Ellie Perka

Direct Dial: 206-529-3005
Ph: 206-287-9900
Fx: 206-287-9902

Elizabeth Perka Attorney

Practice Areas

  • Construction Law and Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Minority, Woman, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (M/W/DBE) Certification
  • Employment Litigation

Practice Description

Ellie’s practice focuses on construction law and litigation. Ellie has experience handling multi-million dollar complex construction disputes including terminations; differing site conditions, delay, and change order claims; GC/CM alternative procurement disputes; construction defect litigation; and lien claims. She has argued cases in Washington and Oregon state courts, federal court, the Board of Contract Appeals, and in private arbitration. In addition, she has successfully negotiated multiple seven-figure settlements.

Before focusing on construction law at Ahlers & Cressman, Ellie clerked for the Honorable Joel M. Penoyar at the Washington State Court of Appeals and litigated for seven years at one of Seattle’s premier boutique trial firms.

Ellie has been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers® magazine, an award limited to the top 2.5% of attorneys under the age of 40.

Ellie is a Barrister Member of the William L. Dwyer Inn of Court and active in the legal community. She was on the Board of Directors for the Washington Women Lawyers; has presented at the WSBA Construction Law Annual Seminar and to numerous industry groups (the National Association of Women in Construction, National Electrical Contractors Association, etc.); and she is a co-author of the Washington Lawyers Practice Manual, Construction Law Chapter.

In addition to her construction law practice, Ellie is deeply committed to social justice and advocating for the rights of women and children. As a pro bono attorney for the Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice, she obtained permanent residency for an undocumented Guatemalan child on the basis of neglect and abandonment. Prior to law school, she worked at PATH, an international health organization aimed at improving global health, especially among women and children.

Representative Work

The following is a small but representative list of Ellie’s significant cases.

Emergency Injunctive Relief

    • Represented joint venture in lawsuit after it was terminated for convenience during preconstruction phase of $1.4 billion GC/CM alternative public works project; key member of team that won injunctive relief barring public owner’s re-procurement of GC/CM selection.
    • Represented executives of multinational construction company in high-profile anti-harassment actions that required complex constitutional analysis; won injunctive relief after extensive motions practice and presentation of live testimony.

Lien / Differing Site Condition Claims

    • Represented general contractor in federal lien foreclosure lawsuit for owner delays concerning a hydroelectric retrofit of a US Army Corps of Engineers flood control dam; won default motion that resulted in award of $1.9 million.
    • Represented general contractor in arbitration against public owner for damages caused by Type II differing site conditions, deficient plans and specs, and consumer protection act violations; client recovered $3.5 million settlement after two mediations.

Government Contracts

    • Represented design-build general contractor in appeal to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals for $2 million delay claim and Eichleay damages; settled case after two-day ADR proceeding with assigned Board Judge.

Construction Defect

    • Represented world-famous celebrity owners of luxury home in arbitration against general contractor for $2 million in construction defects.
    • Represented owner of multi-unit apartment complex in lawsuit asserting $1.3 million claim for defective roofing work.

DBE Matters

  • Represented M/WBE and DBEs in declaratory judgment lawsuit against the State of Washington for violations of the APA’s rule-making requirements.
  • Submitted public testimony and lengthy analysis of WSDOT’s proposal to exclude women-owned DBEs from participation goals on federally-funded transportation projects; analysis included complex constitutional issues and understanding of statistical methodologies.

Professional Associations and Publications

  • King County Washington Women Lawyers, Board Member
  • William L. Dwyer Inn of Court, Barrister Member
  • Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., Government and Legislative Affairs Council
  • National Association of Women in Construction, Member
  • King County and Washington State Bar Associations: Construction and Litigation Sections
  • Speaker, AICPA Expert Witness Skills Workshop
  • Co-Author of the Washington Lawyers Practice Manual, Construction Law Chapter, 2014


  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Joel M. Penoyar, Washington State Court of Appeals, 2005 – 2007
  • Danielson Harrigan Leyh & Tollefson, 2007 – 2013
  • Ahlers & Cressman, 2013 to present


  • J.D., cum laude, Seattle University School of Law, 2005
  • B.A., honors college, University of Washington, 1999