Overview

Jeremy S. Baker is a construction attorney who helps his clients to complete challenging projects by emphasizing dispute avoidance and early, cost-efficient resolution of claims. He represents property owners, developers, design professionals, contractors and lenders in all aspects of design and construction, from contract negotiation through dispute resolution. He provides counsel and advocacy to avoid and resolve disputes involving:

  • Sustainable design and construction
  • Construction project payment and accounting
  • Delay, disruption, acceleration and labor productivity
  • Mechanics lien and mortgage foreclosures
  • Performance and payment bonds
  • Bankruptcy and collections
  • Design and construction defects
  • Digital Data / Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Design professional intellectual property
  • Zoning and permitting
  • Insurance

Jeremy’s practice also involves project structuring across a variety of delivery methods, as well as contract review and negotiation on commercial, mixed use, educational, hospitality, multi-family residential, retail, workplace, utility and government projects.

Jeremy is an experienced litigator who has prosecuted and defended lawsuits in well over 30 state and federal court venues, as well as in American Arbitration Association (AAA) proceedings. However, he prefers to resolve disputes using cost-efficient alternative dispute resolution — including non-binding mediation — without the need for expensive arbitration or litigation. He is an early adopter and proponent of the Guided Choice Dispute Resolution System, a more effective alternative to traditional commercial mediation and arbitration.

Jeremy believes clients are best served through lasting relationships. His clients trust him to protect their business interests by anticipating and preventing problems. When unforeseen disputes arise, he leverages his deep knowledge of the design and construction industries, and a diverse range of legal skills, to dispatch the problems swiftly and cost-effectively.

Previous Experience

Previously, Jeremy was an associate attorney at a prominent national law firm (2002-2006).

  • Experience

    • Jeremy served on a team that advised a medical center to develop a $1 billion project, including construction of a $683 million, 800,000-square-foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified hospital using a multiple prime contractor/construction management project delivery system.
    • Jeremy and his colleagues successfully represented a consortium of utilities in federal court litigation related to a billion-dollar project. The case involved delay, loss of efficiency and defect claims in excess of $150 million.
    • A municipality hired a team including Jeremy to provide counsel on the procurement of a $60 million transportation infrastructure project developed with state and federal funds.
    • Jeremy and his colleagues successfully defended a property owner from $25 million of delay, differing site conditions, and fraud claims in a three-week AAA arbitration hearing.
    • Much of Jeremy’s practice is dedicated to representing architects and engineers. He has represented more than 30 design firms in a variety of capacities. For years Jeremy has reported to the Chairman/CEO of a global architecture firm as its informal outside general counsel. In that capacity, he provides counsel on domestic and international affairs, including firm-wide policies and procedures, insurance and risk management, contracts and negotiations, fee collections, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance.
    • Jeremy has extensive experience representing developers of mixed-use and specialty projects.  In one project, Jeremy and his colleagues successfully defended the developer of a 71-turbine 109.5-megawatt wind farm against a constitutional challenge to its special use zoning approval.
    • Another developer turned to Jeremy and his colleagues when its general contractor filed for bankruptcy protection midway through the construction of a $50 million nursing home. Jeremy assisted the developer to negotiate with sureties, to resolve subcontractor claims and to complete the project, resulting in a net-monetary gain to the client.
    • Jeremy’s experience representing contractors includes defending an Engineering News-Record top-25 contractor from a $3 million claim related to its design/build delivery of an ice arena’s mechanical systems. In another case, he represented a cost estimator in connection with its termination from a $450 million project.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • Tulane University Law School, J.D., 2002, cum laude
    • University of California - Santa Barbara, B.A., Law, 1999, honors

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
      • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
      • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
      • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

          Clerkships

          • Judicial Extern — Honorable Morey L. Sear, Chief Judge Emeritus, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (2001-2002)

          Professional Memberships

          • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry
          • American Institute of Architects (AIA), Contract Documents Train-the-Trainer Program
          • Chicago Bar Association, Construction Law & Mechanics Lien Subcommittee

          Teaching Appointments

          • The John Marshall Law School, Construction Law, Adjunct Professor of Law (2016-present)
        • Insights

          TITLE
          Event

          Understanding AIA Document A201-2017 General Conditions

          Berkley Design Professional

          Location:
          San Francisco, Calif.
          Article

          Arbitrator-Directed Arbitration: A Proposal to Improve Construction Arbitration

          Arbitration was once the darling of the construction industry, with parties intentionally sacrificing the safeguards of litigation, and its expensive and inefficient procedures, in favour of fair, quick, and cost-efficient dispute resolution.

          News Release

          2019 Leading Lawyers Lists Recognize 95 Schiff Attorneys

          Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to have 95 attorneys named to the 2019 Leading Lawyers list.

          News Release

          Super Lawyers Names 39 Schiff Attorneys to 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

          Two partners were recognized among “best of the best” on 2019 Illinois Top Lists

          Event

          Design Professional Liability Exposure

          Construction Litigation Dispute Resolution, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE)

          Location:
          Chicago, Ill.
          Event

          AIA Chicago Presentation

          Location:
          Chicago, Ill.
          Event

          Professional Liability Law: Managing Engineering Liability and Risk

          Halfmoon Education

          Location:
          Lombard, Ill.
          Event

          Understanding AIA Document A201-2017 General Conditions of Construction Contract

          Private Event for Prominent Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Company

          Other Publications

          • “Chapter 1 – Responsibilities and Liabilities of Architects and Engineers for Construction Failures,” (co-author) Construction Dispute Litigation 2018 Edition, IICLE (Mar. 2018)
          • “Chapter 19 – Nonbinding Alternatives to Court Litigation for Resolving Construction Disputes,” (co-author) Construction Dispute Litigation 2018 Edition, IICLE (Mar. 2018)
          • “Chapter 20 – Arbitration,” (co-author) Construction Dispute Litigation 2018 Edition, IICLE (Mar. 2018)
          • “How Guided Choice Mediation Achieves Earlier Construction Settlements,” (co-author) Construction Law Letter, Vol. 34, no. 3 (Jan./Feb. 2018)
          • “Article 8, Time,” Chapter 8 in The 2017 A201 Deskbook, American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Construction Law (2017)
          • “Alternative Dispute Resolution Terms in Construction Contracts,” Chapter 13 in Construction Law: Transactional Considerations 2017 Edition, The Illinois Institute for Continuing Education (IICLE) (2017)
          • “United States Construction Contracts,” (co-author, Paul M. Lurie) Chapter 18 in International Business Transactions, Kluwer Law and Taxation Publishers (2014)
          • “Ethics and Mediation: Managing Conflicts of Interest,” (co-author, Paul M. Lurie) AAA Handbook on Mediation, second Edition, Juris Publishing, Inc. (Jun. 2010)
          • “Is It Worth Pursuing Your Construction Claim?” Journal of Construction Accounting and Taxation, vol. 19, no. 4 (Jul. 2009)
          • “Considerations in Suing an Architect,” Chapter 35 in Construction Checklists - A Guide To Frequently Encountered Construction Issues, American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry (2008)
          • “Pass-Through Claims in Construction Litigation,” International Law Office newsletter (May 29, 2007)

          Speeches & Presentations

          • “Understanding AIA Document A201-2017 General Conditions,” (co-presenter) Berkley Design Professional, San Francisco, Calif. (Jun. 13, 2019)
          • “Protecting the Design Professional with Insurance and Contract Provisions,” (panelist) American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Chicago, Ill. (Feb. 7, 2019)
          • “Design Professional Liability Exposure,” Construction Litigation Dispute Resolution, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), Chicago, Ill. (Dec. 12, 2018)
          • “AIA Chicago Presentation: AIA’s Digital Practice Documents: Managing the Risks of BIM and Digital Data,” Chicago, Ill. (Nov. 8, 2018)
          • “Professional Liability Law,” Managing Engineering Liability and Risk, Halfmoon Education, Lombard, Ill. (May 30, 2018; Oct. 25, 2018)
          • “The Prominent Role of the AIA's BIM/Digital Practice Documents in the AIA 2017 Contract Document,” American Council of Engineering Companies (Jul. 10, 2018)
          • “Understanding AIA Document A201-2017 General Conditions of Construction Contract,” Private Event for Prominent Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Company (Jun. 14, 2018)
          • “Using AIA’s Digital Practice Documents to Manage the Risks of BIM and Digital Data,” American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Construction Law – “Hot Topics” Webinar (May 16, 2018)
          • “Managing Legal Risks,” Construction Specifications Institute Academy: Risk Management, Chicago, Ill. (Apr. 27, 2018)
          • “The New Role of the AIA’s BIM and Digital Practice Documents,” American Council of Engineering Companies Annual Convention and Legislative Summit, Washington, D.C. (Apr. 17, 2018)
          • “Engineer-Led Design Build: Simple, Safe, & Profitable,” American Council of Engineering Companies (Mar. 21, 2018)
          • “Using AIA’s Digital Practice Documents to Manage the Risks of BIM and Digital Data,” (co-presenter) ABA Forum on Construction Law (Division 3 – Design), “Hot Topics” Webinar (Dec. 6, 2017)
          • “Engineer-Led Design Build: Simple, Safe & Profitable,” American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Fall Conference, Orlando, Fla. (Oct. 17, 2017)
          • “Designer-Led Design Build: Return of the Master Builder,” Lorman Education Services Webinar (Mar. 14, 2016)
          • “Designer-Led Design-Build: A Practical Business Plan,” (panelist) Lorman Education Services Webinar (Feb. 26, 2016)
          • “Understanding the General Conditions of a Construction Contract, AIA Document A201-2007,” (May 9, 2014);
          • “Risks to Architects in Contractor-Led Design-Build,” (May 7, 2014);
          • "Negotiating Dispute Resolution Clauses," Five Keys for Negotiating Business Contracts, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (Mar. 21, 2014)
          • "Essential Concepts in Construction Contracts and Administration," (panelist) Lorman Education Services (Mar. 18, 2014)
          • "Legal Strategies for Controlling Project Costs: Managing the Risks of Mechanics Liens," (Jun. 28, 2012)
          • "Essential Concepts in Construction Contracting," (panelist) Lorman Education Services (Apr. 11, 2012)
          • "2011 Practical Considerations and Concerns in Basic Construction Contracting," (panelist) Lorman Education Services (Nov. 2, 2010)
          • "Practical Considerations and Concerns in Basic Construction Contracting," (panelist) Lorman Education Services (Dec. 2007)

          Jeremy is authorized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to give “official” AIA presentations to clients and potential clients for AIA continuing education learning units.

        • Citizenship

          Pro Bono Activities

          • Jeremy represents clients through Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) and has served as a guardianship counselor for the Cook County (Ill.) Guardianship Office for Minors.

          Civic and Charitable Memberships

          • CityPAC, Board of Directors
          • American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Chicago Young Leadership Council, Congressional Key Contact Committee, Former Co-Chair