James M. Shaker

James M. Shaker

Senior Counsel


In addition to litigating employment and labor disputes, Jim counsels employers (regionally and internationally) and individuals on a wide variety of employment-related issues, including employment agreements and severance packages.

Jim represents clients with employment matters in a range of industries. These matters include:

  • Employment Discrimination and Harassment
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other Administrative Complaints
  • Religious Accommodation
  • Labor Disputes, including grievances, hearings and court proceedings
  • Wage and Hour and Leave issues

In addition to his employment practice, Jim handles complex litigation including the following:

  • Securities Mattersrepresenting broker-dealers, investment advisors and public customers in various claims, including class actions, regulatory proceedings and customer claims.
  • Trusts and Estate Controversies – negotiating and litigating disputes, including will contests, and complaints against Trustees and Personal Representatives.
  • Business and Product Litigation – representing companies in contractual and product defect cases.

Jim maintains an arbitration and mediation practice, and is available to serve as a neutral arbitrator or mediator in disputes related to employment, trust and estate controversy, securities, and general business matters. He offers insightful, creative solutions and provides an honest assessment for both parties involved when facilitating dispute resolution. His many years of experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants make him particularly effective as an arbitrator and mediator. Jim has completed the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution Training Program at Pepperdine University.

Representative Experience
  • Represents clients in union negotiations and personnel or employment matters, including personnel disciplinary proceedings.
  • Represents various technology and biotechnology companies, as well as healthcare, manufacturing, boat building, insurance and other industries with respect to employment issues relating to discrimination, retaliation, trade secret information and temporary/leased employees.
  • Represents clients in disputes before Federal and State Administrative agencies, including the EEOC.
  • Represents professionals including financial planners, lawyers, physicians and other executives with respect to unique issues relating to employment and other contracts.
  • Represented a Washington county in sex discrimination lawsuit, as well as a major public utility in a discrimination, harassment and whistleblower case.
  • Represented large, international nonprofit in dispute over trust proceeds resulting in significant multi-million dollar settlement.
  • Represented employer in theft of trade secrets, breach of employment agreement and trade dress violation.
  • Represented partner in partnership dissolution involving fraudulent transfer of assets and monies of the business.
  • Represented business in litigation where issues included theft of corporate opportunity.
  • Represented foreign business in contractual claim regarding spectrum rights.
  • Represented food service business in product claim against product seller and product manufacturer.
Professional & Community Activities
  • Former Executive Committee Chair, and Board Member of the Washington State Bar Association Labor and Employment Section
  • Trustee, King County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section (2007-2016)
  • Federal Bar Trustee (1999-2001)
  • Pacific Coast Labor and Employment Conference Planning Committee (1991-2017)
Honors & Awards
  • Rated 10/10 on Avvo.com
  • Seattle Business Magazine, Seattle’s Best Lawyers (2012-present)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® (2010-present)
  • Named to Washington Super Lawyers® list (2005-present)
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5
Speaking Engagements


Before joining Ryan Swanson, Jim worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, in Washington, D.C.  He has been named in Washington Law & Politics’ Super Lawyers® list as well as the Best Lawyers in the State of Washington® and Best Lawyers in America® lists.

Jim was born and raised in Connecticut and says that being exposed to the family businesses at a young age made him a better lawyer. “My parents’ business provided a real-life education on how a business operates. Today, when a business comes with a legal problem, I look at the big picture to see how the problem relates to the overall organization. This perspective helps develop more effective, creative options and practical solutions that clients are seeking.”