Relevant Experience -- What Can I Do for You?

Below are a few examples of my legal experience. (For a glimpse into what a lawyer can do to pursue other interests, read about the nationally-acclaimed Community Solar program I managed at Seattle City Light in a great article in Grist.)

  • Real estate purchase and development transactions or major leasing projects that allowed REI to help its customers get outdoors at over 20 new REI locations, including Seattle, Denver and Bloomington MN Flagship stores.

  • Lease negotiation; sale of business assets and leases for a Bon Appétit pick as one of “America’s Best New Restaurants 2016.” Finding the perfect spot for your business might take more than one try over a period of years. If you need to move, it goes without saying that you want to minimize your liability for ongoing rental payments or for the obligations of any successor tenant. But you can also use help maximizing the profits from selling equipment and the rights to your space, which may be perfect for someone else.

  • Negotiation of leases for national retail chains and financial institutions. From candy stores in shopping malls in suburban Maryland to long-term ground leases for national banks in Whatcom County, Washington – businesses want the best deals they can get as tenants to keep costs low and operations flexible.   

  • Counseling of business leadership on contracting strategy and risk; training business development and project management personnel on legal matters; managing intellectual property rights; forming partnerships with software providers and other third parties. Providing a service to a client or customer is often a business focus, but protecting assets, including intellectual property and inventions, and providing clear rules around working with those customers, from project development to payment, is something no business should neglect. I have written and negotiated services contracts for everything from multi-million dollar projects to modernize state licensing systems to IT system overhauls for Fortune 100 companies to local pest-control and general contractor businesses looking to make contracting easy for themselves and their customers.  

  • Oversight and compliance related to environmental cleanups at multiple REI stores, including the Seattle Flagship store. Did you know that that lush urban “forest” outside the Seattle store is the site of a previous commercial laundry with numerous underground storage tanks for toxic cleaning chemicals?

  • Providing legal advice on residential property transactions, including many for vacant land. Working with property owners to understand and successfully navigate the development process, including due diligence, subdivision and permitting. Just because today’s market is hot doesn’t mean buyers and sellers shouldn’t take care to avoid surprises down the road. A few dollars spent up front is worth losing much more when the unexpected suddenly arises.

  • Representation of refugees in applications to reunite with family members. There is nothing like the satisfaction of bringing a family together when a difficult immigration process seems to have been working against the desired outcome. During a two-year stay in New Zealand from 2010-2012, I volunteered for the Wellington Community Law Centre and worked in an entirely different legal area than I had ever practiced in previously. This experience brought me back to the rewards of research and writing, as I prepared (and won) appeals in complicated cases.


How Did I Get Here?

My background includes 20+ years of law practice, beginning at Davis Wright Tremaine and followed by 13 years in-house as REI's first lawyer and then as the Senior Director of Legal Affairs for the Americas at Avanade, a Seattle-based global joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft.

I enjoyed taking a break from the law for a few years to pursue my interest in energy and resource conservation by running solar and green power programs for Seattle City Light. Although I was not working as a lawyer, I continued to negotiate contracts and analyze legislation as part of my job, and I put my analytical, problem-solving and advocacy skills to work every day to navigate the difficult task of furthering the development of solar energy in grey, hydro-powered Seattle. During that time I continued providing pro-bono legal representation for non-profits and individuals and later began representing small businesses and individuals on a variety of contract, real estate and business law matters when my temporary position at City Light ended.

 I have realized how much I enjoy working with clients to understand and manage risks in their various business and real estate transactions. More importantly though, while my goal is to provide high-quality service in an efficient manner, my passion is to gain client trust through great work and a great relationship. Your time is valuable, so spending it with me should be valuable on a personal level too.


Suzanne DuRard Law PLLC