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Brett Marston chairs the Construction Law practice group at Gentry Locke. Brett has extensive experience in construction contract negotiations and preparation, payment disputes, mechanic’s liens, bond claims, construction defects, delay claims, insurance and OSHA matters. He handles significant construction matters in federal and state courts, arbitration and mediation for general contractors, subcontractors, owners, design professionals and suppliers. Brett publishes two blogs: Virginia Construction Law Update and Virginia OSHA Law News. In addition, Brett is consistently noted as a Virginia Super Lawyer, has made the Virginia Top 10 and Top 100 lists, and in 2015 was Roanoke Lawyer of the Year for Construction Law for the second time.

  • Kids’ sports teams coached
  • Western national parks visited
  • Legal blogs
  • OSHA citations handled
  • How did you choose to become a lawyer?

    I grew up in Appomattox, Va., working on a farm where we grew tobacco, grains, and raised cattle. I worked in the fields and at my family’s grocery store from age 8 to 18. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to participate in speaking programs and competitions through 4-H, and I really enjoyed it. With an American government major from UVA and this background in hard work and public speaking, law was a natural choice.

  • What’s a passion of yours?

    Aside from my family, it’s sports! My children are in high school and they have played baseball and basketball for years. I’ve coached many of their teams over the years.

  • What is the most important step in your morning routine that you try to never skip?

    Reading the sports section in the local newspaper. It’s my “cup of coffee.” I’ve found that being able to converse about high school to college sports to the major leagues means that I can connect with most anyone I see in a day.

  • Do you have a life lesson you share with your children?

    Make every decision so you can look yourself in the mirror each day and be proud of the decisions you’ve made. Be true to your values. Oh, and very important at their age, drive safely!


  • George Mason University School of Law, J.D. with distinction, 1993
  • University of Virginia, B.A. 1990


  • Represented contractor in multi-million dispute over termination and damages related to water intake project
  • Represented local municipality in dispute with highway/utility contractor on urban road/utility renovation project
    dispute related to construction of $800 million hotel/convention center project
  • Represented structural steel subcontractor in claims, payment, and insurance dispute related to construction of $800 million hotel/convention center project
  • Represented commercial subcontractor against national contractor in litigation and mediation for payment, change order, and claim issues on $45 million stadium project, in federal court
  • Represented owner of municipal wastewater treatment facility in successful action against national general contractor and national engineering firm for design and construction problems, successfully resolving both in mediation
  • Represented national contractor in prosecution of a liquidated damages/delay claim against concrete subcontractor, and defense of multi-million dollar counterclaim for alleged delays. Successfully resolved in mediation
  • Obtained summary judgment in federal court for commercial masonry contractor against national construction manager seeking to recover for costs of repairing allegedly defective masonry work on hospital
  • Obtained a directed verdict at state court trial for general contractor in suit brought by masonry subcontractor seeking additional payments on alleged oral subcontract agreement
  • Represented developer of residential apartments for university students in defending and resolving approximately 15 mechanic’s liens filed against property, totalling approximately $1.5 million
  • Represented international engineering firm in litigation and resolution of dispute over a EPC/design-build project for a $40 million power plant, including design, site conditions, delay claim, contract interpretation, and surety issues
  • Represented general contractor in multi-million dollar mechanic’s lien and payment dispute related to hotel construction project
  • Represented highway/bridge contractor in connection with bid-protest filed by competitor on VDOT project
  • Represented highway/bridge contractor in filing protest with federal government agency on project to work on Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Represented owner in preparation of package of bid and contract documents for renovation of regional educational facility
  • Represented engineering firm in defense of multi-million dollar claims by project developer alleging defective site design and geotechnical errors
  • Prepared documents for general contractor for submission as unsolicited proposal under Virginia’s PPEA (Public Private Educational Facilities Act)
  • Represented commercial subcontractor in analyzing and negotiating subcontract for work on multi-million dollar museum project
  • Represented in litigation a national general contractor in defense of a claim regarding installation of allegedly defective exterior cladding on new hospital facility
  • Represented commercial contractor in filing mechanic’s liens for over $1 million on condominium project for work performed under a cost-plus contract
  • Represented HVAC subcontractor in asserting and prosecuting claims against general contractor’s payment bond on a government project, relating to delay claims and outstanding payments owed
  • Represented governmental owner in negotiating a takeover agreement with general contractor’s surety on new building on which construction was far behind schedule
  • Represented manufacturing client in defense of alleged Willful OSHA violations arising out of workplace fatality
  • Represented engineering firm in defense of alleged Willful OSHA violations arising out of construction site shoring failure
  • Represented numerous general contractors, subcontractors, and general industry businesses in defense of OSHA citations, including Willful, Repeat, and Serious Violations
  • Represented employer/general contractor in defending, through trial, multiple OSHA citations, including alleged trenching violations
  • Successfully defended business owner in day-long hearing before Fire Code Board of Appeals for alleged fire code violations relating to building classification and egress from building


  • Virginia State Bar Construction and Public Contracts Section, Chair (2012-2013); Board of Governors, (2003-2014); Treasurer (2009-2010); Secretary (2010-Present)
  • Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors (2013-Present)
  • Hidden Valley High School Athletic Boosters, Board member (2012-Present); President (2014-Present)
  • The Ted Dalton American Inn of Court, Executive Committee Member, (2009-2011); Member (2006-2014)
  • Roanoke Bar Association, President (2006-07); Board of Directors (2001-2008); Chair, Young Lawyers Committee (1999-2001); President-Elect and Chair of Programs (2005-2006); Member (1994-Present)
  • Roanoke Bar Association Foundation, Chair of Trustees (2007-2008)
  • Roanoke Division of Associated General Contractors of Virginia, Board Member, (2003-2006); and Safety Alliance Steering Committee (2005-2007)
  • Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Member, (2007-2009)
  • The Virginia Bar Association Construction and Public Contracts Law Section, Executive Council Member (2004-2006)
  • Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference Board of Governors representative for 8th District (1997-2001)
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable J. Calvit Clarke, Jr., Senior United States District Judge, Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk, Virginia (1993-94)
  • George Mason University Law Review (1992-93)
  • Cave Spring National Little League, President (2008, 2009)
  • Roanoke Regional Forum, member of founding steering committee (2009-2014)


  • Named “2015 Roanoke Lawyer of the Year for Construction Law” and “2013 Roanoke Lawyer of the Year for Construction Law” by The Best Lawyers in America, and noted in the areas of Construction Law (2006-2016) and Construction Litigation (2011-2016)
  • Elected a Top Attorney: Construction by Roanoke-area attorneys surveyed by The Roanoker magazine (2007, 2009, 2012)
  • Named a “Legal Eagle” for Construction Law and Litigation – Construction by Virginia Living magazine (2012)
  • Named a Top Rated Lawyer for Construction law by American Lawyer Media (2013)
  • Designated one of the “40 & Under Movers and Shakers” by The Roanoker magazine for the field of Law (2008)
  • Named to Super Lawyers Business Edition US in the area of Construction Litigation (2012-2014) , to Virginia Super Lawyers for Construction Litigation (2009-2016, Top 10 List in 2015, Top 100 List in 2014), and named a Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star for Construction Litigation (2007)
  • Designated as one of the Legal Elite by Virginia Business magazine in Construction (2007-2015) and the Young Lawyer category (2004-2006)
  • Roanoke Bar Association President’s Volunteer Service Award, Silver level, for 249-500 hours of community service (2006, 2007)
  • R. Edwin Burnette, Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award, Virginia State Bar (2004)
  • Rated AV/Preeminent

Published Work

Read Brett’s blogs at and

  • Co-Author, Deal…or No Deal? Identifying and Addressing Gray Areas in Construction Contracting, The Construction Lawyer, Journal of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, Volume 33 No. 3 (Summer 2013)
  • Co-Author, Key Points to Consider in Filing and Challenging a Mechanic’s Lien, Virginia Lawyer magazine, Volume 59 (October 2010)
  • Civil Discovery in Virginia, Chapter 3 on Interrogatories, Virginia CLE Publications, 3rd edition (2009)
  • Virginia Construction Law Deskbook, Chapter 21 on Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Virginia CLE Publications, (2008)
  • Co-Author, Construction Law, 40 U. RICH. L. REV., 143 (2005)
  • Co-Author, Deal or No Deal? Clarifying Gray Areas in Construction Contracting, Virginia Lawyer magazine, Volume 55 No. 3 (October 2006)