Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668
Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 3400
Seattle, WA 98101-3034

Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 3400
Seattle, WA 98101-3034

Roger D. Mellem

Roger successfully prosecutes, defends and resolves tough securities, real estate and other commercial cases on behalf of businesses and individuals, and serves as a mediator and arbitrator as well.


Roger’s litigation practice focuses on securities litigation and real estate litigation, particularly complex matters.  He defends and resolves governmental investigations, and disciplinary or enforcement actions, before the SEC, FINRA and the State of Washington DFI Securities Division and State Board of Accountancy. He also prosecutes, defends and resolves non-solicitation and trade secret disputes, securities arbitration actions and real estate disputes.

Roger has received intensive mediator training and is available to help resolve broker-dealer/customer, securities, non-competition, real estate and other civil disputes and would be pleased to do so.  As a former federal law clerk who has decided many cases as an arbitrator, he is also available for engagement as a neutral or party-appointed arbitrator.

Securities Regulatory Enforcement Defense

Roger frequently defends registered investment advisors, investment advisor representatives, hedge funds, hedge fund managers, investment bankers, broker-dealers and registered representatives in regulatory investigations and disciplinary actions brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, FINRA and the State of Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Securities Division, including presenting Wells submissions and CRD expungement requests.

Securities & Complex Civil Litigation/Securities Arbitration Claims

Roger has significant securities litigation experience in class actions, stock option disputes, shareholder derivative actions, directors’ and officers’ liability issues, insider trading, corporate governance and internal investigations, proxy contests and mortgage-backed securities. He also prosecutes and defends customer claims against broker-dealers and registered representatives in court and before FINRA Dispute Resolution. These matters involve claims of unsuitability, churning, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and misrepresentation.

Roger was recently quoted in an Oregonian newspaper article discussing whether a CEO’s felony tax conviction should have been disclosed in the company’s initial public stock offering.

Broker Employment Litigation

Roger litigates noncompetition, non-solicitation and trade secrets disputes, particularly between broker-dealers and registered representatives.

Real Estate Litigation

Roger’s real estate litigation practice is wide-ranging, including both prosecution and defense of claims involving major commercial leases, purchase and sale contracts, investments, partnership accounting and dissolution, condemnation/eminent domain, adverse possession, broker commissions, easements, landslides, lending/usury, and title disputes.

Tenacity & Creativity

Recognized for effectively representing clients by combining strategic thinking with tenacious execution, Roger is also respected for developing creative approaches to resolving litigation disputes. To both litigation and mediation he brings insights into judicial decision-making provided by two years clerking for a federal trial judge and more than three decades in private practice.

Additional Background

Roger graduated from the Honors College of the University of Oregon. Prior to entering law school, he spent four years managing environmental issues in Oregon government, including responsible positions in the Office of the Governor, with the Senate Environment & Energy Committee, and for the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

Roger obtained his first year of legal training at the Yale Law School. He then transferred to the University of Oregon Law School, where he graduated second in his class. His environmental interests are reflected today in his service as Immediate Past President of the Board of Washington Wild and as a member of the Leadership Council of Yale University’s world-renowned School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Roger enjoys mountaineering, hiking, recreational rock climbing and ice climbing, watching the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks, creating Blu Ray shows, and spending time with his family. Since 2011 he has trekked and climbed in Bolivia, Ecuador, France, Italy, Nepal and Portugal, including ascending a 19,700-foot peak in Nepal on three hours’ sleep total over the prior five days.

Prior Professional Experience

  • Foster Pepper PLLC: Chair, Securities and Complex Litigation Group, 2001-06;
    Equity Member, 1992-2006; Associate, 1985-91
  • State of Washington/Washington State Investment Board – Special Assistant
    Attorney General, 1993-96
  • Honorable Owen M. Panner, United States District Judge, Portland, Oregon –
    Law Clerk, 1982-84

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America®, 2020-2023
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent
  • Named to Washington Super Lawyers® list 14 times since 2003, including 2014-2019
  • Washington CEO Magazine’s “Washington’s Most Amazing Attorney’s,” among 21 civil
    litigators, 2006
  • Order of the Coif, 1982
  • National Wildlife Federation Environmental Conservation Fellowship, 1981

Presentations and Interviews

  • “Defending Depositions,” Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, June 2017
  • “The Constitutionality of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Administrative Enforcement Process,” Northwest Securities Institute, May 2017
  • Co-presenter, Robo Advice, Puget Sound Area Chief Compliance Officers group for Registered Investment Advisors, January 2017
  • Interviewed Michael Lewis, author of Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, on high frequency trading, Town Hall Seattle, April 2014
  • Program Chair, Investment Advisors: Best Practices in Securities Enforcement and Litigation, The Seminar Group, May 2013
  • Ethical Considerations for Commercial Lease Lawyers, Real Property Section, East King County Bar Association, March 2013
  • Preparing for and Surviving Your Next Regulatory Exam, CFA Society of Seattle, December 2012
  • Ethical Considerations for Lease Lawyers, LSI Commercial Real Estate Leases Conference, December 2012

Community & Professional Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, The Mountaineers, 2018-2022
  • Yale School of the Environment – Member, Leadership Council, 2001-present
  • Washington Wild – Board President, 2012-2015; Member, Board of Directors, 2009-2016; Board Member Emeritus, 2016-present
  • American Alpine Club – Member, Host Committee, National Dinner, 2011 & 2017
  • The Mountaineers – Member, Host Committee, Annual Dinner, 2013, 2015 & 2017
  • Member, Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC Pension Plan Committee, 2016-present
  • Street Law – Mentor, Foster High School, 2017
  • Northwest Outward Bound School – Member, Washington Advisory Council and its predecessors, 1989 – 2010; Outward Bound Instructor or Assistant Instructor, 1977-1981
  • The Evergreen State College – Member, Fundraising Committee, Willi Unsoeld Seminar Fund, 1984-1985
  • National Park Service – Member, Pacific Northwest Regional Advisory Committee, 1972-1976
  • American Bar Association – Member, Litigation Section; Member, Committee on Securities Litigation
  • Washington State Bar Association – CLE Program Co-chair and Panelist, Litigation Section; Member, Securities Committee, Business Section
  • Federal Bar Association – Member, Local Rules Committee for the Western District of Washington, 2009-2016


<< click or swipe left or right below for more photos >>


  • University of Oregon
    (J.D., 1982, second in law school class)
  • Yale University, Yale Law School
    (M.S.L., 1980)
  • The Evergreen State College
    (B.A., 1973)
  • University of Oregon Honors College
    (B.A., 1973)
  • St. Olaf College Summer Institute in Economics
    (National Science Foundation, 1968)
Admitted to Practice
  • Washington (1985-present)
  • Oregon (1983-2021)
  • United States District Court of Oregon
  • United States District Court Western District of Washington
  • United States District Court Eastern District of Washington
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Admitted pro hac vice for particular cases in Alaska and New York

Hobbies & Interests