While not entirely litigation focused, Seattle’s Summit Law has enjoyed the compact and flexible model of a boutique since its opening in 1997, with a steady stream of diverse work and a creative business structure, in which all litigators are partners. “They are all recovering from large firms, and now have the freedom to not have to deal with someone telling them ‘You can’t charge that rate to take on some interesting work.’ They have a lot of autonomy, without the hierarchical turf wars. They don’t carry anybody’s bags.” The firm is also noted for the relative youth of its team. “The cream of litigation in Seattle has typically been held by a small group of senior litigators, but what you’re looking at with Summit is a total next generation.”
Phil McCune is one of the firm’s most in-demand litigators, an all-purpose practitioner whose practice straddles commercial litigation, intellectual property, antitrust, product liability and labor and employment. In one recent matter, valued at $20 million, McCune represented CPRS shareholders and officers in a change-of-control investigation and litigation against its CEO and controlling shareholder. McCune’s efforts succeeded in ultimately compelling the CEO and shareholders allied with the CEO to depart the company. McCune also represents a state senator, state representative, a mayor, and political consultants, who were individual declarants to provided testimony in support of Facebook’s argument that Washington State’s political advertising regulations are overbroad and unconstitutional. Alex Baehr represents a class of 270 investors in a Washington State securities fraud and breach-of-fiduciary duty lawsuit arising out of a limited partnership investment involving the constructions of a $270 million commercial real estate office property in Seattle. Each plaintiff invested $500,000 per unit and allege that the defendant limited partner and its principals and affiliates omitted to disclose material facts during a merger transaction in which the limited partner’s shares were re-purchased at face value. Jessica Goldman, a commercial litigator who also maintains a niche practice in First Amendment and media/defamation law, represents the Seattle Times in a defamation lawsuit brought by a surgeon who, along with Swedish Hospital, was the subject of a newspaper series regarding patient-endangering conduct that led the surgeon and the hospital’s CEO to resign and the hospital to make substantial patient-focused changes. Goldman also represented the City of Burien, who passed a hazard pay ordinance for grocery store workers during the State’s COVID State of Emergency. Trade organizations representing the large grocers sued challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. Shannon Phillips, a labor and employment-focused practitioner represented a call center in defense of wage-and-hour class action seeking damages for alleged unpaid pre- and post-shift work. Phillips successfully achieved summary dismissal of a claim for double damages and the bulk of plaintiffs’ claims, as well as, a favorable ruling preventing the plaintiffs’ economic expert from offering a planned damages opinion, after which plaintiffs sought voluntary dismissal of the remaining claims. Phillips also represented Community Transit in defense of a threatened wage-and-hour class-action lawsuit seeking payment for alleged unpaid preparatory and post-shift work.
Seattle-based Summit Law Group maintains a distinguished labor and employment lawyers that handle the collective bargaining and labor relations issues for public entities, including several Washington counties, as well as private companies. On the employment side, Shannon Phillips is routinely engaged in litigation along with Quinn Oppenheim. Phillips is representing a call center in a $3 million wage-and-hour class action that has gone up to the Washington Court of Appeals after she obtained a judgment in the client’s favor. Phillips and Oppenheim defended a large public transportation company based in Everett, Community Transit, against the threat of a wage-and-hour class action. The team averted the litigation with a favorably negotiated settlement.