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Jackie Fiala

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.

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.

Stephanie has extensive experience representing project owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers throughout Georgia and Florida. Her practice focuses on contract drafting and negotiation, lien and bond claims, Georgia licensing issues, dispute resolution, and payment enforcement. Understanding the need to avoid or shift potential risks for construction professionals, she has drafted and negotiated scores of construction contracts, including development and leasing agreements, prime contracts, subcontracts and master subcontract agreements, and supplier documents. Bringing legislative and local government experience to her practice, Stephanie contributes to projects’ success by ensuring proper contracting, working with governmental entities, and minimizing clients’ risk. Before joining Cotney Construction Law in 2020, she worked at a boutique construction law firm serving Georgia and Florida. Prior to entering the private sector, Stephanie served the State of Florida as a legislative attorney where she specialized in local government issues and worked closely with elected officials, lobbyists, and the public.

Ashlee B. Poplin joined Cotney Construction Law in 2020 and is based out of the firm’s Charlotte, North Carolina office. Her practice areas include contract review & drafting, lien law, bond law, insurance related matters, and civil litigation. Ashlee has been recognized for three consecutive years (2018-2020) as a Rising Star for Civil Litigation by North Carolina Super Lawyers. 

Ashlee graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in both Psychology and Political Science and a minor in Women’s Studies. Ashlee attended law school at Campbell University where she obtained her J.D. in 2013. While at Campbell, Ashlee competed in several trial advocacy competitions across the nation winning the 2013 American Association for Justice Regional Competition and reaching the semi-finals at the national level; she also served as Director of the Pro Bono Council for the law school during her time there, helping to assist programs and citizens in the community that did not have the ability to obtain the legal resources they needed.

Ashlee has also worked with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools coordinating their Truancy Court Tour Program for at risk youth and their families to foster positive relationships and interactions with educators and judges. Ashlee is licensed in both North and South Carolina. She is a member of the North and South Carolina Bar Associations.

Steven McCommon joined Cotney Construction Law in 2020.  His practice areas include contract review and drafting, contract negotiation, lien law, bond law, building code violation defense, construction defect litigation, and environmental compliance. 

Prior to joining Cotney Construction Law, Steven worked for a large insurance defense firm handling a wide array of practice areas ranging from trucking accident defense, premises liability, environmental law, coverage opinions, and contract disputes.  He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law with an Environmental Law Certificate of Concentration. During his time in law school, Steven was selected as an editor of the Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy and served as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem.