Skilled Advocacy. Practical Solutions.


James G. Grillo

  • Partner

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Practice Areas:

  • Construction Litigation
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Public Project Bid Protests
  • Mechanic's Liens
  • Bond Claims
  • Civil Litigation
  • Business Formation
  • Mediation and Arbitration


James was born and raised in northern New Jersey. After graduating Rutgers College of Engineering with a Bachelors of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering, he decided to pursue a career in law. The corporate law school at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware provided an excellent environment for James to immerse himself in the law following the rigors of engineering school. He excelled in law school, graduating with honors, and, following graduation, accepted a 1 year position in New Jersey Court System as law clerk to the Honorable Gerald C. Escala, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, in Hackensack, New Jersey. Judge Escala was a friend, mentor and excellent advisor, allowing James invaluable insight and experience not only with regard to legal issues, but also into the proper conduct of a lawyer and the profession in general.

At the conclusion of the clerkship, James made the move to the Boston area and spent 18 months at a firm specializing in medical malpractice defense. Due to the nature of insurance defense and in particular the representation of professionals, the opportunities for a young lawyer to represent clients both in and out of court were particularly important to his continuing development as a lawyer.

Having gotten a proper background in practical litigation skills, James decided to put his engineering degree to work in 2000 by joining Heafitz & Sullivan, an established boutique law firm specializes in complex litigation focused on public and private contracts, construction and engineering related matters. The focused work involved contract disputes, Attorney General Bid Protests, bond claims, mechanic's liens, development, real estate, environmental, health and safety issues as well as traditional general counsel, breach of contract and payment issues and dispute management common in commercial litigation. As part of this practice, James:

  • Provides general counsel services and legal issue management to a wide range of public and private clients.
  • Has extensive litigation experience, arbitration, trial and appeals in the Federal and State courts, including the Supreme Judicial Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Drafts and negotiates contracts for owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and design professionals on public and private projects.
  • Negotiates and resolve complex payment, breach of contract and scope of work disputes for public and private sector construction.
  • Has a strong knowledge of construction, engineering, real estate, insurance, environmental and contract law.

Representative Cases

1. Fordyce v. Town of Hanover, 457 Mass. 248 (2010): Filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of an interested third-party which was ultimately followed by the Supreme Judicial Court concerning the definition of "fraud" and its application in the public construction arena.

2. TLT Construction Corp v. Office of the Attorney General, Suffolk Superior Court Civil Action No. 07-05460: Successfully obtained Summary Judgment against the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, vacating a bid protest decision which purported to find fraud by a general contractor as part of the Contractor's bid filings under M.G.L.c. 149, §44D1/2.  

3. Atlantic Mechanical v. Vallance, Suffolk Superior Court Civil Action No. 12-4403 - Represented a client through trial and obtained a large judgment against a former commission employee who had significantly overstated his performance in making weekly salary draw requests to the client.

4. Caron Building Corporation v. Permabit Technology Corporation, Middlesex Superior Court Civil Action No. 09-1296: Where a general contractor was left without a significant chance of recovery on a mechanic's lien do to the underlying circumstances between a commercial tenant and a landlord after the performance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in build-out work, secured a substantial Bank Account attachment against the commercial tenant on an ex-parte emergency motion at the filing of suit which ultimately resulted in a very significant settlement for the general contractor without the need for long, drawn out litigation and trial process.

5. Trace Construction v. Dana Barros Sports Complex LLC, 459 Mass. 346 (2011): Represented a subcontractor against an Owner in a matter of first impression before the Supreme Judicial Court regarding mechanic's liens and leasehold interests.

Personal Interests

  • Mountain Biking 
  • Youth Sports Coach (Football and Soccer)
  • Accomplished Guitar Player


  • Widener University Delaware Law School, Wilmington, Delaware
    • Juris Doctor - 1997
    • Honors: cum laude
  • Rutgers College of Engineering, New Brunswick, New Jersey
    • B.S., Bachelor of Science - 1994
    • Major: Civil Engineering

Bar Admission

  • Massachusetts, 1998
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit, 1999
  • New Jersey, 1997
  • Federal District Court of New Jersey, 1997

Past Positions

  • Heafitz & Sullivan, LLP, Senior Associate and Attorney, 2000 to 2015
  • Ficksman & Conley, LLC, Litigation Associate, 1998 to 2000
  • Regional Administrative Judge, Bergen County Superior Court, Hackensack, NJ, Judicial Clerkship – Family and General Equity Division, 1997 to 1998

Fraternities Or Sororities

  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Nu Beta

Current Employment Position

  • Partner