Background - Practices (Details)



Ask 100 business leaders if they know what infrastructure is, and you’ll hear a near-unanimous “Yes.” Ask those same business leaders to define infrastructure, and you’ll get 100 different answers.

Dig even deeper, and you’ll come to the most important questions of all: Is my company an infrastructure company? If so, what kind of infrastructure company are we? Or should we be?  Are we prepared to take advantage of multibillion-dollar funding for infrastructure projects and the products and services they require?

Understanding your company’s position and potential in the infrastructure landscape is more important than ever. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing geopolitical disputes, energy shocks, rising inflation, and other domestic and global challenges, governments worldwide are focusing their attention on and allocating resources to a broad range of economic development, jobs creation and related infrastructure initiatives.

When opportunities abound, some may be tempted — and have the capacity — to seize them all. Others may find it difficult to find the right needle in a very large haystack. Crowell & Moring’s cross-disciplinary infrastructure team helps clients:

  • Assess their core strengths, offerings and value propositions
  • Identify high-impact, high-return projects and procurement programs
  • Negotiate financing, investment and other agreements with partners and collaborators
  • Navigate complex rules and compliance issues for federal, state, local and international government contractors
  • Understand and influence emerging legislation and regulations
  • Reduce and resolve disputes through claims management, negotiation, litigation or arbitration

Global, diverse clients

Our lawyers advise U.S. and international clients from across the spectrum, including seasoned, multinational participants in major infrastructure projects, as well as public-private partnerships, governments and other project sponsors, individual and institutional investors and lenders, contractors and subcontractors, and suppliers of critical services, products and technologies. We have represented clients in infrastructure transactions and disputes across Asia, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. 

A cross-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional team

Although it goes without saying, we’ll say it: Infrastructure projects are complex and each has a unique lifecycle. To help clients meet the varying demands of any given engagement, our team includes, as needed, lawyers and professionals from our Corporate, Government Contracts, Government Affairs, Energy, Environmental, Litigation, International Dispute Resolution (IDR), and Transportation practices.

At every stage, we provide sophisticated counsel that emphasizes end results without losing focus on the day-to-day steps necessary to achieve our clients’ goals. Among other areas, we provide guidance on the following:

Project Development

We advise privately held and publicly traded clients as well as governmental entities on the transactional aspects of large infrastructure projects, including project finance, secondary market acquisitions, ownership and public-private partnerships engaged in the full spectrum of projects, including:

  • Airport and aviation facilities
  • Highways, bridges and tunnels
  • Railways and rail corridors
  • Electricity generation and utilities
  • Energy and natural gas exploration, production and distribution
  • Military housing and other facilities
  • Stadiums and entertainment venues
  • Health care facilities, hospitals and clinics
  • Housing and mixed-use facilities
  • Schools and universities 

We have particular strength in traditional and renewable energy and transportation. Our team includes a former chair of the California Electricity Oversight Board and the California Green Team; a member of the California Electric Operation and Maintenance Board and the California ISO Board of Governors; and a former senior consultant analyzing U.S. Department of Defense utility privatization programs. Our U.S., Brussels, Doha and London-based lawyers have represented clients on power-generation and distribution projects across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.  

We have advised clients on greenfield manufacturing facility and energy projects involving solar- and wind-power transmission; on land use, environmental, regulatory and other issues relating to project planning and development; on the delivery and funding of renewable energy facilities, including RDF-based waste-to-energy facilities, CHP and biomass installations; and on engagements involving microgrids, federal and state demand response programs, and renewable power.

Among recent matters, we:

  • Served as project counsel to Poseidon Water in the development and financing of a 50 MGD desalination facility in Carlsbad, California, in a transaction identified by Bloomberg as the largest U.S. project financing of the year and by Infrastructure Investor as North American Infrastructure Deal of the Year.
  • Advised on wind, solar, hydroelectric, oil and gas, and other infrastructure projects in Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.
  • Represented NRG Yield, Inc., in acquisitions of 1,355 MW of gas, wind and solar generating facilities from NRG Energy Inc. for an aggregate of $829 million in cash plus assumed project debt of $1.4 billion.
  • Advised a joint venture on the development, finance and construction of a waste tire processing facility in the United Kingdom.
  • Advised on the development and construction of a major hydrogen power facility in the United Kingdom.
  • Performed analysis and due diligence of numerous yard facilities in the rail industry involving assessment of contracts and various agreements associated with rail facilities and railyard operations of large freight companies, as well as the construction and maintenance of the facilities and rail lines.
  • Advised a construction contractor on the build and ongoing maintenance of a series of solar projects in the east of England.
  • Advised a U.K.-based infrastructure fund on the acquisition and ongoing operation and maintenance of a water treatment facility in North Carolina.
  • Counseled a company on transactional, due diligence, financing and regulatory issues in potential microgrid developments and acquisitions, including developing agreements for early stage development, energy sales, and construction and operation, as well as counseling on procurement and financing issues, in connection with developing community microgrid projects in New York and an industrial microgrid in Texas.

Government Contracts

Our Government Contracts group represents entities that contract with U.S. federal, state, local and/or non-U.S. governments on large-scale and prominent infrastructure projects, advising on best practices for managing these projects from inception through completion.

Our team includes several highly regarded construction, white-collar criminal defense and other litigators who have successfully handled government contracts disputes in federal trial and appellate courts; a former trial attorney at the procurement litigation division of the U.S. Air Force Headquarters for Legal Operations; a former member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps who worked on hydropower projects during his tenure; and the coordinator of the Construction Industry Ethics and Compliance Initiative and co-host of “Fastest 5 Minutes, the Podcast Government Contractors Can’t Do Without,” among numerous other professionals who understand the nuances of working with government entities to create or upgrade infrastructure. 

In addition to handling disputes arising out of the construction of highways, bridges, power plants, water treatment facilities, and other heavy infrastructure projects, we provide extensive counseling with respect to domestic preference aspects and on mitigation of foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) under the National Industrial Security Program related to classified work on infrastructure projects within the United States. We also are particularly adept at handling litigation and other disputes arising under prime contracts and subcontracts.

Among recent matters, we:

  • Represented the international construction consortium that built the King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia.
  • Oversaw a $350 million Air Force construction contract involving more than 20 construction projects for military bases, runways, government buildings, barracks and bridges throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Handled a Claims Dispute Act (CDA) claim involving allegations of mutual mistake and $2.5 million in reliance-incurred upgrades to telecommunications infrastructure. 
  • Represented the construction consortium that built the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (an earthmoving project larger than the Panama Canal) in a groundbreaking alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
  • Counseled a global construction company headquartered outside of the United States with respect to foreign ownership, control or influence (FOCI) mitigation for purposes of obtaining the required facility clearance for a large government design and construction project.


We work with clients to address the full spectrum of environmental compliance matters, including cleanup and risk-mitigation issues as well as regulatory challenges, enforcement actions and citizen suits that can delay or impair project completion.

Our group includes the former deputy chief of staff for policy at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who led EPA’s involvement in the executive branch’s infrastructure initiative, represented EPA on the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to streamline the environmental review and permitting process for major infrastructure projects, and, as senior counsel for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, drafted and negotiated legislation that was included in the since-enacted Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act.

Our professionals have held other top-level positions in the EPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), and the U.S. Department of the Interior. We are recognized leaders in international climate policy, environmental markets, climate risk management and climate finance. A number of our team members advise or are members of the boards and private-sector advisory panels of clean energy, international emission trading, and climate markets and investment organizations. 

Among recent matters, we:

  • Defended a cement manufacturer in a Clean Air Act (CAA) enforcement action under the New Source Review preconstruction permitting program and the Title V operating permit program.
  • Assisted a nationwide wireless provider with locating, permitting and installing wireless telecommunications facilities on federal lands, including in national parks.
  • Counseled a county government on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and federal land matters involving a proposed bridge construction project involving one of the state’s five-longest rivers.


Transportation projects — airports, railways, highways, mass transit — are high-profile projects with significant, direct impacts on local and national economies. Jobs are created at every step and new facilities pave the way for expanded domestic and international business opportunities.

We have significant experience working with federal and state agencies, municipalities, public-private partnerships and other stakeholders in the development, financing, construction and management of large-scale transportation projects.

Among recent matters, we:

  • Represented railcar supplier in connection with multibillion-dollar public-private partnership (P3) project to deliver light rail service to major US regional transit authority, including contract negotiations, and analysis of key regulatory and “flow down” requirements.
  • Serve as lead outside counsel to the Bugasera Airport Company for the development and construction of the New Bugasera International Airport in Kigali, Rwanda.
  • Serve as lead outside counsel for the development and construction of Hamad International Airport, one of the largest airport projects in the world.
  • Provide counsel and legal guidance to Qatar Airways on national and worldwide acquisitions and investments, construction projects, corporate structural issues, disputes and various operational matters, including acting as lead legal advisor for the airline’s strategic investment in a new greenfield airport project and national airline in Africa.
  • Representing the State of Qatar in a US$25 billion joint venture project for designing, building, and operating a passenger and freight rail network in Qatar.
  • Advised an international corporation with regard to a request for proposal (RFP), teaming agreement and risk analysis for a large design-build subway construction project in a major U.S. city.
  • Defended public owner in action by contractors challenging default termination of two subway contracts and asserting over $40 million in construction claims. After a 45-day trial, a favorable trial court decision, an appellate remand, and a re-trial, the court upheld client's decision to terminate the contracts, awarded client - the defendant - $40 million on its counterclaim for extra costs of completion after the termination.

Public Policy and Legislative Work

With strong connections and substantive experience in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and other capitals across Europe and Asia, our public policy and legislative affairs team helps build relationships between clients and government decisionmakers. We work hand-in-hand with clients to analyze, influence and help draft federal, state and local legislation, regulations and appropriations decisions that reflect client business goals and have a high likelihood of being adopted by the relevant government bodies.

Our U.S. Government Affairs team includes former senior staff for Republican and Democratic Senate majority and minority leaders and other U.S. senators and representatives. Together with members of our London office, Crowell & Moring International (CMI) — our international trade and trade policy consultancy, led by Ambassador Robert Holleyman, the former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) — routinely advises U.S., European and Asian clients and tracks the interests and interrelationship between international financing, construction, technology, and other critical elements and drivers of infrastructure projects in these regions. Our London team has strong relationships with the U.K. government and represents participants from across the European financial and corporate community seeking to participate in the U.S. and worldwide infrastructure space.

On cross-border projects, we also work closely with experienced local counsel to assess specific jurisdictional laws and regulations and their effects on proposed infrastructure initiatives.

Among recent matters, we:

  • Represented a wind energy company in North America on various development and interconnection issues for offshore projects.
  • Provided analysis and advice regarding California electric utilities’ proposals to build and own electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Advised a client involved in a major energy project on Supremacy Clause challenges to the enforceability of power purchase agreements provided to projects to support financing and construction.
  • Worked with a major international client to map out supply chain and related infrastructure issues as the United States seeks to shift overseas manufacturing back to domestic production.
  • Assisted an international fund in resolving a dispute over international port investments involving several countries in the Middle East and Asia.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our litigation and dispute resolution team has extensive experience helping clients clear legal and regulatory hurdles and resolve conflicts involving project finance, contracts, design and construction, delivery of products or services, and other issues, with particular experience in matters involving public-private partnerships. We have represented clients in U.S. state and federal courts, administrative forums, arbitrations and independent dispute resolution (IDR) proceedings worldwide in matters involving highways, bridges, power plants, renewable projects and other heavy infrastructure projects. 

Among recent matters, we:

  • Currently represent a sovereign government in a $4 billion International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration concerning consultant breaches of contract and negligence in the design and construction of a major infrastructure project.
  • Handled an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration with $50 million at issue for Tecnimont, a large Italian construction conglomerate, in relation to a joint venture with Daewoo to build LPG tank farms in Qatar.
  • Represented a large national insurer in U.S. federal court, successfully moving to dismiss bad faith claims arising out of a $40 million construction dispute and subsequently settling the matter on favorable terms.
  • Advised on a £10 million construction dispute acting for ITV plc in relation to the construction of its studios involving Coronation Street, a long-running English television program.
  • Served as lead counsel in a $100 million UNCITRAL investment arbitration regarding denial of justice and arbitrary detention of a private equity manager over alleged embezzlement related to a successful infrastructure fund.
  • Served as lead counsel in an arbitration in which a majority ICC tribunal awarded our client $500 million in damages, while defeating a $500 million counterclaim, in relation to a failed port project in Damietta, Egypt.
  • Performed due diligence and assessment of companies’ rail systems and infrastructure in preparation for complex litigation.