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Technical Excellence in Government Contracts
and Construction Matters Since 1893.
Oles Morrison
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Sam Baker utilizes his extensive experience in construction, government contracts and commercial litigation to evaluate and resolve construction disputes involving complex, multi-party cases in Washington state and along the West Coast. As a former officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a degree in Building Technology and Administration (construction management), he understands the technical aspects of construction in applying the law. Throughout Sam’s distinguished career, he has represented clients in transactions with public and federal agencies, as well as private entities. He frequently appears in state and federal courts, and represents clients in arbitration and mediation.

Active in the construction industry and local community, Sam is a founding member of the University of Washington Construction Industry Advisory Council, past Chairman of the Seattle Police Foundation Board of Directors, and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Auction of Washington Wines. His commitment and achievements in the legal and construction industries was recognized in 2006 when Sam was inducted as the first attorney in the University of Washington Construction Hall of Fame. He is also the first attorney to hold the distinction of serving as a Director of The Beavers and Trustee of its Charitable Trust. In 2012, the organization awarded Sam the coveted Golden Beaver Award for Service and Supply. In 2014, Sam was selected for membership in the National Academy of Construction and in 2018 was appointed the organization’s General Counsel.

Representative matters

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Large settlement secured for tunnel contractor on claims for defective design and differing site conditions encountered in construction of a light rail station 200 feet below ground.

Secured large settlement from state on contractor claims involving a transmission line in Alaska. Subsequently claims for both contractor and state were resolved in multimillion settlement against design professionals.

Obtained large award from a contract appeal board following a hearing of wrongful termination claim on a highway contract.

Achieved multimillion dollar settlement of contractor claims against the State of Hawaii involving changed conditions incurred in construction of a large sewage treatment plant.

Risk Management

Effectively applied the concept of partnering in achieving claims free performance for the constructor of a new floating bridge following the sinking of a predecessor bridge and major litigation brought by State.

Procurement Disputes (Bidding and Bid Protests)

Supreme Court affirmed a favorable trial court decision in favor of contractor who signed their land but not the bid form.


Full recovery based on decision of the Engineering BCA for inherent failure of a government-designated rock quarry to produce specified armor stone for new dikes/revetments on a harbor project.

Federal court jury in Montana returned large verdict for a contractor on claims against surety for failure to comply with industry standards applicable to a contractor default.

Secured a jury verdict after 14 weeks of trial for a contractor and owner against the design professional based on the cumulative impact of massive changes in constructing a high-rise building in Seattle.

Secured multi-million-dollar decision from ASBCA granting full recovery for significant quantity underruns on a dredging project.

Large judgment upheld on appeal for constructor claims for multiple changes and breach of design warranty involving substantial refurbishment of an oil refinery in California.

Jury awarded 100 percent of all claims for costs overruns plus business devastation damages on a road building contract in rural Alaska.


Represented prime contractor on concrete physical sciences structure at a state university, which settled after seven weeks of trial and continued for five more weeks in successful defense of mechanical contractor claims. Judgment for contractor was sustained by State Supreme Court.

Facilitated full recovery following lengthy trial for contractor on highway construction claim involving changed conditions claims due to failure of designated gravel courses to produce specified materials.

Secured large settlement for contractor of a major port expansion first against the federal government and later on claims by public owner against the project’s design and construction firms.

Publications & Presentations

  • Presenter, “The Teambuilding Approach to Preparing, Pricing and Prosecuting Requests for Compensation,” Oles Morrison Alaska Construction Law and Government Contracting Seminar, 2012
  • Presenter, “How to Deal With the Stigma of ‘Claims’,” Oles Morrison Construction and Public Contract Law Seminar, 2008
  • Presenter, “Terminations – The Course of Last Resort,” Oles Morrison Construction and Public Contract Law Seminar, 2005
  • Presenter, “Litigation Strategy – How the Parties Should Approach the Process,” Oles Morrison Construction and Public Contract Law Seminar, 2004


  • General Counsel, National Academy of Construction
  • Honorary Director, The Beavers
  • Chairman, Auction of Washington Wines Board of Directors
  • Member, University of Washington Contractor Industry Advisory Council
  • Director, Western Washington University Foundation
  • Vice President, Celebrity Waiters Luncheon Organization
  • Former President, Washington Athletic Club 101 Club
  • Former Chair and Current Member, Seattle Police Foundation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • King County Bar Association, Construction Law Section
  • Montana State Bar Association
  • Phi Delta Phi Legal Honorary

Awards & Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2018
  • Community Service Award, Celebrity Waiters Luncheon, 2017
  • Inductee, National Academy of Construction, 2014
  • Golden Beaver Awardee, The Beavers Association, 2012
  • Super Lawyers, 2003 – present