James J. Urban

urban@butzel.com | P 517 372 4385 | F 517 372 6672

James J. Urban is a shareholder practicing in Butzel Long's Lansing office and serves as the Managing Shareholder of the Lansing Office and as Manager of the Firm's State Capitol Practice Group. He is a graduate of Michigan State University (B.A., 1977) and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1982).

Mr. Urban's practice is focused in the representation of heavy construction contractors and their trade associations in the public and private sectors. He has extensive experience representing construction contractor and construction industry trade association clients in the public sector in administrative and regulatory matters before, and in litigation with, state agencies including the Departments of Transportation (MDOT), Consumer and Industry Services, and Management and Budget and, the Public Service Commission. His representation of firm clients covers a wide range of public and private matters including complex construction claims litigation, project level claims analysis, claim preservation and avoidance counseling, enforcement of competitive bidding procedures on local, state, and federally funded public works projects; legislative and legal consultation on issues affecting the infrastructure construction industry; public utility disputes; licensing procurement and enforcement proceedings; and contract dispute resolution. He has been at the forefront of significant events in the heavy construction industry including: serving as counsel in representing a coalition of infrastructure construction trade associations challenging the MDOT's proposed "Performance Warranty Program;" serving as counsel in the consolidation of the Associated Underground Contractors Association, Inc. and the Michigan Road Builders Association (now Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, Inc. [MITA]) and in the merger of the Michigan Asphalt Paving Association and the Michigan Pavement Association (now Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan [APAM]); and, serving as counsel in the creation of the Michigan Damage Prevention Board and the Michigan Best Practices Contract, both of which implement a cooperative venture by the infrastructure construction industry (represented by MITA) and the major utility owners in the state of Michigan to enhance underground utility locating practices within the state of Michigan.

Mr. Urban has published numerous articles and is a frequent speaker on public contracting and construction law issues. He is a member of the MITA/MDOT Committee, a standing government-industry committee focused upon identifying and resolving emerging issues which affect transportation infrastructure construction. He has also served as a member of the government-industry committee involved in the redrafting of the MDOT's Standard Specifications for Construction. Mr. Urban is a member of the Construction Law Committee and the Administrative Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, the ABA Construction Law Forum and ABA Administrative Law Section, the Ingham County Bar Association and is a past member of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. Prior to entering private practice in 1984, he was Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Livingston County.

Mr. Urban is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyers.

  • Thomas Cooley Law School, 1982, J.D.
  • Michigan State University, 1977, B.A.

Best Lawyers' 2013-2014 Lansing Construction Litigation Law "Lawyer of the Year"

The Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law Litigation - Construction, 2007-2015

Michigan Super Lawyers, Construction Litigation, 2007-2014

DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Construction Litigation, 2014

  • Michigan

State Bar of Michigan - Construction Law Committee and the Administrative Law Section

American Bar Association - Construction Law Forum and Administrative Law Section

Ingham County Bar Association

Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan - past member

MITA/MDOT Committee member

  • Represented two contractors in connection with multiple local and federal fraud false claims act investigations of construction projects at a major airport
  • Representing MITA as a constituent member of the Michigan Damage Prevention Board, in the ongoing re-write of Michigan's underground utility locating act, commonly known as the MISS DIG Act
  • Succeeded in an administrative contested claim proceeding before the MIchigan Department of Transportation
  • Successfully resolved a significant construction defect dispute with the MIchigan Department of Transportation without litigation
  • Prepared an administrative appeal and concurrently prepared the suit for immediate injuctive relief; our efforts were successful in preventing an award of the $14 million contract to the second bidder
  • Obtained a panel Decision of No Cause of Action for our client in a complex construction case involving the construction of a water intake bed on the floor of Lake Michigan
  • Successfully represented without litigation the contractor engaged to construct the new "ring road" around the perimeter of a local Michigan airport
  • Successfully represented two contractors defending allegations of fraud in the reporting of DBE participation on a large airport construction project