John Foust

John Foust is an experienced construction attorney based in our San Francisco office, where he represents owners, developers, and contractors on some of the largest construction and infrastructure projects in the United States and abroad.

John’s past projects have included high-rise hotels and office towers, casinos, hospitals, power plants, pipelines, refineries, wind turbines, solar farms, bridges, pharmaceutical plants, and mining. John has been recognized as a leading professional in the field of construction law by Legal 500, the International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers, Super Lawyers Magazine (2008-2016) and LMG Rising Stars (the Expert Guides). Prior to entering private law practice, John was law clerk to the Honorable Edward Harrington, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

What do you focus on?

Construction Contracts and Project Counsel

A major part of my practice is structuring, drafting and negotiating contracts for construction and infrastructure development, including construction contracts, EPC and design-build agreements, architecture and engineering agreements, guarantees, master development agreements, joint venture agreements and others. In the past two years alone, I have drafted and negotiated contracts for more than $3.5 billion in cost of work. I also act as project counsel for ongoing developments by providing day-to-day advice on issues such as mechanic’s liens, contractor licensing, insurance coverage and change order negotiations.

Schedule and Change Order Claims

In addition to defective work claims, I regularly represent developers, owners and contractors with all manner of contract disputes, including schedule disputes, change order and extra work claims and payment claims. Some recent cases include representing an international oil company with scheduling and cost claims over the construction of an international gathering and processing facility and representing a major EPC contractor with change order and delay claims.

High-End Construction Defects

I represent owners and developers in cases involving major construction defects and post-completion warranty claims, including catastrophic failures. A few of my recent cases include representing MGM Resorts International in connection with a complex, multi-billion dollar dispute over the design and construction of the CityCenter development in Las Vegas, including the defective construction of the now-demolished Harmon Hotel tower. I also represented the developer Lennar in connection with disputes arising from the construction of the Hunter’s Point Shipyard Redevelopment Project in San Francisco.

What do you see on the horizon?

We are seeing more and more construction and infrastructure projects with an international element. Sometimes it’s an American contractor doing a project overseas. But quite often it’s an international affair where the contractor is a cross-border joint venture, the owner is an international consortium and the subcontractors and materials are coming from around the world. In those situations, the parties need sound legal advice in order to spot and resolve early conflicts that can turn into serious disputes.

Presentations and publications

  • “Pre-litigation strategies,” Nixon Peabody Annual MCLE Seminar, San Francisco, January 2018
  • The Construction Lawyer, Associate Editor (quarterly law journal published by the ABA Forum on Construction Law)
  • “Liability Theories and Defenses for Construction Defects Claims” (with John Ralls and Clark Thiel), Chapter 3 of the book Construction Defects, American Bar Association, 2012, Ed. Roland Nikles, et al.
  • “Hot Issues In-House and Outside Counsel Must Understand When It Comes to the International Relationship,” ABA Forum on Construction Law, Annual Meeting 2017 (Upcoming Presentation)
  • Breakfast Briefing on Cross-Border Discovery, Huron Legal Institute, San Francisco, June 2014 (Presenter)
  • “Saving Costs and Avoiding Missteps in the Preservation, Collection, and Production of Documents and ESI in Construction Disputes,” American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry, Fall Meeting 2012, Boston, MA (Presenter and Co-Author with U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman)
  • “Zubulake Revisited, Federal Court Issues Discovery Sanctions Against Litigants for Failing to Preserve Electronically-Stored Evidence,” Litigation White Paper and Newsletter, 2010
  • “Deflated Bids: A Violation of the False Claims Act,” ENR, 2005
  • “Mechanics’ Liens & Stop Notices: Obtaining Priority Over the Construction Lender,” CAGC Legal Retreat, 2003 (Co-Author)
  • “State Power to Regulate Alcohol Under the Twenty-First Amendment: The Constitutional Implications of the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act,” 41 B.C.L. Rev. 659 (2000)


John Foust


San Francisco

Phone: 415-984-8460

Los Angeles

Phone: 213-629-6068

Fax: 855-742-1566

Boston College Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Managing Editor, Boston College Law Review

University of New Mexico, B.A.



New Mexico


John has been recognized as one of the country’s top construction lawyers by Legal 500 (2017) and the International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers (2013–2014). He has been named a “Super Lawyer” in the field of construction law by Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine (2009–2014).

  • Associate Editor for The Construction Lawyer, ABA Forum on Construction Law
  • ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, Member of the Steering Committee for the International Construction Division
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