Our Team

Paul R. Cressman Jr.

Contact Information

Direct Dial: 206-389-8243
Assistant: Wendy Wheat-McCoy
Direct Dial: 206-340-4687

PAUL R. CRESSMAN, JR. is a member of the Seattle law firm of Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC, where he co-chairs the firm’s Construction Industry Practice Group.  He has practiced Construction Law for over 40 years, and his practice involves the representation of general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, owners, and design professionals involved in both public and private construction projects.  He is a former board member of the AGC of Washington’s Board of Directors, past-Chairperson of the AGC of Washington’s Legal Affairs Committee, recipient of both the AGC of Washington’s and the Puget Sound Chapter of NECA’s Affiliate and Associate of the Year Awards, past‑Chairperson of the WSBA’s Construction Law Section.  Mr. Cressman has been named a Washington Super Lawyer in the category of Construction Litigation for the years 2003-2020 and a Top 100 Super Lawyer for the years 2017-2019 by “Super Lawyers,” a Thomson Reuters business.  He was also selected as a Best Lawyer in America in Litigation – Construction by “Best Lawyers” for the years 2013-2018.  Mr. Cressman was listed as one of Seattle’s Top Lawyers in Construction Law by Seattle Met magazine in 2010, one of the Top 40 Real Estate Law Super Lawyers in the Winter 2008 edition of Washington Law & Politics magazine, and one of Seattle’s 115 Top Lawyers by Seattle magazine in its January / February 2003 edition.  He routinely participates in continuing legal education programs on construction law topics, and also regularly addresses various construction trade organizations on construction law issues.

  • 1976 – J.D., University of Washington, Order of the Coif
  • 1973 – B.A. in Business Administration, magna cum laude, University of Washington
  • 2013-2019 – Selected as a Best Lawyer in America in Litigation – Construction by “Best Lawyers”
  • 2010-2011 – Designated as one of Seattle’s Top Lawyers in Construction Law by Seattle Met magazine
  • 2008 – One of Seattle’s Top 40 Real Estate Law Super Lawyers by Washington Law & Politics magazine
  • 2003-2004 – One of Seattle’s Top 115 Lawyers as Designated by Seattle magazine
  • 2001-2019 – Named Super Lawyer by Washington Law & Politics and Super Lawyers magazines
  • 1994-Present – Member, Rotary Club of Seattle / Construction Law Practice
  • 1994/1997/2003 – Recipient of the Puget Sound Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association Associate of the Year Award
  • 1991 – Recipient of AGC of Washington’s Affiliate Member of the Year Award
  • 1986-Present – Member, Past-Trustee, and Past-Chairperson (1995-1996) of the Washington State Bar Association Section on Public Procurement and Private Construction Law
  • 1985-Present – Member and Past-Chairperson (1992-1994) of AGC of Washington’s Legal Affairs Committee
  • Member, King County and Washington State Bar Associations:  Construction (Past-Chairperson), Litigation, and Business Law Sections
  • Member, American Bar Association Sections on Business Law, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice, Public Contract Law, and Litigation
  • Member, Forum Committee on the Construction Industry
  • Member, Associated General Contractors (Board of Trustees, 2012-2014)
  • Member, National Electrical Contractors Association
  • Member, Utility Contractors Association of Washington
  • Author, Chapter on Miller Act, Associated General Contractors’ Lien and Bond Claims Handbook (1986-Present)
  • Author, Short Cressman & Burgess PLLC’s Manual for Lien and Bond Claims (1988-2006)
  • Author, Ahlers & Cressman PLLC Lien and Bond Claim Manual (2007-Present)
  • Representation of one of the Northwest’s largest mechanical contracting firms in a multi-million dollar energy performance contract dispute with a public body. The case was favorably resolved following mediation and private negotiations.
  • Representation of the Owner’s Representative / Designer of a significant hydroelectric project in southwest Washington.  Involvement included defending the Owner, a public utility district, against claims in excess of $13 million asserted by the project’s general contractor.
  • Representation of a Northwest Port in defending the Port against the multi-million dollar claim asserted by the general contractor on a sediment remediation project.  The claim was settled without litigation.
  • Defense of the general contractor on a $30 million remodeling project of a local high school, at the time the largest high school remodeling project in the state, from $2 million in claims asserted by the electrical contractor.  Following a two-week plus arbitration, the general contractor received a positive award.  The electrical contractor received nothing.
  • Representation of the general contractor prosecuting claims against a local fire protection district arising out of the remodeling and expansion of a fire station.  Following a two-week arbitration, the general contractor received an award in excess of $435,000.
  • Representation of the Puget Sound and Cascade Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association as amicus curiae in McCandlish Electric v. Will Construction, 107 Wn. App 85, 25 P.3d 1057 (2001).  At issue was whether Washington’s Subcontractor Listing Statute, RCW 39.30.060, as then constituted, provided an implied private cause of action in favor of a listed subcontractor when the general contractor failed to utilize the subcontractor.
  • Representation of numerous general contractors involved in all types of disputes, both large and small.
  • Representation of numerous electrical and mechanical contractors in many major claims arising from projects including the construction of the IDX Tower in Seattle, the new Seattle Central Library, Providence Hospital in Anchorage, a remote radar station on Amchitka Island for the U.S. Navy in Alaska, the remodeling of the Tacoma Union Station into a courtroom facility for the U.S. District Court, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and the Honolulu International Airport.
  • Representation of the successful general contractor in both the trial court and Court of Appeals in connection with the bid protest and related litigation regarding the $115 million plus King County Regional Justice Center in Kent.  Dick Enterprises v. King County, 83 Wn. App. 566, 922 P.2d 184 (1996).
  • Successful representation of the AGC of Washington in defining the limits by which King County could perform work with its own forces.  The AGC prevailed before the Washington Supreme Court.  Associated General Contractors of Washington v. King County, 124 Wn.2d 855, 881 P.2d 996 (1994).
  • Counsel for the AGC of Washington, Puget Sound and Cascade Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association, SMACNA-Western Washington, Inc. (Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association), and Utility Contractors Association of Washington as amicus curiae in support of Mike M. Johnson, Inc., the contractor claimant, against Spokane County in proceedings before the Washington State Supreme Court.  Participated in oral argument.  Mike M. Johnson v. County of Spokane, 150 Wn.2d 375, 78 P.3d 161 (2003).
  • Counsel for the same construction trade associations as mentioned immediately above as amicus curiae in support of Weber Construction, Inc.’s claims against Spokane County in proceedings before the Washington Court of Appeals, Division II.  Participation in oral argument.  At issue was the impact of the contractor’s failure to include an estimate of its damages in its supplemental protest information.  Weber Construction v. County of Spokane,124 Wn. App. 29, 98 P.3d 60 (2004).
  • Special Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for several large Puget Sound area counties defending the counties against significant construction claims on county projects.
  • Washington Case Law Update, Washington State Bar Association, Construction Law Section (1996-2019)
  • Washington Construction Law – New Developments, The Seminar Group (1993-2019)
  • Construction Law for Titan Electric, Titan Electric (2015)
  • Superintendents’ Certification Program, National Electrical Contractors Association (2001-2010, 2014-2016, 2019)
  • Pointers to Ensure Goodfellow Bros.’ Projects are Profitable, Goodfellow Bros., Inc. (2014)
  • How to Seek Additional Compensation or Time on a Washington Public Project:  What Steps Must You Follow?, National Electrical Contractors Association (2012)
  • Notice and Claims Procedures Workshop, Cochran Electric (2011)
  • Lien and Bond Claims, AGC Education Foundation (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004-2008, 2010-2011)
  • The Ins and Outs of AIA Document A201-2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, Washington State Bar Association (2010)
  • Do Not Forfeit Your Rights!  What the NECA Contractor Needs to Know about Claim Requirements, National Electrical Contractors Association (2010)
  • Williams v. Athletic Field Presentation, Washington State Bar Association, Construction Law Section (2010)
  • Good Documentation and Maintaining Good Customer Relations, AGC Education Foundation (2010)
  • Contract Provisions that Impact the Claim Rights of Subcontractors, Columbia Bank (2010)
  • AIA Contracts, Lorman Education Services (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012)
  • Contract Provisions That Impact the Claim Rights of Contractors, Washington Society of CPAs – Washington Construction Law Conference (2009)
  • What to Look for When You Review a Subcontract, Holmes Electric (2009)
  • Lien and Bond Claims, National Electrical Contractors Association (1998, 2005, 2009)
  • Discussion of American Institute of Architects A201 – General Conditions and A102 Owner / Contractor Agreement With Special Emphasis on 2007 Changes, Washington State Bar Association, Construction Law Section (2008)
  • Electrical Contractors Beware – Contract Provisions that Impact Your Claim Rights, National Electrical Contractors Association (2008)
  • Changes in AIA A102 and A201 Contract Documents, AGC Education Foundation (2008)
  • Claim / Notice Tune Up, John Korsmo Construction, Inc. (2008)
  • Construction Law Primer, National Electrical Contractors Association (2007)
  • Washington Construction Law, McKinstry Company (2007)
  • Lien Law Seminar, Elcon (2007)
  • Claims and Change Orders:  How to Get Paid!!!, AGC Education Foundation (2006-2007)
  • The Latest in Washington Construction Law, AGC Education Foundation (2005, 2006, 2007)
  • Pitfalls in Subcontracts, Associated Builders and Contractors (2006)
  • Subcontracting Pitfalls, National Electrical Contractors Association (2006)
  • AIA A201 Contractor’s vs. Owner’s Perspective, Lorman Education Services (2006)
  • Claims & Change Orders:  How to Get Paid!!!, McKinstry Company (2005, 2006)
  • Washington Construction Law: What Do You Do When …?, National Business Institute (2005)
  • Recent Developments in Washington Construction Law, Moss Adams (2005)
  • Construction Delay Claims in Washington, Lorman Education Services (2004-2005)
  • Hit and Win – Succeeding in Small Claims Court Against the Utilities, Underground Contractors Association (2004)
  • Written Notice Tune-Up, SMACNA (2004)
  • Written Notice Tune-Up, Associated Builders and Contractors (2004)
  • Subcontracting Fundamentals, AGC Education Foundation (2003, 2004)
  • (1) Mike M. Johnson, Inc. v. Spokane County, and (2) Lien and Bond Claims for the NECA Superintendent, National Electrical Contractors Association (2003)
  • Lien and Bond Claims on Washington Construction Projects, Turner Construction (2003)
  • Subcontracting and Lien and Bond Claim Issues, Sunset Air (2003)
  • Fundamentals of Construction Law, ABA Forum for the Construction Industry (2003)
  • Recent Developments in Washington Construction Law, Mechanical Contractors Association of Washington (2003)
  • Delays, Notice Requirements, and Proof and Calculation of Damages, Lorman Education Services (2002, 2003)
  • Lien and Bond Claims on Washington Construction Projects, Associated Builders and Contractors (1994, 1998, 2002-2003)
  • Insurance & Bonding Symposium, Associated Builders and Contractors (2002)
  • What the SMACNA Contractor Needs to Know About:  Critical Subcontract Provisions, Construction Schedules, Change Orders, and Claims, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association (2002)
  • Critical Subcontract Provisions, Construction Schedules, Change Orders, and Claims, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association (2002)
  • Timely Legal Topics, National Fire Sprinkler Association (2002)
  • Insurance Symposium, Associated Builders and Contractors (2002)
  • How to Protect Your Lien Rights, National Electrical Contractors Association (2002)
  • Lien Rights on Washington Public Construction Projects and Miller Act Claims on Federal Projects, Turner Construction (2002)
  • Construction Law, Liens & Related Issues, Dunn Lumber (2002)
  • Construction Changes:  Where Do You Stand?  Chance to Cash In or Calamity?, Lorman Education Services (2001)
  • Construction Law for Long Painting Company’s Management and Supervisory Personnel, Long Painting Company (2001)
  • Purchasing Fundamentals, Federated Electrical Contractors Association (2001)
  • Productivity Seminar, National Electrical Contractors Association (2001)
  • Bond Issues:  Washington Private, Washington Public, and Federal Construction Projects, Surety Association of Washington (2001)
  • Change Orders:  Where Do You Stand?, Associated General Contractors (1998, 1999, 2001)
  • Lien and Bond Claims and Other Payment and Collection Issues for Washington Construction Projects, Associated Builders and Contractors (1995, 1996, 2001)
  • Construction Changes:  Where Do You Stand?  Chance to Cash In or Calamity?, Associated General Contractors (2000)
  • Lien Rights & Bond Claims, Associated Builders and Contractors (1997, 1999, 2000)
  • Lien Law Update, Associated General Contractors (1999, 2000)
  • Advanced Construction Law, National Business Institute (1996, 1998, 2000)
  • Subcontracting:  Evaluation of Contract Claims – Where Are We Going?, National Electrical Contractors Association (1999)
  • Subcontracting:  How Not to Paint Yourself Into a Corner on Subcontracting Issues, Western Washington Signatory Painting Employees (1999)
  • Subcontracting, Associated General Contractors (1996-1999)
  • Third-Party Liability / Workman’s Compensation Issues, Associated Builders and Contractors (1995, 1999)
  • Recent Developments in Washington Construction Law, Law Seminars International (1994, 1996-1999)
  • Selected Topics in Construction Law in the Local and Municipal Context, Law Seminars International (1998)
  • The Pitfalls and Procedures of Subcontracting, Associated General Contractors (1998)
  • Significant Subcontract Issues, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (1998)
  • The ABC’s of the New 1997 AIA A-201 General Conditions, Associated Builders and Contractors (1998)
  • Snapshot of a Contractor’s Utility Delay Claim, Associated General Contractors (1997)
  • Subcontracting for Electrical Contractors – The Legal Issues You Need to Know, National Electrical Contractors Association (1997)
  • The ABC’s of the New 1997 AIA A-201 General Conditions, Associated Builders and Contractors (1997)
  • Perils and Pitfalls of Subcontracting, Washington Glass Association (1997)
  • What You Need to Know About Subcontracting, Associated General Contractors (1997)
  • Subcontracting Concerns in Today’s Construction Market, Associated Builders and Contractors (1996, 1997)
  • Lien Law, Associated General Contractors (1990, 1991, 1992, 1997)
  • Collecting Your Money:  Lien Rights, Bond Claims, and Beyond, Associated Builders and Contractors (1996)
  • What You Need to Know About Subcontracting, Associated General Contractors (1996)
  • Collecting Your Money:  Lien Rights and Bond Claims, Associated General Contractors (1995)
  • Subcontracting Concerns in 1995’s Construction Market, Associated Builders and Contractors (1995)
  • Subcontracting, National Electrical Contractors Association (1995)
  • Lien Law, National Electrical Contractors Association (1992, 1995)
  • How to Protect Your Lien Rights, National Electrical Contractors Association (1994)
  • What You Need to Know Before You Sign That Subcontract, Northwest Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association (1994)
  • Construction Lien Laws, Lorman Education Services (1994)
  • Construction Law for Electrical Contractors, National Electrical Contractors Association (1994)
  • Construction Law, King County Bar Association (1994)
  • Lien Law, Associated Builders and Contractors (1992, 1994)
  • Construction Law in Washington – Lien Law for Private Construction Projects, King County Bar Association (1993)
  • Survival Information for Contractors:  What You Need to Know About:  1) Bids, Bid Mistakes, and Bid Protests; and 2) Contract Provisions, Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (1993)
  • Lien Law / Miller Act, Associated General Contractors (1993)
  • Do’s and Don’ts of Changes, Scheduling and Claims, Associated Builders and Contractors (1993)
  • In’s and Out’s of New AGC Subcontract, Associated General Contractors (1992)
  • Washington’s New Construction Lien Law, Washington State Bar Association, Construction Law Section (1992)
  • Washington Lien Law for Private Construction Projects Effective June 1, 1992, King County Bar Association (1992)
  • Lien Law, Washington Glass Association (1992)
  • Lien Law, Construction Enterprises & Contractors, Inc. (1992)
  • Washington’s New Lien Law for Private Construction Projects as Adopted by the 1991 Legislature, King County Bar Association (1992)
  • Do You Really Want to Sign This Subcontract?  Do You Have a Choice?, Washington Glass Association (1991)
  • Washington’s New Lien Law for Private Construction Projects Effective April 1, 1992, Benson & McLaughlin, P.S. (1991)
  • Subcontracts, National Electrical Contractors Association (1991)
  • Where the Minefields Lie in the General Conditions for School Construction, Associated General Contractors (1991)
  • Cover Your Assets:  A “How-To” on Changes, Scheduling, Claims & Alternative Dispute Resolution, Associated General Contractors (1991)
  • New School District General Conditions, Associated General Contractors (1991)
  • Do’s and Don’ts of Change Order Requests, Associated Builders and Contractors (1990)
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