Biography Photo for James A Samborn

James A. Samborn

Chairman Emeritus & Member
James Samborn’s practice focuses on Construction and Commercial and Business Litigation. Mr. Samborn has been lead counsel in a wide variety of sophisticated and complex construction and commercial litigation matters in various State and Federal courts, and in arbitration and other ADR proceedings. He has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, representing owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and engineers. Mr. Samborn also has extensive experience with alternative dispute resolution and is a member of the American Arbitration Association's Large, Complex Case Panel of Arbitrators and its Panels of Construction and Commercial Arbitrators.

Mr. Samborn served as Chairman of Dickinson Wright from 2010 - 2017. And was Chief Executive Officer from 2000 - 2009.

Education & Credentials


University of Michigan

B.S.E., 1970
  • summa cum laude

University of Michigan Law School

J.D., 1974
  • magna cum laude
  • Associate Editor, Michigan Law Review
  • Order of the Coif

Bar Admission

  • Michigan


  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Construction Law, Construction Litigation, Commercial Litigation, 2007-2021
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation, Construction, 2017, 2021
  • Michigan Super Lawyers®
    • Construction, 2008-2020
  • DBusiness Magazine
    • "Top Lawyers," Alternative Dispute Resolution, Construction Law

Representative Clients

  • Industrial Steel Construction, Inc.
  • Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
  • Michigan's Largest Health Care Company and Insurance Subsidiaries
  • L. D 'Agostini & Sons, Inc.
  • Turner Construction Company
  • Oakland County Drain Commissioner
  • Sigma Associates, Inc.
  • Walter Toebe Construction Company

Prominent Assignments

Represented Walter Toebe Construction Company and Turner Construction Company for many years in numerous claims and lawsuits arising out of major construction projects in Michigan.

Represented a cargo airline in a very large arbitration, involving a joint venture accounting after termination of a billion dollar postal contract.

Represented the owner of a recycled paper de-inking pulp plant in a multi-million dollar arbitration dispute with the plant's designer/contractor for its failure to design and construct the facility in accordance with contractual performance guarantees.

Represented the Oakland County Drain Commissioner in connection with claims arising from an underground tunnel collapse during construction of a CSO project.

Represented CRS Contractors/Jacobs Engineering on major claims arising from construction at the Battle Creek Health System.

Represented a large underground contractor in a changed conditions claim arising from a large micro-tunneling project.

Represented Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in claims arising from construction of a new headquarters addition and parking garage.

Defended a designer of software systems on claims of providing a defective system to a customer.

Professional Involvement

  • American Arbitration Association's Large, Complex Case Panel of Arbitrators
  • State Bar of Michigan (Corporation, Finance and Business Law Section and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section)
  • Detroit Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (Forum on the Construction Industry, Section of Litigation)
  • American Arbitration Association's Panel of Commercial Arbitrators and Panel of Construction Arbitrators
  • ADR Counsel, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution

Firm Management

  • Chairman 2010-2017
  • Chief Executive Officer 2000-2009
Have a question or want to connect?