Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668
Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668

Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668

Britenae Pierce

Britenae is the Chair of Ryan Swanson’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group and member of the firm’s Litigation Group.  She is a trial lawyer with an extensive and diverse practice in addition to her employment advising and litigation work. She spends the majority of her practice handling both employment law and real property matters as well as commercial and business litigation, contract/breach of contract cases, construction law, title insurance defense, trade secret and misappropriation cases, dispute resolution, and state and federal appellate work.

Employment Practice

As Chair of Ryan Swanson’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group, Britenae works with company owners and HR professionals to implement practical, creative solutions that protect their businesses from potential threats that can disrupt their workforce or business operations.  She counsels her clients on how to best comply with the law and meet the company’s business needs.  She handles every type of employment issue including claims of discrimination and harassment, wage disputes, requests for accommodation, hiring/termination, union organizing efforts, employee handbooks and policies, investigations, trade secrets, non-competes, and drafting and reviewing employment agreements. She most often helps employers comply with employment laws and respond to various employee claims.  When an employment matter reaches the litigation stage, Britenae is a thoughtful and zealous advocate, balancing business concerns with skilled courtroom experience whether in arbitration, a jury trial, or on appeal.  She handles everything from the smallest companies with budding HR issues to national and international corporate clients with extensive employment and labor concerns.

Representative Employment Litigation Experience

  • Lead trial attorney representing national railroad in federal court jury trial with union plaintiff, securing defense verdict against claims of disability discrimination.  Argued the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which court affirmed the defense verdict.
  • Sole trial counsel in labor arbitration, securing defense verdict against union employees’ claims.
  • Lead trial attorney representing national railroad in federal court case securing summary judgment dismissal of plaintiffs’ disability discrimination claims.
  • Lead trial attorney representing large technology company in settling employee’s state court claims of failure to accommodate and disability discrimination.

Representative Employment Advising

  • Advises large regional employer on all aspects of employment law including state and city specific requirements for Washington, California, and Oregon and managing both a union and non-union employee population.
  • Advises national employer on employment issues after multi-billion-dollar acquisition and 600% employee ramp-up in year following acquisition.
  • Advises multiple companies with national remote workforces on complying with various laws and the business and practical issues with an all-remote workforce.
  • Advises companies and executives on noncompete issues and separation agreements.
Real Property Practice

In her real property practice, Britenae handles a variety of disputes on behalf of property owners, lienholders, escrow companies, and title companies. Britenae works regularly as outside counsel for title companies and also represents their insureds in negotiated resolutions and litigation.  She handles matters ranging from adverse possession to intricate lien priority issues and many unusual and complex disputes in between.  Britenae’s real property and title insurance practice often finds her in the courtroom on summary judgment motions, in trial, and arguing cases on appeal.

Representative Real Property Litigation Experience

  • Represented individual in quiet title action to resolve ownership of property and won ownership rights as a bona fide purchaser on both trial and appeal.
  • Sole trial counsel for title company in recoupment action and won requested damages at trial.
  • Represented national railroad in successful summary judgment dismissal of plaintiffs’ property claims in state court and succeeded in affirming the judgment on appeal.
  • Represented lienholders in various summary judgment motions securing requested lien priority.

Britenae is responsive, engaged, and genuinely enjoys helping individuals and businesses reach their goals, whether it is through advising, litigation, or an alternative resolution process. While her most exciting days are spent arguing her clients’ cases in court, her practical and creative approach often results in early resolution for her clients.

Ryan Swanson Leadership

Within Ryan Swanson, Britenae is a valued and active member of the firm, including the following groups and committees.

  • Chair, Employment Rights, Benefits and Labor Group (2018–present)
  • Chair, Compensation Plan Committee (current)
  • Leader, Associate Group (2011–2021)
  • Leader, Mentor Group (2018-2021)
  • Member, Lease Committee (current)
  • Member, Executive Committee (prior)
  • Member, Strategic Planning Committee (2019–2020)
  • Member, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (current)
  • Member, Hiring Committee (prior)
  • Leader, Summer Associate Program (prior)
  • Member, Client Relations Committee (prior)
Speaking Engagements
  • Association of Washington Business – Employment Law Webinar Series, “Performance Evaluations, Disciplinary Action & Termination” (2023)
  • Washington State SHRM Annual Conference, “Risky Terminations” (2022)
  • Puget Sound Business Journal, “Straight Talk – Managing the Remote Workforce” (2020)
  • Women, Diversity & Change, Seattle, Panelist (2019)
  • Ryan Swanson’s Annual Employment Law Update (Presentations 2005–present)
  • Association of Washington Business – Employment Law Webinar Series, “Performance Evaluations, Disciplinary Action & Termination” (2016-2022)
  • Association of Washington Business – COVID-19 Employer Resource Series, “Employment Law & Employee Benefits” (2020)
  • Association of Washington Business Workplace Summit, “Legal Considerations for Workplace Practices” (2018)
  • Association of Washington Business Workplace Summit, “Generational Issues in the Workplace” (2017)
  • Puget Sound Business Journal Seminars, “Ten Tips for Avoiding Problems With Employees” (2016)
  • Various employment and real property CLEs
Honors and Awards
  • Named to Washington Super Lawyers® list (2023)
  • Named to Washington Rising Star® list (2008–2019)
  • Named “Top Female Attorney in Washington” Seattle Met Magazine (2014, 2019)


  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law
    (J.D., with honors, 2003)
  • Editor, North Carolina Law Review
  • University of California at Los Angeles
    (B.A., 1999)
Admitted to Practice
  • Washington (2003)
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • United States District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Hobbies & Interests

Outside of work, Britenae is an avid home remodeler, designer, and craftsperson.  Her favorite projects are large scale DIY remodels and designing and constructing bespoke built-ins for her home. When she puts down the power tools, Britenae enjoys the never-ending pursuit of sunshine, teaching her kids how to travel internationally with only a carry-on, the guilty pleasure of young adult dystopian novels, attempting to train her covid puppy, recipe testing (and eating), and many other creative endeavors to offset her hours spent at a computer screen.