Nicolas J. Rotsko

Partner Buffalo, New York City, Washington, DC
Nicolas Rotsko

Nick focuses on high-stakes, complex litigation between private businesses and against state, local and federal governments, including contract disputes, constitutional violations and challenges to agency action.

Nick has a track record of superb results in a wide variety of complex business disputes around the country, including bet-the-company breach of contract, business tort, corporate dissolution and commercial real estate matters. Nick provides creative, multidisciplinary, strategic counseling and negotiation that integrates the firm’s regulatory, corporate, banking, tax and government affairs capabilities to achieve clients’ objectives.

In addition to business litigation, Nick has an active constitutional and administrative litigation practice, asserting the rights of private parties against state, local and federal governments in a variety of disputes, including civil rights, preemption challenges, environmental and energy regulation, land use and procurement. He has defended False Claims Act allegations, conducted internal investigations and managed complex e-discovery.

As Government Contracts Practice Team Leader, Nick offers litigation and advisory services for prime contractors and subcontractors, including bid protests, contract negotiation and administration, and compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Competition in Contracting Act, Contract Disputes Act and other statutes and regulations governing contracting activity. He has litigated sizeable monetary claims against the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, where he previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Victor J. Wolski.

Prior to joining Phillips Lytle, Nick worked as an attorney in Washington, D.C. on judicial and cabinet-level nominations. During law school, he served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Nathan D. Mihara of the California Court of Appeal (Sixth District), and to the Honorable Nathan L. Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court.


Honors & Awards

  • Named Upstate New York Super Lawyers® Rising Star, 2017-2021
  • Lino A. Graglia Award, Texas Review of Law and Politics
  • President’s Scholar, San Jose State University
  • James F. Willis Award, San Jose State University
  • Temple Prize, San Jose State University

Education & Admissions

  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2010
  • San Jose State University, B.A., cum laude, 2005
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Judicial Clerkships
  • Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Victor J. Wolski, United States Court of Federal Claims, 2011-2012


Constitutional Litigation
  • Obtained injunctions in federal court vindicating the civil rights of multiple plaintiffs.
  • Prevailed in federal preemption lawsuits on behalf of an interstate pipeline company against state and local governments attempting to block a $500 million natural gas pipeline project.
Business Disputes
  • Negotiated creative resolution of commercial lawsuit for energy company culminating in acquisition of 3,600 oil and gas leases.
  • Recovered substantial contract damages for sugar industry plaintiff in international dispute against large Mexican sugar refiner.
  • Defended company in three simultaneous multimillion dollar lawsuits under conditions where a loss in any of the three would have been fatal to the client’s business.
  • Represented referee appointed to resolve disputes between former partners of prominent Northeast law firm following dissolution.
  • Successfully asserted adverse possession to confirm client’s title to large industrial facility.
Government Contracts/Federal Claims
  • Represented contractor at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims after the government refused to ensure payment of fair value for intellectual and tangible property appraised at $100 million.
  • Asserted claim at the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) on behalf of landlord seeking to recover hold-over damages from government agency tenant.
  • Advised foreign bank on complex jurisdictional issues arising out of an embassy construction dispute.
  • Defended international financial institution in False Claims Act qui tam action.

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Federalist Society’s Litigation Practice Group, Executive Committee Member

Past Activities

  • Texas Review of Law and Politics, Book Review Editor
  • UT Law Federalist Society, President
  • American Bar Association Media Alerts Project, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
    • Section of Public Contract Law
  • Bar Association of Erie County
  • Court of Federal Claims Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Commercial and Federal Litigation Section