The Top 25 Attorneys of Washington for 2023

Attorney Intel is pleased to announce The Top 25 Attorneys of Washington for 2023. The legal sector is a significant component of the state’s economic and commercial real estate landscape. Law firms in Washington state contribute billions of dollars annually to the economy. Other sectors that drive the state economy include aerospace, real estate, life sciences, and information and communication technology. This is unsurprising, considering that Washington is home to the country’s largest concentration of STEM workers. This year’s awardees are lawyers at the forefront of such industries and helm private practices overseeing major clients operating in these fields.

Among this year’s awardees is Dr. Bill Christiansen, Partner at Cooley LLP, whose extensive experience in a variety of technologies has led to being recognized as a leading patent lawyer. Awardee Melanie Mayer, Partner at Fenwick & West LLP, utilizes her experience in life sciences and Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics to litigate high-stakes intellectual property disputes. Also awarded is Greg Watts, Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, who in just the last five years, won cases for Costco Wholesale, Globus Medical, Starbucks, and Sterling Financial

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 Attorneys of Washington for 2023.


Austin Rainwater
Partner, DLA Piper

Austin Rainwater is a Partner at DLA Piper. He focuses his practice on the areas of complex commercial litigation, class actions, and product liability. Rainwater has defended clients in a wide range of cases, including class action lawsuits, intellectual property disputes, and major aviation accidents. He has a national litigation background that includes claims related to securities, employment, intellectual property, aviation, transportation, construction equipment, and food and alcohol products. Rainwater also has experience advising clients on issues including regulatory compliance, employment-related disputes, product branding, and distribution agreements, and insurance coverage disputes.

Previously, Rainwater was an Associate at Perkins Coie LLP. Earlier in his career, he was a Summer Associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati and an Intern at the Office of US Senator Maria Cantwell. Rainwater graduated from Cornell Law School with a JD and Whitman College with a bachelor's degree in politics.


Brian Peterson
Partner, K&L Gates

Brian Peterson is a Partner in K&L Gates’ Seattle office. He focuses his practice on bankruptcy and insolvency matters. He has experience representing borrowers, committees, chapter 7 and 11 trustees, creditors, and asset purchasers. Peterson has significant experience representing bankruptcy trustees in Ponzi scheme cases, including fraudulent transfer litigation. He also has experience litigating various commercial disputes in both state and federal courts, and advises clients with respect to the structuring of transactions involving distressed situations.

He was previously a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Paul B. Snyder at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington. Peterson graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with a JD and the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish.


Molly Terwilliger
Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Molly Terwilliger is a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Terwilliger is a trial lawyer who represents local and national corporations in arbitrations, mediations, and state and federal bench and jury trials. She advises clients on a wide range of intellectual property, labor and employment, and complex commercial matters.

She was previously an Attorney at Stokes Lawrence P.S., Yarmuth LLP, and Yarmuth Wilsdon PLLC. She's also held positions at Summit Law Group and Heller Ehrman. Having clerked for the Honorable Marsha J. Pechman of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, Terwilliger has a special affinity for the federal courts, but has represented clients before other state and federal trial and appellate courts, mediators and arbitrators. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School with a JD and Northwestern University with a BA in Spanish and history.


Kristin Silverman
Partner, Mayer Brown

Kristin Silverman is a Partner in Mayer Brown's Palo Alto office and a member of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice. She is an experienced litigator focusing on complex, high-stakes litigation, including consumer protection, antitrust, employment, and other commercial matters. Those matters include multiple class actions in state and federal court. Silverman has also represented various clients in connection with sensitive investigations and litigation pursued by state attorneys general. Additionally, Silverman has conducted internal investigations involving a range of allegations, including alleged kickbacks, False Claims Act violations, discrimination, and retaliation. She has also successfully handled appeals in federal and state appellate courts across the country. Silverman’s pro bono work has focused on public policy litigation involving various constitutional challenges, including relating to religious freedom and privacy.

Silverman was previously a Partner at Calfo Eakes LLP. Earlier in her career she spent eight years as a Litigation Associate at Mayer Brown before rejoining the firm as Partner in 2021. She graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology with a JD and Northwestern University with a BS in journalism.


Bill Christiansen
Partner, Cooley LLP

Dr. Bill Christiansen is a Partner at Cooley LLP. He advises pharmaceutical, biotechnology, clean energy, medical device companies, universities, non-profit research institutions, and investors with respect to complex intellectual property matters and market exclusivity strategies. He has extensive experience in a variety of technologies, including biology-based clean energy, immunology, gene therapy, stem cell therapeutics, RNAi, miRNA, vaccines, and more.

Dr. Christiansen has published many legal and scientific articles and has extensive teaching and research experience. He is recognized as a leading patent lawyer by several prominent legal directories, including Best Lawyers, Chambers, IAM Patent 1000, LMG Life Sciences, and Super Lawyers. Prior to joining Cooley, he was a partner in the biotechnology and chemistry practice group at Seed Intellectual Property Law Group PLLC. Dr. Christiansen obtained a JD from the University of Washington School of Law, a Ph.D. in biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology from the University of Notre Dame, and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and biophysics from Oregon State University.


Eric Wolff
Partner, Perkins Coie LLP

Eric Wolff is a Partner of Perkins Coie LLP. Wolff is an established authority on questions of federal jurisdiction, removal, and forum non conveniens. He has written hundreds of briefs across a wide array of issues in both trial and appellate courts. He has argued over 35 appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as numerous cases in other federal and state courts of appeals. Wolff is also a longtime teacher of legal writing and oral advocacy going back to his work at the National Advocacy Center.

Before joining Perkins Coie LLP, Wolff was a VP and Chief Counsel at Boeing and before that the Assistant US attorney at the US Department of Justice. Earlier in his career he worked with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as a Law Clerk of Judge William A. Fletcher. Wolff graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a JD and from Concordia College with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and writing.


Paul Weber
General Counsel, BLUE ORIGIN

Paul Weber is currently General Counsel for Blue Origin. He is part of a team that will enable people to live and work in space one day by developing innovative reusable launch vehicles, modern, powerful rocket engines, and related technologies.

Weber was formerly the Chief Counsel for Rolls-Royce Defense Aerospace and a member of the Defense Leadership Team. Here, he was responsible for all legal aspects of the military business. After eight years on a Congressional Staff, overseeing Congressman Frank McCloskey's Washington, D.C. office and handling a wide variety of legislative and policy issues, Weber served in a variety of commercial and legal roles within Rolls-Royce, including five years based in the UK. Weber had been the lead negotiator in M&A activities, including establishing joint ventures, FAA regulation, and intellectual property. He was the lead attorney for the Defense Sector, focusing on US and international government contracting and related issues with military products. Weber graduated from Georgetown University with a JD and a Bachelor of Science in foreign service.


Jessica Kamish
Partner, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP

Jessica Kamish is a Partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. Her practice focuses on personal injury (primarily automobile accidents), construction defects, and product liability. She has also worked on appellate, dog bite, and timber trespass matters.

Previously, Kamish was a Senior Associate at Smith Freed Eberhard. Before that, she was an Attorney at Smith & Hennessey PLLC, McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren, and Tousley Brain Stephens. Earlier in her career she worked with Banana Republic as a Sales Associate. Kamish earned a JD from The George Washington University Law School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and international affairs from The George Washington University.


Blake Ilstrup
Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Blake Ilstrup is a Partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. He is the founding member and leader of the Technology Companies Group practice in the Pacific Northwest. His practice focuses on advising high-growth technology and life sciences companies and their investors. Ilstrup’s experience spans multiple industries, including life sciences, software, hardware, mobile, fintech, cybersecurity, manufacturing, and retail. He has counseled fast-growing companies on hundreds of venture capital financings and M&A transactions, numerous public offerings, as well as service as a trusted advisor to management teams and Boards on both strategic and day-to-day matters.

Prior to his legal career, Ilstrup served with distinction in the US Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, including two combat deployments to the Persian Gulf. He graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law with a JD and Stanford University with an AB in international relations.


Nick Snow
General Counsel, Polygon Technology

Nick Snow is the General Counsel of Polygon Technology, the first well-structured, easy-to-use Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development platform. Snow first got his start in 2003 as a Royalties Analyst at Universal Music Group. From there, he went on to Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, before eventually rising to Senior Corporate Counsel at Amazon. Snow spent over five years at Amazon in a multitude of roles, spanning M&A, strategic investments, and devices. Snow graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law with a JD and from Pomona College with an undergraduate degree in philosophy, politics, economics, and music.


Ian Taylor
Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Ian Taylor is a Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He represents both public and private clients acting as landlords and tenants in all aspects of leasing, including negotiating and drafting lease agreements for office, retail, distribution facilities, cell towers, and marinas. This includes niche experience with airport facilities and aircraft hangar leases. Taylor uses his public practice experience to help clients navigate through often complex legislative processes.

Before joining private practice, he was a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Civil Division of the King County Prosecutor’s Office and represented King County executive-level agencies, including the office of the King County Executive, Department of Transportation, Metro Transit, Facilities Management, and the King County International Airport. Taylor was also a Criminal Prosecutor with the King County Prosecutor’s Office where he tried more than 100 cases, including approximately 40 felony jury trials. He also served in the US Marine Corps, receiving numerous merit-based awards and commendations. Taylor graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a JD and a bachelor's degree.


Greg Watts
Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Greg Watts is a Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He focuses on securities and complex commercial litigation. Watts has over 20 years of experience, specializing in counseling and defending companies and their directors and officers in securities class actions, shareholder derivative actions, SEC investigations and enforcement proceedings, internal investigations, and more. In just the past five years, he has won cases for Blucora, Costco Wholesale, Globus Medical, Isoray, Mentor Graphics, Starbucks, and Sterling Financial. Due to his expertise, Watts has represented clients around the country in federal and state court, including in Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Watts co-authored the third edition of Director and Officer Liability with Barry Kaplan. He graduated from the Duke University School of Law with a JD.


Stacy Tucker
Partner, Kantor & Kantor, LLP

Stacy Monahan Tucker is a Partner at Kantor & Kantor, LLP. Her practice focuses on the complex world of insurance. Tucker’s experience spans decades overseeing and litigating disability insurance, life insurance, and property insurance coverage issues. Tucker has a particular interest and expertise in helping insureds who find themselves victims of underinsurance after losing their homes in a disaster. Since she began representing policyholders, she has obtained tens of millions of dollars in settlement awards for her clients. She practices throughout the country and is admitted to California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Nevada state bars. She is on the Board of Directors of the Center for Chronic Illness.

Previously, Tucker was a Managing Partner at Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley, an Attorney at Quinn Emanuel, and an Attorney at Jones Day. Before this, she was at HCm and Medimetrix Consulting. Tucker earned a JD from the University of Chicago Law School, and a bachelor's degree in history and sociology from the University of Chicago.


Melissa Weiland
General Counsel,

Melissa Weiland is the General Counsel at The company connects dog and cat parents with loving pet sitters and walkers in their neighborhoods. She has over 20 years of experience in corporate and transactional legal services.

Before joining Rover, Ms. Weiland was the Proprietor of Legal Adjunct PLLC, where she handled technology and design licensing, media law (including music licensing), and other general corporate contracts and matters. Prior to that, she served as the General Counsel at Accessory Design Holding, Inc. Weiland earned a JD from Stanford University Law School and a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Michael Swope
Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP

Mike Swope is a Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP. He represents and has represented clients for more than 25 years in the acquisition, enforcement, and licensing of their intellectual property rights. Swope represents US and international clients in technologies such as internet-based communications, machine learning, data analytics, cloud computing, semiconductor manufacturing, and various aspects of computer software such as database technology, computer graphics, and security. He has also been involved in several high-tech litigation matters.

Swope was previously a Partner at Woodcock Washburn LLP for 18 years. He’s also worked for many well-known companies in the high-technology industry. While working for General Electric's Astro-Space Division, he was part of a team that developed the Mars Observer spacecraft, and he developed data warehousing technology when he worked at Apple Computer. Swope earned a master's degree in computer science and concentrated on digital systems design.


Patrick McVey
Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP

Patrick McVey is a Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP. McVey’s primary focus in his practice is commercial litigation, including product liability, industrial fires and explosions, and antitrust matters. He has represented clients in courts throughout the US. He serves as National Counsel for a number of national and international manufacturers of products, including cranes, valves, electrical components, and industrial process controls. McVey has successfully defended a number of Japanese trading, manufacturing, and fishing companies in cases involving the application of US antitrust laws to foreign entities. He has also successfully defended foreign and domestic clients in criminal and administrative procedures initiated by the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other federal agencies.

McVey graduated from Harvard Law School with a JD and the University of Washington with a bachelor's degree.


Angie Ong
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Partior

Angie Ong is Partior’s General Counsel, providing legal and regulatory expertise to guide Partior’s global expansion strategically. As an accomplished fintech attorney, Ong brings with her legal acumen at the intersection of finance and technology, as well as international experience.

Previously, Ong was the Head of Product Legal within Meta's Financial Technologies group. Before this, she was the Payments Counsel at Stripe, Director and Corporate Regulatory Attorney of Treasury, Payments, and Fintech at Silicon Valley Bank, and Vice President of Legal and Compliance at JPMorgan Chase. Ong graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a Master of Laws, the University of California Hastings College of Law with a JD, and Macquarie University with a bachelor's degree in accounting and business law.


Mark Tuvim
Partner, Gordon & Rees LLP

Mark Tuvim is the Managing Partner of the Seattle office of Gordon & Rees and a Partner in the Environmental and Toxic Tort, Tort & Product Liability, Employment, and Professional Liability Defense practice groups. He handles a wide variety of toxic tort and product liability cases, including those involving asbestos litigation, personal injuries, and wrongful death. He has successfully tried jury and bench trials in California and Washington and has represented clients before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, arbitrators, and mediators.

Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Tuvim was a Partner in a Seattle-based law firm where he represented clients in employment, product liability, and business-related tort and contract matters. He has written and spoken extensively on legal issues. Tuvim earned his JD from the University of California, Los Angeles and his BA in political science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Ron Cai
Partner, Zhong Lun Law Firm

Ron Cai is a Partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm. Cai is familiar with Chinese laws and practices in a wide range of industries, including AI, cloud computing, internet of things, e-commerce, digital media and entertainment, on-line games, e-health care, aviation, automobile, high-speed railway, and renewable energy. He has more than 32 years of legal experience in international business transactions and dispute resolution.

Before joining Zhong Lun Law Firm, he worked at several major international law firms in the US, Hong Kong and Shanghai for over 28 years. He is a seasoned expert in Chinese TMT regulations, and market entry and daily operation compliance for the TMT industry. Previously, Cai was Partner in Charge at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Senior Associate at Graham & James LLP, and an Associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. Cai graduated from the Lewis & Clark Law School with a JD, Columbia University with an LLM, and Xiamen University with a bachelor's degree in law.


Martha Phelps
Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Martha Phelps is a Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Phelps approaches technology transactions with a focus on practical problem-solving and customer experience. She counsels technology, retail, media, and other innovative businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies on technology transactions, product development and launches, consumer law, and intellectual property matters. Phelps is experienced in advising disruptive businesses, including those within traditional organizations.

Previously, she was the Senior Director of Legal at Best Buy and spent over seven years at Amazon, most recently as Senior Corporate Counsel of Media, Kindle, and Global Operations. Before this, she held various legal roles at Lightbridge and Bingham McCutchen. Earlier in her career, she was an Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Phelps graduated from Boston College Law School with a JD and a bachelor's degree in English literature from Smith College.


Christopher Varas
Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Chris Varas is a Partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. He specializes in domestic and international disputes involving trademarks, copyrights and rights of publicity. He litigates cutting edge intellectual property and technology issues for some of the world’s most recognized companies. He has significant experience obtaining and defending against motions for restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. Varas also develops and manages large-scale global programs to enforce and defend his clients' intellectual property portfolios. Varas was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® in 2023 for Trademark Law.

Varas began his career as an Associate with Preston Gates & Ellis in its Seattle, Washington office. Here, his practice focused on issues relating to cybersquatting, phishing and unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material. He then joined Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP, a boutique litigation firm in Beverly Hills, California specializing in intellectual property and technology. He joined Kilpatrick Townsend when Keats McFarland & Wilson merged with Kilpatrick Townsend. Varas graduated from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law with a JD, the University of Edinburgh with an LLM and Lawrence University with a BA.


Joe Gaffney
Partner, Dorsey & Whitney

Joe Gaffney is a Partner of Dorsey & Whitney. Gaffney’s practice emphasizes private client services, including tax, estate planning, trust, probate, business succession, and wealth management. A member of Dorsey's Tax and Estate Planning group, he is General Counsel to numerous families, closely held business owners, and trust and nonprofit organizations. Gaffney has significant experience with IRS disputes, integrated financial and tax planning, shareholder agreements, executive compensation, administration of complex trusts and estates, and charitable matters. He is also an officer and director of the Dorsey & Whitney Trust Company.

Gaffney graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (now UC Law San Francisco) with a JD, New York University with an LLM in taxation, and Seattle University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.


Melanie Mayer
Partner, Fenwick & West LLP

Melanie Mayer is a Partner at Fenwick & West LLP. She has a strong technical background and commitment to clients’ business objectives to help inform her strategy in high-stakes intellectual property disputes. Mayer co-chairs Fenwick’s life sciences practice group. Her practice encompasses intellectual property litigation and dispute resolution, including patent infringement and licensing disputes. Recognized by IAM Patent 1000 as a top patent litigator, Mayer has led cases involving a range of technologies, from biotechnology to e-commerce and high-performance computing systems for some of the world’s most innovative companies. She is particularly well-versed in life sciences matters, including those related to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, enzyme variants, polymers, and drug screening and delivery platforms.

Prior to joining Fenwick, Mayer was an Associate in the Seattle office of one of the oldest IP boutique firms in the US, Darby & Darby P.C. Prior to that, she worked as a legal intern for Rosetta Inpharmatics, a subsidiary of Merck.Mayer graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with a JD and from The John Hopkins University School of Medicine with a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics.


Vanessa Wheeler
General Counsel, Windermere Real Estate

Vanessa Wheeler serves as General Counsel for Windermere Services. In this role, Wheeler oversees annual franchise disclosures and filings to vendor contracts, mergers and acquisitions, employment law, trademark registration and protection, dispute resolution, and the formation of new entities.

Prior to joining Windermere, Wheeler spent eight years as an attorney at Miller Nash, LLP. Wheeler currently serves on the Seattle Police Department Federal Monitoring Team, where she assists with monitoring progress by SPD in police reform and constitutional policing. She is also an editor for the ABA Franchise Law Journal, which publishes quarterly articles related to key topics in US and international franchising law. Wheeler received a JD from Columbia Law School and a bachelor's degree in political science and government from the University of Washington.


Harold Malkin
Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Harold Malkin is a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. He advises companies facing government investigations and enforcement proceedings. He also focuses on guiding individuals and companies through civil and criminal government investigations and prosecutions, as well as state attorney general enforcement proceedings. Malkin counsels clients on civil and commercial litigation and compliance issues, and conducts sensitive internal investigations for a wide variety of companies, from small businesses to large publicly traded corporations.

Previously, Malkin spent more than 20 years at the US Department of Justice, where he served as Deputy Chief of the Civil Division at the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle. He led the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit. In his government service, Malkin handled major investigations, civil litigation, and settlements of significant False Claims Act cases involving government contractors and government program participants. Chambers USA has recognized Malkin as a “leading practitioner” and “an extremely capable litigator whose written and oral advocacy skills are superb.” He previously held various roles at Calfo Eakes LLP, Lane Powell PC and Yarmuth Wilsdon PLLCYarmuth. Malkin graduated from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law with a JD and Hamilton College with a bachelor's degree in government.