Arbitrator & dispute resolution neutral

Ronald R. Leaders, Principal


Focus of Dispute Resolution Practice. I combine more than 35 years of construction attorney experience with engineering, contracts administrator and claim consultant experience to provide a holistic understanding to the resolution of construction disputes. I provide arbitrator, mediator, early neutral evaluation, and dispute review board services and have been a member of the American Arbitration Association National Arbitrator Panel since 1980.

My practice focuses on construction and commercial disputes. Many of the recent arbitrations have involved homeowner-contractor residential construction issues.

Dispute Resolution Approach and Philosophy. As an arbitrator, I emphasize managing the process to achieve the mutual goals of the parties of a prompt, economic and fair resolution of their disputed issues. As a mediator it is important to fully understand the issues, goals and needs of each party to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution of their dispute. My expertise as a negotiation trainer facilitates my ability to get to the underlying mutual interests of each party which is usually required to achieve a lasting resolution of a mediated dispute.

Work Experience.  Over 35 years in the design and construction industry, with an emphasis in claim avoidance, improved contracting practices, claim resolution and creative problem-solving legal advice in the design and construction industry. Claims attorney for national constructor on large infrastructure projects. Instructor and trainer in over 20 workshops on contracting drafting and negotiations, design/build contracting, risk management, dispute avoidance/early dispute resolution and project management improvement subjects. Claims manager for captive insurer, underwritten by Lloyd’s of London, developing and implementing claim avoidance and construction document QA procedures. Claims consultant for numerous infrastructure claims, focusing on claim avoidance, claim entitlement evaluation and negotiated resolution of claims. General Counsel for design firm responsible for negotiation of all major contracts, change orders, disputes and claims for more than 30 years. Implemented mutual interest negotiation approach into all contract administration procedures, with significant improvement in project performance and profitability.

Relevant Professional Experience. Over 35 years in the design and construction industries with an emphasis on claim assessment, claim negotiations and dispute resolution. Claims consultant responsible for claim resolution of construction claims, including delay claims and inefficiency claims. Claims manager for captive insurer, addressing professional standard of care disputes and developing and implementing training and risk management programs. Areas of technical emphasis include: WATER RESOURCES, including sewage and wastewater treatment, dams, pipelines and potable water treatment; ELECTRICAL FACILITIES, including hydro electrical generation, power plants, cogeneration projects, electrical substations, transmission and distribution systems; TRANSPORTATION, including highways, tunnels, bridges, airport runways, railroads and light-rail; COMMERCIAL and RESIDENTIAL, including commercial shopping malls, multi-family, residential and construction defects disputes; PETROCHEMICAL and INDUSTRIAL, including refineries, chemical plants, environmental remediation, hazardous material abatement, metallurgical and welding failure analysis, and protective and painting systems. Areas of legal and consulting emphasis include: Contract negotiations, design/build contract documents, preparation and management of design and construction contracts, resolution of disputes, claim analysis and assessment, claim management, litigation management, advocate in mediation and arbitration of disputes, employment dispute resolution, and software licensing.

Mediation and Facilitation. Project partnering and issues facilitation consultant to develop and implement partnering and facilitation processes to address significant design issues involving designers, designer insurer, owner, owner’s program manager, owner’s construction manager and prime construction contractor on MGM City Centre Project, Las Vegas, a $8.2 billion project to design and construct a self-contained city community. Services implemented and led group partnering, project alignment and issue facilitation sessions involving project stakeholders.

Alternative Dispute Training. AAA ACE 19 Case Finances: What Arbitrators Need to Know, 2019; Arbitrator Performance and Demeanor ~ Meeting Participant Expectations, 2018; The Ethics of e-Discovery in Arbitration, 2017; AAA The “Perfect” Cross-Examination, 2016; AAA Dispute Resolution 2.0: Non-Traditional Options for Avoiding and Resolving Construction Disputes, 2015; AAA Arbitrator Use & Misuse of Experts, 2015; AAA Debunking the Myths and Misperceptions of Construction Arbitration, 2014; AAA Pro Se: Managing Cases Involving Self-Represented Parties ACE02, 2006; AAA Dealing With Delay Tactics in Arbitration ACE04, 02/06; ACE001 - Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards, 03/05; AAA Construction Industry Arbitrator II Training, Seattle, 7/02; AAA Arbitrator Update 2001; Harvard Law, Project on Negotiation, Certificate to Train Negotiation, 1998; AAA Advanced Arbitrator Training, 1995; AAA Mediator Training, 1994; Harvard Law School, Facilitated Negotiation Skills Training, 1994.

Training, Presentations and Publications

Construction Negotiation – WSDOT Local Programs Workshop

Feb. 2020


10 negotiation workshops to national clients for The Negotiation Institute



Construction Negotiation – WSDOT   Local Programs Workshop

April 2016


Construction Negotiation Workshop – AKDOT in Fairbanks and Anchorage – 2 day programs

April 2016


Construction Negotiation Workshop – NDSU Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, with participation   of State DOTs from ND, SD, MT and WY

March 2016


Change Order Negotiation – WSDOT   Local Programs Workshop

May 2015


Neutral Facilitation in Construction – Daily Journal of Commerce 

April 2015


Lessons-Learned from SR99 Tunnel Claims – APWA Conference

October 2014


Neutral Project Facilitation – CSG   and Synergistic Teaming Workshops – 3 workshops



Contracts and Dispute Resolution – Washington Cities Insurance Authority

April and Sept. 2012


Re-Tooling Change Order Practice – CSG Webinar

Sept. 2011


Change Order Management – Project Scheduling and Delay Analysis – Webinar

Sept. 2011


Change Order Management – Issue and Dispute Resolution – CSG Webinar

Sept. 2011


Author of more than 15 quarterly articles in American Public Works   Association – Washington Chapter magazine Contracts Corner feature, covering   various contracting, change order administration, claim avoidance and dispute   resolution topics

March 2008 to 2013


Advanced Contract Negotiations – Beazley   Insurance national webinar

Sept. 2010


Change Order Negotiations – CSG   Workshop

July 2008


Utility Coordination & Risk Allocation – CSG Workshop

April 2008


Schedule Analysis and Delay Claims – CSG Workshop

March 2006


Improving Construction Change Order Management – CSG Workshop

May 2007


Design Professional Risk Management and Advanced Contract   Negotiations – CSG Workshop in North Carolina and South Carolina

October 2006


Successful Public Works Contracts from Z to A – APWA Washington  Chapter

February 2006


Evaluating and Resolving Construction Claims – CSG Workshop

October 2005


Improving Construction Change Order Management – CSG Workshop

August 2005


Improving Owner Cost Control and Claim Recovery for A/E Services - CSG

April 2005


Managing Contractor Claims, Washington   Cities Insurance Authority

Nov. 2004


Managing Contractor Claims by Public Owners, Washington Counties Risk Pool 

October 2003


Design–Build and Construction Management Contracting, 

Lorman Education Services 

Dec. 2002


Strategic Alliances Need Infrastructures: Use of Long Term Contracts   to Improve Contracting Results, Electrical   World

September 1998


New Contracting Approaches for Cost Control and Risk Allocation,

Northwest Construction Consumer   Council, Seattle, Washington

February 1996


Teaming and Partnering, A Design Professional Perspective

American Public Works   Association, Spokane, Washington

October 1995

Work Positions and Responsibilities 

· Principal, Law Offices of Ronald Leaders, Vashon, WA. 1999 – Present:  National construction law practice focusing on contract documents, contracting practices and administration, change order and claim evaluation and resolution. Emphasis is on non-litigation resolution of construction disputes and improved project management and contracting practices.

· General Counsel, R. W. Beck and Associates, Seattle, WA. 1979 – 1999: Provided all legal advice, claim avoidance guidance and construction bid document QA reviews to national consulting engineering firm of 675 personnel. Projects included all infrastructure projects, including roadways and structures.

· Associate General Counsel, Morrison-Knudsen Company, Boise, ID. 1975 – 1979: Provided all legal advice to domestic engineering and construction activities of Fortune 500 construction company. Emphasized contract evaluation and negotiations. Performed bid document reviews to identify potential claim opportunities. Performed claims preparation and negotiations. Extensive experience on large design and construction projects, including roadway and structures.

· Contracts Manager, Bechtel Corporation, San Francisco, CA. 1972 – 1975: Prepared and negotiated contract documents and negotiated contracts for petrochemical and industrial projects, such as boilers for electrical generation stations. Field contract administration of subcontractors on $50 million petrochemical project.

Training and Credentials

Washington State Bar Association (1975 to present); Member, American Arbitration Association, National Construction Arbitrator Panel (1975 – present). Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), 2001; AAA Mediator Training, 1994; Harvard Law, Project on Negotiation, Certificate to Train Negotiation, 1998 and Facilitated Negotiation Skills Training, 1994; Dispute Review Board Foundation, Chair and Panel Member training, 1999; Georgia Tech, B. Chemical Engineering, 1966, M.S. Metallurgy, 1971; University of San Francisco Law School, 1975.


· Hourly billing rate of $295 per hour for motions, study, hearings and award preparation.

· Self-Administered Services available at no cost if elected by parties.

· Time and Cost Supplementary AAA Rules are available if elected by parties.

Additional Information

· Call 206.734.7126 or email

· Websites: www.contractsolutionsgroup.comand

· LinkedIn/ron-leaders

· Law Offices of Ronald Leaders, PO Box 775, Vashon Island, WA 98070