Paul J.

P. 206.245.1708

Paul Lawrence has represented clients in more than 75 appeals; his appellate practice includes the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal and state appellate courts.

Paul Lawrence is the senior litigation partner at Pacifica Law Group. Paul concentrates his practice on complex appellate and civil litigation, including commercial, municipal, constitutional, environmental, and insurance coverage cases in federal and state courts.

Paul’s appellate experience includes over 75 appeals principally in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Courts of Washington and Montana, and the various Courts of Appeal in Washington. He has also practiced in the United States Supreme Court, the Second, Third, Seventh, Eleventh, D.C., and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the California and New York appellate courts.

Paul has been lead trial counsel in numerous successful, complex, multi–party cases, including jury trials, in federal and state courts in Washington, Montana, and California. Additionally, he regularly provides counseling on issues arising under the United States and Washington constitutions, various federal and state statutes, and ethics codes. Most recently he obtained a defense verdict in a breach of contract jury trial. The verdict was upheld on appeal and his client was awarded its complete attorney’s fees and costs.

Paul is recognized by numerous top lawyer lists. He is a ranked commercial litigator by Chambers and Partners USA, which went on to say, “The ‘exceptional’ Paul Lawrence helms the litigation department at Pacifica Law Group. He is well known for his work in the political sphere, handling constitutional and municipal matters and earning accolades as a ‘great lawyer doing high-profile initiative work.’ Lawrence is also strong in appellate, insurance and commercial litigation.” Chambers also has stated: “Paul Lawrence has a broad litigation practice and is well regarded for his handling of complex commercial, municipal and environmental disputes. He is noted for his expert representation of clients in appellate proceedings.”

Paul has been included in The Best Lawyers in America, in the field of Appellate Practice (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC), 2007-2023, since the inception of that category. In 2021 he was selected as Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Practice in Seattle.

His clients include a broad range of public entities and private clients including Fortune 500 Companies, significant local businesses, a foreign nation, and Washington counties, cities, special purpose districts, and port districts. He previously Chaired the Litigation Department at Preston Gates Ellis (now K&L Gates) and the Appellate Practice Group at K&L Gates.

Bar Admissions:
  • Washington
  • Montana
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Montana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • University of Chicago, B.A., Politics, Economics, Rhetoric and Law, Dean’s List
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., with honors (University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Articles Editor)
  • Selected for inclusion in Chambers, USA, 2018–2023, Currently Washington State – Band 3 Litigation: General Commercial
  • Selected for Washington Super Lawyers, 2001–2023, and for Washington Super Lawyers Top 100, 2012–2016
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, in the fields of Appellate Practice, 2007-2024, and Litigation–Municipal, 2024, and as Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Practice in Seattle for 2021
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent ™ in Martindale-Hubbell
  • Northwest Progressive Institute’s Lynn Allen Award for “indispensable contributions to progressive causes,” 2017
  • Selected as a leading lawyer in the Puget Sound region, as determined by his peers (Seattle Business Magazine)
  • Listed in Seattle Met “Best Lawyers”
  • Preston Gates & Ellis Jim Ellis Award for service as an ACLU Cooperating Attorney
  • Greater Seattle Business Association’s Special Recognition Award Collaboration for Social Change
  • Civil Unrest Inside and Out: Managing Controversial Employee Speech and Volatile Protesting, WSAMA, 2020
  • Constitutional Limits on the Use of Public Funds – A New Look at the Case Law in Light of Current and Emerging Public Priorities, 2019
  • Rule of Law in Action – Does v. Trump, 2017
  • Legal Lunchbox™ Series: Injustices Under the Law, 2017
  • Washington State Judicial Conference: Power and Reach of the Internet, 2013
  • The Complete Appeal Conference: Strategies from Start to Finish, 2010
  • State v. Federal Appeals: Winning in Either Venue, 2011
  • S. Supreme Court Watch, 2011
  • Legal Editing: Improve your work and that of those who work for you, 2013
  • Election Law Seminar, 2012
  • Federal Court Boot Camp Conference, 2011-2012
Community Involvement:
  • ACLU of Washington Board Member, 1985–present,  former Board President, 1989–1996
  • ACLU National Board Member, 1999–2005
  • Intiman Theatre Board Member, 2002–2011
Professional Organizations:
  • Greater Seattle Business Association, Special Recognition Award, Collaboration for Social Change
  • American Bar Association Council of Appellate Lawyers
  • Washington Appellate Lawyers Association
Representative Matters:
  • State Legislators and Education Advocates: Successful Challenge to the Constitutionality of the 2/3rds Vote Initiative.
  • Pike Place Market Development Agency: Defended the Pike Place Market against efforts of the Urban Group to wrest control of the market from the public.
  • Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District: Defended over a dozen lawsuits challenging various aspects of the effort to build the Safeco Field baseball stadium in Seattle.
  • Sound Transit: Defended several lawsuits challenging the legality of Sound Transit and its public transportation projects. Issues litigated include the constitutionality of the statute creating Sound Transit and the taxes imposed to fund Sound Transit, the legality of changes to the Sound Move plan, compliance with NEPA/SEPA, and the potential impairment of Sound Transit’s bonds.
  • City of Seattle: Represented the City in its litigation to prevent the Sonics from breaking its Key Arena lease.
  • The Republic of Nauru: Obtained defense trial verdict in a federal lawsuit alleging breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Trial court judgment affirmed on appeal.
  • BNSF Railway Company: Prosecuted and defended cases arising from alleged environmental contamination in Washington and Montana. Successfully argued that federal law preempted a local effort to regulate environmental impacts of a rail transportation plan.  Appellate Counsel work in Washington.
  • PPL Montana: Obtained intentional breach of contract finding at federal court trial in Montana. Defended claims by State regarding ownership of riverbeds upon which PPL Montana’s dams sit.
  • Microsoft Corp.: Defeated an attempt to certify a class of plaintiffs alleging product defects and advertising misrepresentations in Windows 95. Litigated a multi-million dollar CGL insurance coverage claim.
  • Monin, Inc.: Prevailed in a federal court jury trial in Washington defending a manufacturer accused of breaching distribution and commission contracts.
  • Queen City Farms: Litigated from trial to state Supreme Court the leading Washington case establishing that general liability insurance policies provide coverage for costs to clean up environmental damages. Obtained millions of dollars in settlement for client.
  • Delta Airlines: Lead counsel for Delta Airlines in a five–week federal trial regarding the constitutionality of City’s airport access ordinance. Judgment for airlines entered at trial and upheld on appeal.