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Maria Jose Alarcon

Maria joined Cotney Construction Law in 2020. Maria is an international attorney licensed to practice law in South America and Europe. She has broad experience in international arbitration and corporate transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors. At Cotney Construction Law, Maria handles international law issues and conducts research on foreign direct investment relating to energy and infrastructure projects. Maria is fluent in Spanish and English and proficient in French.

Maria earned her LL.M. with an Environmental Law Certificate at Duke University School of Law where she performed research at the Global Financial Markets Center. Her research focused on climate change and financial innovation. Before graduating from Duke, Maria attended Harvard University Summer School, founded and led the model Unvied Nations Club at Universidad de Navarra, and served as a Chair of Harvard Model United Nations at IE Business School.

Prior to joining Cotney Construction Law, Maria worked as an associate in Europe in the energy and infrastructure department of a prestigious law firm. Additionally, Maria has been a senior consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization in the United Nations in international law issues and the Head Counsel of Civil Litigation and Research at a prominent law firm in Ecuador. 

Jackie Fiala joined Cotney Construction Law’s Nashville office in 2020 and has over ten years’ litigation experience in a broad range of subject areas including complex commercial litigation, contract and payment disputes, employment disputes, lien issues, employment matters, trade secrets, non-compete and non-solicitation agreement disputes, real estate disputes, product liability cases, personal injury defense, and environmental issues.  Jackie has successfully represented clients in jury trials in both state and federal court.  In addition to litigation, Jackie’s practice also involves many front-end contract matters such as negotiating, drafting, analyzing, and offering counsel regarding various types of agreements for both small and large corporate clients.

Jackie graduated with honors from Boston University College of Arts of Sciences with a B.A. in Biological Anthropology. Jackie then attended law school at the University of Miami School of Law and then Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she received her J.D. While attending law school, Jackie won the ABA Negotiation Competition, worked with the Cardozo Students for Human Rights and the Cardozo Youth Advocates.

Prior to joining Cotney, Jackie practiced at large, highly-respected regional firms in New York City and Nashville, her hometown. She is licensed to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee, and speaks French proficiently.

Samuel joined Cotney Construction Law in 2020 in order to establish the Montréal Office.

Responsible for all matters in the province of Québec, Samuel primarily focuses his practice in the areas of business and civil litigation, notably in construction law, injunctions, real estate law and shareholders disputes. Samuel also has experience assisting small business owners with corporate matters ranging from the incorporation of their company to its dissolution, as well as drafting and reviewing contracts.

Samuel started his legal career in a renown Montréal boutique litigation firm, where he quickly took charge of his own cases, which allowed him to develop his own set of litigation skills, while assisting experienced lawyers in major and complex cases.

Prior to practicing law, Samuel gained experience in construction by working in his family’s business, a well established construction company in the Laurentian region. This experience and knowledge of the construction industry allows Samuel to quickly understand construction-related issues and to submit realistic and practical solutions to his clients.

Samuel was admitted to the Québec Bar in 2017 after earning his law degree from the University of Montréal. He is passionate about visual arts and occasionally offers pro-bono services to local artists and other members of the Montréal artistic community.


Samuel s’est joint à Cotney, avocats en construction, en 2020, afin de mettre sur pieds le bureau de Montréal.

Responsable de superviser tous les dossiers sur le territoire du Québec, Samuel pratique principalement en litige civil et commercial, notamment  en droit de la construction, en injonctions, en droit immobilier, ou dans le cadre de litige entre actionnaires. Il accompagne également plusieurs petits et moyens entrepreneurs en droit corporatif, que ce soit lors de l’incorporation, de la restructuration ou de la dissolution de leurs sociétés, en plus de rédiger et de réviser des contrats.

Samuel a débuté sa carrière juridique au sein d’un cabinet boutique renommé de Montréal, où il a rapidement pris en charge ses propres dossiers, ce qui lui permit de développer ses habilités de juristes, tout en assistant des avocats d’expérience dans le cadre de dossiers complexes.

Avant de pratiquer le droit, Samuel a développé une expérience pratique en construction, en travaillant pour l’entreprise familiale, une entreprise de construction bien établie dans la région des Laurentides. Cette expérience et connaissance de l’industrie de la construction permettent à Samuel de comprendre rapidement les enjeux relatifs aux dossiers en droit de la construction, et de soumettre des solutions pragmatiques à ses clients.

Samuel a été admis au Barreau du Québec en 2017, après avoir obtenu son baccalauréat en droit à l’Université de Montréal. Passionné d’art, il offre occasionnellement des services pro-bono à des artistes locaux et à d’autre membres de la communauté artistique de Montréal.

Richard started with Cotney Construction Law in 2020 following his graduation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Prior to starting law school, Richard worked in oilfield services as a roustabout and as a floor hand on a workover oil well services rig. In his role, Richard completed oilfield plumbing projects which connected wellhead units to standing tank batteries and pipelines, served as a frac-services technician, performed duties as member of a carpentry crew building treater unit and pump-shack housing, and performed maintenance and service on existing oil wells. Richard received OSHA 10 and Niobara Field Certification while performing oilfield duties in North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, and Nebraska. Through his experience, Richard gained insight to both the challenges and rewards of the construction industry.

Richard received his law degree from the UF College of Law, where he served as the Executive Vice President of the Florida Trial Team, Treasurer of the Christian Legal Society, Treasurer of the College of Law Republicans, and Director of External Affairs for the Federalist Society. Richard also founded, organized, and fundraised the Gator Law Adoption Day celebration which hosted the adoption of over forty children into new families at the Martin Levin Advocacy Center on UF’s campus.

While still a law student, Richard represented himself pro se in his father’s estate and successfully argued an interlocutory appeal of an order determining homestead in front of the Second District Court of Appeals.

Josh started with Cotney Construction Law in 2018 while in law school at FSU College of Law. Prior to starting law school, Josh worked for a national general contracting company as an assistant superintendent specializing in student housing and large-scale multi-family residential projects. In his role, Josh managed relationships between the owners, subcontractors, and local city or county inspectors to ensure each project was performed efficiently and cost-effectively. Through these many interactions, Josh gained a unique perspective into the issues that affect the construction industry along with strategic approaches to project management.

Josh received his law degree from the FSU College of Law, where he served as Executive Online Publications Editor of the FSU Law Review and a member of the FSU Trial Team.

Licensed to practice in Colorado, Hawaii, and Minnesota, Ryan Markham is an attorney based in our Denver office, practicing in the area of Construction Law. He started his legal career with Chee Markham & Feldman in Honolulu, where he represented owner/developers, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, design professionals, insurers, and sureties. Ryan has extensive experience in delay claims, mechanic’s and materialman’s liens, bond claims, defects, bid protests, as well as contract review, contract negotiations, and OSHA defense.

Ryan was born in Boulder, Colorado, and raised in Kailua, Hawaii. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics from Colorado College and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. While in law school, he served as President and Co-Founder of the Federalist Society student chapter, Treasurer of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honors Fraternity, and received a CALI excellence for the future award for Criminal Law.

After law school, Ryan served as Special Assistant to the Director of the State of Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations where he also handled Public Information Officer and Legislative Coordinator duties. Ryan then served as Operations Manager/Administrator for the Hawaii Occupational Safety & Health Administration (HIOSH), before working for Nordic PCL Construction, Inc.

Gabriel “Gabe” Pinilla is a seasoned, results-oriented business and construction law and litigation attorney. Focused on utilizing legal skills and strategic problem-solving to help clients with their legal and business issues, Gabe’s practice encompasses state and federal court litigation from pre-trial through the appeals process as well as serving clients with negotiation and transactional needs.

Throughout his career, Gabe has worked hard to develop the necessary analytical, strategic thinking and practical skills required to provide clients with highly effective and zealous representation while at the same time seeking to maintain the highest level of professionalism. These efforts have garnered Gabe recognition by his peers multiple times for selection as a Rising Star in Florida by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Gabe is licensed to practice in Florida, Texas, and Colorado. Gabe is also a fluent Spanish speaker and services a broad range of cultures.

Kathleen C. Ropka is based in Cotney Construction Law’s Chicago Office and has over 20 years of experience as an attorney. Kathleen’s practice encompasses a variety of areas of construction law, with a focus on construction litigation, contract review and drafting, lien and bond law, contract negotiations, corporate law, commercial litigation and real estate.

Kathleen has firsthand experience with the construction industry. Kathleen’s father was the owner of a commercial rebar installation company in Chicago where she often worked in the office handling the day to day operations of the company. In December of 2000, after her father retired, Kathleen started a new commercial rebar installation company with her brothers naming the company after their father, J. Coyne Construction, Inc. As with her father’s company, J. Coyne Construction, Inc. is a member of Iron Workers Local Union #1. Kathleen continues to participate in the operations of the business.

Prior to joining Cotney Construction Law, Kathleen worked at a general litigation law firm in Chicago where she gained invaluable experience in a wide array of practice areas including civil rights claims under Section 1983, commercial litigation, construction and corporate law and real estate. Kathleen has successfully represented clients in both jury and non-jury trials in state court and federal court and has practiced before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. Kathleen now utilizes her diverse legal background and experience in the construction industry to best serve Cotney Construction Law and its clients.

Casey Verville is an associate in the Portland, Oregon office. Her practice includes various areas of construction law, specifically contract review and drafting, insurance, and contract litigation.

Casey was born and raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In 2014, she received her BA in Political Science with a Minor in Spanish language from Michigan State University graduating cum laude. In 2015, she moved to Detroit, Michigan to attend Wayne State University Law School where she received her J.D in 2018.

During law school Casey worked as a judicial intern for Michigan Circuit Court Judge Darlene O’Brien in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She also worked as a law clerk for a boutique civil rights firm in Detroit, Michigan called Goodman Hurwitz and James, PC. While there, she had the opportunity to participate in complex constitutional cases often involving municipalities and public departments.

Prior to joining Cotney Construction Law, Casey practiced in Claimant-side Social Security Disability, representing clients in over 100 appellate hearings throughout the state of Michigan and beyond. She has also practiced in third-party commercial insurance defense, specializing in bodily injury, landlord tenant disputes, wrongful death, dram shop liability, and employment liability law.

Jeremy Power joined Cotney Construction Law in 2020, coming from a top-ranked boutique commercial real estate firm. Jeremy is based in our Toronto office, and his practice areas include construction law, roofing law, public law, corporate/commercial law, and commercial real estate. Jeremy has significant experience working with clients on a variety of issues, notably in the areas of strategic business planning, reviewing and drafting contracts, negotiations, and government regulatory work.