construction dispute resolution including claim preparation, negotiation and other informal ADR procedures, mediation, arbitration and litigation in both federal and state courts. As an experienced construction litigator, Kathy also has represented clients in multi-party and other complex disputes in both international and domestic arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association, JAMS and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Kathy has an active government contracts practice and counsels contractors and design engineers on a broad range of issues involved in government contract administration and compliance. She also has extensive experience litigating bid protests and government contract claims, having successfully represented her clients with claims involving research and development, information technology procurements and contracts for military and other applications. Kathy is highly skilled in litigating and managing contractor claims for equitable adjustment and government claims of defective design and construction, false claims act violations and violation of cost accounting standards before state and federal Boards of Contract Appeals and the Court of Federal Claims.

Kathy also has a successful practice defending clients in multi-million dollar business torts actions in state and federal court, including claims of unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets, intentional interference with contracts and business relations and fraud.


  • Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law and Construction Litigation Categories – 2008-2023
  • The Legal 500 United States – 2012
  • Adjunct Professor: “International Commercial Arbitration,” George Mason University School of Law, 2010-2013.
  • Coach: Vis International Moot Court Competition, George Mason University School of Law Vis Team, 2011-2013.
  • Visiting Lecturer: “Government Contracts Law,” Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary.
  • American College of Construction Lawyers, Fellow
  • American Bar Association
    • Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Public Contract Law and Tort & Insurance Practice Sections
  • District of Columbia Bar
    • Government Contracts Section
  • Fairfax Bar Association
  • Leadership Fairfax, Class of 2000
  • Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
  • Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association
  • Serves on Board of Directors of Alternative House, a shelter and outreach program for abused and homeless youth (www.alternativehouse.com)

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker: “The Contract as a Project Risk Management Tool,” Risk Management in Underground Construction, November 2017.
  • Speaker: “Rapid Resolution ADR Techniques for Prompt Claim Resolution,” ARTBA, August 2017.
  • Speaker: “Hot Tubs and Other ADR Remedies for Disputes That Ail You,” AACE, June 2017.
  • Speaker: “The Professional Construction Manager and Safety,” CMAA National Conference, October 2016.
  • Panelist: “Recent Trends in Construction Claims and Disputes,” Construction Management Association of America Annual Conference & Trade Show, October 2013.
  • Panelist: “Too Big To Fail – Collaborative Dispute Boards Promote Harmonious Deals,” ABA Dispute Resolution Spring Conference, 2013.
  • Speaker: “The False Claims Act for Construction Contractors in a Post Stimulus World,” ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, Fall Meeting, October 2012.
  • Speaker: “The Pros and Cons of Using Dispute Review Boards,” Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, Annual Conference, June 2011
  • Speaker: Panels on the History of DRBs and the use of DRBs on a variety of construction projects, International DRB Foundation, October 2010
  • Author and Panelist: “The Implementation and Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures by the Federal Government,” American College of Construction Lawyers Annual Meeting, 2008.
  • Co-Author: “Two Recent Developments in Standard Form Construction Agreements – AIA Standard Form Construction Agreement 2007 Revisions and ConsensusDOCS,” Fall Newsletter, 2007
  • Speaker: “Managing the Risks Associated with the Use of Building Information Modeling on Your Projects,” Construction Management Association of America Spring Conference & Trade Show, Spring 2007.
  • Panelist: “Successful ADR and Impact Analysis Tools – Settling $500 Million Claims Without Litigation,” The Contractor and Construction Manager Issues SuperConference; San Francisco, California; December 2006.
  • Panelist: “Who Survives the Perfect Storm – A Reality Show in Which You are the Jury;” The Contractor and Construction Manager Issues SuperConference; San Francisco, California; December 2005.
  • Panelist: “How Can the A/E both Comply with the Project Owner’s Unreasonable Demands and Avoid Liability to the Project’s Construction Contractors;” The A/E Issues Construction SuperConference; San Francisco, California; December 2004.


  • Author: “Recent ASBCA Decision Allows A Takeover Surety To Recover On Its Defaulted Principal’s Pre-Takeover Claims,” From The Ground Up, Fall 2003.
  • Author: “The Contract Disputes Act and the Truth in Negotiations Act,” American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry: Boston 2003.
  • Co-Author: “Surety Liability for Contractor Deficiencies,” Construction Briefings, March 2002.

Areas of Practice

  • Construction
  • Government Contracts


  • University of Texas at Austin, J.D., 1989
  • Georgetown University, B.A., 1986

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia