We understand that for our clients, less is always more.

Most clients have endured an over-charge/under-perform experience on a project. We offer a different approach. Our clients are sophisticated and prize speed, predictability, cost-control and success in the business and development process. This is what we deliver. Our belief is that lawyers are not well-suited to be project managers — so we do not try to be. Nor do we subscribe to the theory (embraced in some legal circles) that eight lawyers are better than one. Instead, we find the role within the client’s project team where we can add value, and there we seek to excel. We tailor the scope of our engagement to the project’s needs, and offer our clients thoughtful advice, based on our decades of experience with Washington law and our familiarity with those who apply and enforce it.

Client relationships matter.

By minimizing our charges and maximizing our results, we have established long-term relationships with the clients we serve. We have represented a core group of our clients for years, some for over four decades:  

  • The largest school district in Washington State
  • The nation’s most prominent cancer research institution
  • The largest corporation in the United States
  • The firm that is Washington’s largest privately-held company
  • The largest owner of office space in the United States

Invoices should be simple.

You will not see billing entries from lawyers you’ve never met or for work you never asked for. And our bills do not include charges for faxes, photocopies, telephone calls, word-processing, postage or other hidden “profit center” costs, now so much the rage. We expect you to pay for our services, and for the costs you ask us to incur – nothing more.

Innovation is the key to our success.

Much of today's legal marketplace offers a commodity practice of one sort or another — lawyers making legal widgets for their clients just the way they were taught 30 years ago. But innovation can reveal the undiscovered routes to our clients' goals, and we are always looking to innovate in our effort to create client value.

Case Study | Seattle

Downtown Land Use Code

We led the ten-year effort on behalf of property owners and developers to increase heights and density throughout Seattle's downtown core, which culminated in the City’s adoption of comprehensive Downtown Code amendments in 2006.

Case Study | Seattle

“Grand Bargain” on Affordable Housing

Faced with a looming development tax in 2015, we gathered a coalition of developers, urbanists and affordable housing advocates to propose an alternative approach: an upzone of the City in exchange for new affordable housing fees. The final package was signed into law in March 2019.

Case Study | Seattle

Major Phased Developments

Working with Iris Holdings, LLC (an affiliate of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), we helped obtain the first commercial “Major Phased Development” approval in the City of Seattle, allowing a 1 million s.f. build-out for the Foundation headquarters over a 15-year term. We have since employed this approach for the new Expedia Headquarters campus, the University Village shopping center and the Northgate Mall redevelopment.

Case Study | Bellevue

Upper-level Downtown Retail

Schnitzer West was looking for creative ways to expand its retail offerings within The Bravern, a 1.8 million s.f. mixed-use project in downtown Bellevue. We worked with Schnitzer and the City of Bellevue to craft a series of amendments to Bellevue’s Downtown Code to provide new FAR exemptions for upper-level urban retail, thereby creating the opportunity for Neiman Marcus and 150,000 s.f. of other high-end retailers to populate the pedestrian levels of the project.

Case Study | Seattle

Adaptive Reuse of Landmark Buildings

Sabey Corporation had acquired the historic Providence Hospital tower, built by the Sisters of Providence in 1910. The building was deficient seismically and mechanically, so we worked with Sabey and the City’s Landmarks Preservation Board on an in-fill addition that provided seismic bracing and modern laboratory space, and preserved and restored the historic structure. More recently, we used the same approach to convert 400,000 s.f. of the downtown Macy’s building to office space for Amazon.

Case Study | Seattle

Interurban Exchange/Day One

Schnitzer West sought to develop a full block in the South Lake Union area for new office and R&D tenants, but also preserve a significant portion of the historic Van Vorst Building. We developed and implemented a strategy to vacate the alley in the block and obtain Landmarks Preservation Board approval to incorporate the Van Vorst Building in the overall development, a project which became the “Day One” headquarters building for Amazon.

Case Study |

Sustainable Development

We are proud that many of our projects incorporate new principles and strategies for sustainable design, from LEED requirements for new high-rise buildings under Seattle’s new Downtown Code, to the largest green roof in the Pacific Northwest (on the Seattle Center/Gates Foundation parking garage).

What do you want to achieve?

Many lawyers mistake the cataloging of risk for good advice. It is what they learned in school and from their mentors. They set about the expensive task of identifying all conceivable risks - whether they are likely to arise or not - and devising all imaginable solutions - whether they will ever be needed or not. But for our clients, risk is simply part of the equation that can produce reward. So for us, understanding actual risk is the point at which legal counsel begins. Our counsel is designed to bring value to the client, by mitigating or avoiding risk, reducing costs and redundancies, preparing contingency plans, and ultimately helping the client solve the reward equation.

We start by asking our clients a simple question: what do you want to achieve? Getting there, on time and at a reasonable price, is creating value for the client. It is what we do.