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Jacob A. Zahniser

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A construction lawyer, construction litigator, and trial attorney, Jacob focuses his practice on construction and real estate litigation, as well as handling insurance coverage disputes arising from construction defects. 
As a construction lawyer, Jacob has represented a wide variety of construction industry clients ranging from contractors, suppliers, and insurance policy holders and assignees, to commercial property owners, landlords, and homeowners associations. Jacob is experienced in all forms of construction litigation, including payment disputes and lien claims, insurance coverage, leases, purchase and sale agreements, development rights, adverse possession, property lines and easements, and development disputes.  He is also a member of the Executive Committee for the Oregon State Bar Construction Section.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Jacob was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Actors’ Equity Association.

Education & Admissions

  • B.A., University of Maryland, 1995
  • J.D., cum laude, St. John’s University School of Law, 2007
  • State of Oregon
  • State of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington


Memberships & Activities

  • Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland
  • Oregon State Bar, Construction Law Section, Executive Commitee (2017-Present), Member-at-Large (2016-2017)
  • American Bar Association, Construction Law Forum

Awards and Honors

Awards and Honors:
  • Oregon Super Lawyers Rising Star in Construction Litigation, 2014-2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation - Construction, 2019


  • The Contractors Special Conditions Endorsement, OSB Construction Law Newsletter, (June 2018) 
  • Oregon Real Estate Desk Book, Ch. 35 Commercial Lease Disputes and Remedies OSB (2014).
  • Co-authored, Don’t Let Your Construction Project Go Up in Smoke, Cascadia Business News, Dec. 11, 2014.
  • Don't Get Smoked: What Landlords Need to Know about Leasing Space to a 'Canna-business,’ Portland Business Journal, Oct. 31, 2014.
  • Co-authored, If the Criminal Law Don’t Fit, You Can Civilly Commit, found in IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE, (Timothy Lynch, ed. 2009). Selected by Professor Lloyd L. Weinreb for use in his criminal law class at Harvard Law School.



  • "Balancing Legal Risk in Contracts and Practice," AIA Portland, July 2018
  • AIA Contract Document Workshop, HalfMoon Education Inc., July 2018
  • "Contract Review - What's in your contract?" Oregon Landscape Contractors Association, December 2017
  • "Prevailing Wages," Construction Law Seminar, The Seminar Group, September 2017
  • "Contractors Roulette," AGC-Oregon Convention, August 2016
  • "Why Appraisers Get Sued," Appraise Right, November 2015
  • "Real Estate and Land Use," Marijuana in Oregon, The Seminar Group, July 2015
  • "It Ain't Easy Being Green: The Legal Issues of Green Construction," Builder/Remodeler Breakfast, Portland Homebuilders Association, June 2015
  • "Measure 91: Residential and Commercial Real Estate and Land Use Issues," Oregon Law Institute CLE, May 2015
  • "Impacts of Measure 91," Spring Symposium, Oregon Casualty Adjusters Association, April 2015

Practice Overview

Practice Areas

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