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Garvey Schubert Barer

At a Glance

Uppers

“The people”

“Collegiality and quality of work”

Downers

“Like any law firm, the hours”

“Compensation”

About Garvey Schubert Barer

Seattle-based Garvey Schubert Barer has grown to house a legal team of 100 attorneys in Seattle, Portland, New York, DC, and Beijing. With practice areas ranging from environmental law to intellectual property litigation, the firm has represented regional clients in the Pacific Northwest and international clients doing business across the Pacific.

Pacific Northwest to Pacific Rim

Garvey Schubert Barer's entrepreneurial tradition stretches back to 1966, when the firm was founded by three law school classmates just two years out of school. Garvey Schubert Barer's practice areas include business and corporate law, environmental and natural resources, intellectual property, employment and labor, real estate, litigation, government affairs, and trusts and estates. Most recently, the firm launched a hospitality, travel, and tourism practice based out of Seattle.

Garvey attorneys provide business and litigation advice to clients in the high tech, trade and transportation, maritime/admiralty, real estate, communications, and media sectors. The firm's client roster has included diverse private, public, and international interests including the Nautilus Group, China International Marine Containers Group, China Ocean Shipping, the Quileute Indian Tribe, and the Seattle Housing Authority.

Game, Set, Match

Perhaps the firm's most recognizable clients—at least among tennis fans—are Venus and Serena Williams. Former Garvey partner Keven Davis, who represented Serena Williams from the time she was just eight years old, helped secure her position on the U.S. Olympic team after a top-ranking doubles player challenged the U.S. Tennis Association's selection process prior to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Later in their career, Davis helped Venus Williams negotiate a lucrative contract with Reebok.

Garvey Schubert Barer also had a hand in a less inspiring sports story. Tonya Harding hired attorneys from the firm for her defense on charges related to the 1994 attack on Harding's figure skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan. 

Pro Bono Without Borders

Garvey attorneys are encouraged to devote 10 percent of their time to pro bono efforts, which have included helping refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, representing Guantanamo Bay prisoners, working with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Justice and Human Rights, and offering counsel for the Holocaust Ghetto Workers Reparations Project.

IN THE NEWS

February 2018

Garvey Schubert Barer (GSB) congratulated GSB attorney Ada Danelo on her confirmation as a new Washington State China Relations Council board of director.  Danelo said “I look forward to working with the Council and promoting Washington as a partner for Chinese trade, investment and cultural exchange.”
China has been a major focus of Garvey Schubert Barer’s international practice since its early days. In 1979, Stan Barer, one of the firm’s founders, assisted in the negotiations to resume shipping relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China following a 30-year hiatus.

March 2018

Garvey Schubert Barer announced that Akane Suzuki has been elected to the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, a global organization of attorneys, judges, professors, and other leading law professionals dedicated to analyzing the requirements and tax consequences of wealth transfers between individuals, corporations, trusts, foundations, estates, and family businesses around the globe. Membership in the Academy is highly selective, with only one-quarter of 1 percent of lawyers, judges, and professors in each member nation qualifying. Suzuki is one of only 100 members from the United States and 1 of only 4 in the state of Washington.

November 2018

In collaboration with the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP), GSB attorney Lowell Turnbull has represented a number of pro bono asylum seekers.  One of Lowell’s clients is a 24-year-old woman from Burundi named Jane (not her real name) who managed to flee from persecution in her country in search for a better life.

Jane fled Burundi at the age of 19 after her father had been trying to force her to become the third wife of his boss. She rejected the arranged marriage and took control of her own destiny. When she arrived in the United States in 2014, she immediately sought legal help through ILAP. Lowell accepted her representation and filed her application for asylum. After nearly five years of wait and worry, Lowell received a letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stating that Jane’s asylum had been approved. Lowell commends Jane for her courage of opening up wounds of the past and meticulously describing her persecution in writing, and in compelling terms, which he feels was instrumental in this achievement. Since arriving in the United States, Jane has obtained her high school diploma, given birth to two daughters, and married a U.S. citizen. Lowell’s efforts, with GSB’s support and dedication, have kept this family together and may well have saved this young woman’s life.

News & Awards

RECENT NEWS

ASSOCIATE REVIEWS:

ASSOCIATE LIFE

Firm Culture

  • “The firm culture is pretty strong. Smart people that work hard but don't take themselves too seriously.”
  • “Regular socializing and activities inside and outside of the office.”
  • “We have formal and informal gatherings regularly: birthday pie, practice group lunches, baby showers, holiday celebrations, spontaneous happy hours and those organized for the ‘next generation’—the mid- to new-career lawyers.”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “Reviews are regularly conducted, thoughtful, and provide a genuine opportunity for associate input.”
  • “Most partners are great with associates. Finances and performance reviews are transparent.”
  • “Associates and partners communicate and work together with respect. I have not had a negative experience and feel that partners are accessible to share information. The firm is generally transparent on overall firm performance and finances, promotions and performance reviews. Occasionally, responses can be vague when more detailed information is requested.”

Hours

  • “Overall, I have a good amount of work—I know that an even distribution is hard to achieve. I do feel that I have flexibility in where/how I work, which compensates for a certain unpredictability of hours.”
  • “Having enough work is, thankfully not an issue. I appreciate the flexibility of often being able to work when/where I can be most productive.”
  • “I have enough work. But I dislike billable hour requirements, and work is starting to consume my attention at least a part of every day. It's tiring.”
  • “1800 hours [are required], and you can count firm-approved pro bono hours for up to 10 percent of your billable-hour requirement.”

Compensation

  • “The firm seems slightly under-paced to the market at this time.”
  • “I think we are at the lower end of larger private firms in [this city] in terms of salaries.”
  • “Our base salary is low compared with competitor firms. However, it is likely to improve in the near term.  Additionally, we have a generous bonus structure.”

Quality of Work

  • “My assignments are robust and varied. I conduct legal research, directly consult clients, draft memos and policies, and assist with litigation. Some projects have created the opportunity for me to stretch my skills, and I welcome the chance to perhaps do more of that outside of my own practice area.”
  • “I have handled everything from quick research that leads to a response to the client to being the lead on writing a motion for federal court. I spend almost all my time on substantive legal work that is appropriate for my level, and have most enjoyed a couple projects where the supervising attorney has allowed me to take the lead with the client and exercise some independent judgment.”
  • “The work I do is almost entirely substantive and advanced for my level.”
  • “I have yet to encounter work that does not challenge me and from which I do not learn. I do mainly corporate work (incorporations, consents) and related financials (purchase agreements, security agreements, promissory notes).”

Training & Mentoring

  • “They have a formal mentorship program, assigning an experienced attorney to each associate. I've been really happy and lucky with my assignments, and trust my mentors to celebrate my successes and to talk me through my travails. I also have found that many of the mid-career attorneys have been more than happy to share their experience and advice with me in informal mentoring.”
  • “The firm really commits itself to mentoring, sponsorship and informal training.  I believe it is a strength of the firm.  More formal training in substantive areas and consistent feedback on projects could be better developed.”
  • “I had a great relationship with my first mentor, and many partners are willing to give younger attorneys meaningful opportunities for court appearances and/or client management.”
  • “I have three formal mentors (two partners and one associate) and other informal mentors, all of whom either help me improve as an attorney or help me find my way in the firm.”

Career Outlook

  • “Promotion to partnership is quite realistic, and many associates are well-positioned to work outside of the firm as in-house counsel and in other roles.”
  • “Promotion to partnership seems entirely realistic, if an associate is able to make their hours and start originating clients. The firm has a strong reputation locally, and if I chose to move to a smaller firm focused on a particular practice area, that would be a viable exit strategy.”
  • “Partnership is very realistic and the firm is willing to work with associates to identify non-partner roles.”

Pro Bono Commitment

  • “I have worked on several pro bono projects, as an extension of my general corporate work. I think it's great that I get to do what I'm good at (corporate work) and earn pro bono hours for it.”
  • “Offering credit for up to 10 percent of the billable hour goal seems like a huge commitment, and the firm recognizes and celebrates attorneys for their public service.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “Like many firms, our firm has the intention and desire to grow in this area, but more work can and must be done. The issues are complex and may require a willingness to try out different approaches and try on different projects, if for no other reason than to gather data about what seems to be impactful and what doesn't. Pipeline of diverse candidates will be a continuing issue for all law firms, but that should be separate from culture, engagement and interaction, which is something we have the ability to more directly influence right now.”
  • “Strong representation for women in both associate and owner level, at least in the regional office. Would be nice to have more diversity beyond that, at the attorney level (though it may also be a function of Portland not being very diverse itself).”
  • “I am a [diverse] parent, and feel completely welcomed. Whenever I need flexibility for childcare, I have encountered no issues.”
Garvey Schubert Barer

Second & Seneca Building
1191 Second Avenue, 18th Floor
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 464-3939

Stats

Chair: Greg Duff
Hiring Partner: Emily Harris Gant

Base Salary

1st year: $125,000 - $144,000 (varies by office)
2nd year: $128,000 - $147,000 (varies by office)
3rd year: $131,000 - $150,000 (varies by office)
4th year and above: Merit-based
Summer associate: $2,596/week

Summer Program

Summer Associate Offers:
2 out of 2 (2Ls) (2018)

Major Office Locations

Seattle, WA
New York, NY
Portland, OR
Washington, DC | Beijing, China

Major Departments & Practices

Accounting Firms
Business, Corporate Finance, and Tax
Cannabis
China Practice
Clean Technology
Communications, Media and Information Technology
Construction
Customs and International Trade
Education
Emerging Companies
Employee Benefits
Environmental and Natural Resources
Family-Owned and Closely Held Businesses
Financial Services
Food & Beverage
Government
Government Contracts
Health Care
Hospitality, Travel and Tourism
Indian Tribes
Intellectual Property
International
Labor, Employment and Immigration
Land Use and Real Estate
Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Manufacturing and Distribution
Maritime and Distribution
Regulatory and Government Affairs
Sports, Arts & Entertainment
Transportation and Logistics
Trusts, Estates and Charitable Organizations