Shannon J. Lawless

Shannon J. Lawless



Shannon’s law practice focuses on representing employers. She strategizes with human resources professionals and business owners on how to handle employment issues such as hiring, workplace complaints, requests for accommodation, and terminations in a way that follows the law and also meets business needs.

Shannon also reviews and drafts employee handbooks, company policies, and restrictive covenants such as non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. She works to develop long-term relationships with her clients and to serve as a trusted business partner, tailoring her advice to each client’s unique history and needs.

When disputes arise, Shannon represents employers in federal and state court lawsuits, arbitrations, negotiated and mediated settlements, and government investigations. Her goal is to help clients find a practical solution to their business conflicts, whether inside or outside the courtroom.

Outside of employment law, Shannon devotes a portion of her practice to general commercial litigation. She particularly enjoys litigating real estate and contract disputes. Before joining Ryan Swanson, Shannon clerked for Justice Mary Fairhurst of the Washington State Supreme Court.


Representation of:

  • National airline in securing summary judgment dismissal of employee’s federal court claims of discrimination on the basis of race, national, origin and discrimination, affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • National railroad in federal court jury trial, securing defense verdict against claims of disability discrimination, affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Large technology company in settling employee’s state court claims of failure to accommodate and disability discrimination
  • Local hardware company in negotiating early settlement of employee’s claim of retaliation due to workers’ compensation claim

Representation of:

  • Companies of all sizes in implementing Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Fast-growing, Seattle-based technology start-up company in all employment law issues, including performing employee trainings and assisting human resources in crafting company policies, strategizing on employee accommodations, terminations, and workplace issues
  • 120-employee marketing firm in complying with employment laws in the seven states where its employees work, including advising on company policy changes and managing risk of employee claims
  • Professionals and executives in understanding their non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, and navigating job transitions given these restrictions
REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE – General Commercial Litigation

Representation of:

  • Family business with significant real estate holdings in state court case quieting title by adverse possession
  • Individual in quiet title action to resolve ownership of land prior to development
  • Website developer in securing payment from client following dispute on contract terms
  • Member of joint venture in negotiating exit from business after business relationship soured
Professional & Community Activities
  • WSBA Labor & Employment Section (Executive Committee Member – Defense, 2018-present)
  • Pacific Coast Labor & Employment Conference Planning Committee (2014-present; Subcommittee Chair 2017-present)
  • King County Bar Association Labor & Employment Section (2014-present)
  • Washington Women Lawyers State Board (2011-2018; Board President 2015-2016)
  • Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (2013-present)
  • The Riveter (2018-present)
Speaking Engagements
Honors & Awards
  • Order of the Coif
  • Named to Washington Rising Star® list (2016-present)
  • Named to Top Women Attorneys in Washington® list (2016)


Shannon is a Seattle native and the third generation of attorneys with the last name “Lawless.” She enjoys spending time with her family and her friends, playing fetch with her dog, practicing yoga, hiking, running, golfing, and attending Seattle theater performances.