Construction Lawyer

Michael “Mike” Cortez


Construction Lawyer in Houston – Michael “Mike” Cortez

Mike Cortez’s practice is focused on construction related transactions, including large, complex energy procurement and construction projects, design and construction contracts, project risk management and lien and bond claims. He has represented owners, developers, architects, contractors and EPC’s on a wide variety of construction projects including oil and gas, multi-family, industrial, manufacturing and government services. Mike has significant experience representing clients in drafting and negotiating complex construction contracts under multiple project delivery systems.

Mike served as outsourced project counsel with the largest engineering and construction company in the United States, where he negotiated downstream procurement and service agreements, subcontracts and financial security agreements, related to a large, complex international LNG project for a leading global energy company. He has also served as in-house construction counsel for a substantial domestic and international portfolio of multifamily and mixed use projects for a prominent real estate development company in Houston.


Areas of Practice

  • Construction law, transactional
  • Oil, Gas & Energy law
  • Energy

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas

Representative Experience

  • Negotiated complex mixed-use, hotel and multi-family construction contracts on behalf of national general contractors.
  • Represented ENR Top Environmental Contractor in negotiation of over $250 Million worth of remediation service agreements on multi-billion dollar LNG and other industrial projects
  • Negotiated over $100 Million worth of commercial construction contracts for general contractors on HUD financed projects for senior housing and low income housing projects in Central Texas
  • Represented owner-developer on design and construction agreements for $25 Million condominium tower project in San Antonio, Texas
  • Negotiated over $500 million worth of architect agreements and design-build agreements for hotel, multifamily and office towers in the downtown Houston CBD
  • Negotiated multi-million dollar downstream procurement and service agreements, subcontracts, financial security and other related agreements related to a $50 billion dollar LNG Project located in Australia
  • Negotiated domestic and international EPC, construction, procurement, shipping and freight contracts for large, global oilfield chemical company for manufacturing facilities and related midstream, downstream, and upstream services to the oil & gas industry
  • Negotiated numerous Owner-Contractor Agreements, Architect Agreements, Consulting Agreements and Subcontracts for annual portfolio in excess of $5 Billion of multifamily high-rise projects. Also developed and implemented standard forms, contracting and procurement procedures
  • Negotiated international construction contract for $25 Million semiconductor plant in the Philippines on behalf of large semiconductor chip manufacturer/owner
  • Negotiated design and construction agreements for $15 Million aerospace launch pad on behalf of owner-developer.
  • Represented pipeline contractor on $10 Million construction dispute
  • Achieved favorable settlements and/or dismissals of more than $20 Million in lien disputes and lawsuits on a 20+ multi-family project portfolio


  • Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
    • J.D. – 1994
  • Texas A&M University
    • B.B.A. ( Finance ) – 1991

Teaching Experience

  • Instructor, “Contract Administration,” Project Manager Development Program, Associated General Contractors of America, Houston Chapter
  • Adjunct Professor, “Construction Contract Administration,” University of Houston College of Technology, Department of Construction Management
  • Guest Lecturer, “Construction Law,” Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section; Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section
  • Houston Bar Association, Construction Law Section
  • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry Member
  • The Association of Commercial Real Estate Professionals (Diversity, Membership Committees)
  • Rice Global Engineering & Construction Forum (Scholarship Committee)
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Houston
  • National Association of Minority Contractors, Greater Houston Chapter
  • Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Speeches and Publications

  • Back to Your Regular Programming: Construction Contracts – What is the Critical Path?,” AM Monthly Law Alert, May 2021
  • Eight Issues to Review when Negotiating Construction Contracts in the COVID-19 World,” AM Monthly Law Alert, August 2020
  • Force Majeure Now,” AM Law Alert, March 2020
  • Construction Contracts: Quick Tips for Better Risk Management,” AM Monthly Law Alert, May 2019
  • “Key Issues: Federal and Texas Contracting,” Private Client Event, July 2018
  • “Avoiding Employment Problems in Construction,” Associated Builders & Contractors of Greater Houston, June 2018
  • No Damage for Delay – New Spin on Standard Clause?” AM Monthly Law Alert, February 2018
  • Speaker, “2017 Revisions to the AIA Construction Contract Documents,” Houston Bar Association Real Estate Section, November 2017
  • Presenter, “Anatomy of EPC Contracts,” Lorman Webinar, March 2017
  • Speaker, “Change Orders and Change Management”, Associated Builders and Contractors – Houston, Texas (December 2016)
  • Who Bears the Risk of Differing Site Conditions?” Andrews Myers Monthly Law Alert, May 2016
  • Speaker, “Construction Contracts 101,” Associated General Contractors – Houston, Texas (April 2016)
  • Co-Author, “2016 Construction Law Update (Chapter 11 – Southwest Region),” Wolters Kluwer Publication
  • Author, “Fifty State Construction Lien and Bond Law (Texas Chapter),” Wolters Kluwer Publication
  • Author, “State by State Guide to Architect, Engineer and Contractor Licensing (Texas Chapter),” Wolters Kluwer Publication
  • Speaker, “Managing Construction Projects,” Lorman Seminar, Fort Worth, Texas (May 2006)
  • Presenter, “AIA Contracts in Texas,” Lorman Seminar, Dallas, Texas (October 2005)
  • Presenter, “Successful Design-Build Project Delivery,” The Design-Build Institute of America, Dallas, Texas (April 2005)
  • Co-Author, “Owners Beware of Tenant Improvements,” Real Estate Probate & Trust Law Reporter; Vol. 39, No. 1 (October 2000)
  • Co-Author, “Annual Survey of Texas Law – Construction Law,” SMU Law Review; Vol. 53, No. 3 (Summer 2000)
  • Author, “The Use of the Design-Build Construction Method in Texas,” Texas Lawyer, Vol. 16, No. 1 (March 13, 2000)