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


Founder of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC, John Ryan, graduates from the University of Wisconsin. He played 4 years of college football.
1894 Wisconsin Badgers football team
1894 Wisconsin Badgers football team
1895 - 1896
John Ryan attends Chicago College of Law, later to become Chicago-Kent College of Law. John Ryan appears in the 1896 Chicago College of Law Precedent.
2 - class_of_1897

John Ryan admitted to practice in Wisconsin and starts his private practice.

3 - John Ryan Sr. 1933 headshot
John Ryan serves in the Spanish American War. His name shows on the roster for the Rough Riders. The Rough Riders was a nickname given to the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish–American War and the only one of the three to see action.
4 - rough-riders
1898 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry (Rough Riders) during the Spanish American War

John Ryan moves his law practice into the Globe Building, now the Kimpton Alexis Hotel, standing at the northwest corner of First and Madison

5 - Globe Building
The Globe Building, Seattle, Washington, 1905

The future home of our current building, 1201 3rd Ave, is regraded.

6 - 1201 3rd regrading

John Ryan moves to the Alaska Building, Seattle’s first steel-framed skyscraper.

7 - Alaska building 1907
The firm becomes Ryan & Desmond as Grover Desmond joins John Ryan. Now with two attorneys, the firm is officially off and running. Grover was born in Clinton, Iowa and attended the University of Washington Law School. He was partnered with John E. Ryan Sr. until his death in 1932.
8 - Grover Desmond 1932 headshot
Grover E. Desmond (1885 - 1932)
The two partners move to the Pantages Building. Primarily a theater but was fronted with offices.
9 - pantanges building 1915
The Pantages Building, 1915

William D. Askren elected as Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court.

10 - Askren, Justice William D
Justice William D. Askren

John Ryan Jr. joins his father’s firm as an Associate. He attended Queen Anne High School and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and legal education from the University of Virginia. He joined the firm after serving in World War I. John Ryan Jr. served as managing partner of the firm for 49 years until his death in 1982.

John Ryan Jr. (1900 - 1982)
The firm moves to the Northern Life Building and becomes Ryan, Desmond & Ryan. The Northern Life Building still stands across the street from our current building on 3rd Avenue in Seattle.
12 - Northern Life Building

William D. Askren joins the firm. The firm becomes Ryan, Askren & Ryan. He was born in Mount Ayr, Iowa where he attended school until he was 14. He moved to Tacoma in 1902 and found a job as a bellhop. He later became a clerk in a pawn shop and studied law at night.

13 - Askren, William
William D. Askren (1885 - 1964)
The firm moves to the White Henry Stuart Building located at 1318 4th Avenue. The building was torn down in 1974 for the Rainier Square project. An almost identical building was built, the Cobb building, and remains standing at the corner of 4th and University (Location of the Capital Grille).
14 - White Henry Stuart Building
The eight attorneys and support staff of Ryan, Askren & Mathewson celebrate 50 years!
15 - 50 Years
Ray Swanson joins the firm upon graduating from the University of Washington Law School. He serves as managing partner from 1982 - 1989. He retires from the firm in 1993.
16 - Swanson, Raymond C
Raymond C. Swanson (1926 – 2001)
The firm changes its name to Ryan, Askren, Mathewson, Carlson & King.
17 - Ryan, Askren, Mathewson, Carlson & King 1960
Holiday party - 1960
Richard L. Cleveland joins the firm as an Associate. He was born in Seattle in 1930. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1948 and received his BA from the University of Washington in 1952. While at UW he was in the Air Force ROTC, and on graduation was assigned to Russian Language School at Syracuse University. After completing the course, he was stationed in Washington DC, where he met his future wife, Nancy. Upon discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1959. Dick returned to Seattle and started his legal career at the firm. He retires in 2006.
18 - Ruchard Cleveland 1972
Richard L. Cleveland 1930 - 2010 (1972 photo)
The firm changes its name to Ryan, Askren, Carlson, Bush & Swanson.
19 - Bush, Richard (1963)
Richard K. Bush - 1963
The firm changes its name to Ryan, Carlson, Bush, Swanson & Hendel.
Joel Paget joins the firm and continues his practice to this day, celebrating his 51st anniversary in 2022. Having graduated University of Washington School of Law (Student Body President 1966-1967), he was a legal intern for the Department of Motor Vehicles and a WA Court of Appeals Law Clerk for Judge Herbert A Swanson. Before starting his career as an attorney, he was a Men's Furnishing Salesman at JC Penney located at 2nd and Pike, now the home of the Target. Joel met James Cash Penney when he stopped by the store for a visit.
20 - Joel Paget 1972
Joel H. Paget - 1972
3 entrepreneurs contacted Ryan Swanson attorney Mike Rayton to help them launch their new coffee business – they called their company Starbucks. Mike Rayton presided over the first couple of board meetings and remained on as Assistant Secretary on the Board of Directors. We were also the Registered Agent for Starbucks back in those days.
21 - Starbucks 1971
The first Starbuck's in 1971

The firm becomes Ryan, Bush, Swanson & Hendel and moves its sixteen Attorneys and staff to the Union Bank of California Building located at 901 Fifth Avenue. John E. Ryan, Jr. had his own dedicated parking space on the first level which, after his passing, was used by Ray Swanson and his Corvette.

901 Fifth was completed in 1973 and has 42 floors, making it the 11th tallest building in Seattle at the time.
901 Fifth was completed in 1973 and has 42 floors, making it the 11th tallest building in Seattle at the time.
Portrait of women employees at Ryan, Bush, Swanson & Hendel. Morey Priest, second from left, would be hired as the first woman attorney at the firm four years later. She later became the first woman member.
Ryan, Bush, Swanson & Hendel secretaries (1974-75)
The firm undergoes its 10th and final name change to become Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC.
23 - 1977 Logo
Roger Kindley, Jim Shaker, Bob Curran, and Joel Paget sing songs by the Temptations at Ryan Swanson's Holiday Party at Madison Hotel (now the Renaissance Madison).
24 - kindley-shaker-curran-paget
John Iverson was elected as Managing Director replacing Ray Swanson. He becomes only the fourth Managing Partner in the firm's 90-year history.
25 - John Iverson
The firm moves to its current location at 1201 Third Avenue. At the time, the 55 Story building is the second-tallest building in the city, the eighth tallest on the West Coast of the United States.
26 - 1201 3rd Ave
The 1201 Third Building, formally known as the Washington Mutual Tower. Construction began in 1986 and finished in 1988.
Rick Friedhoff elected as Managing Director.
Joel Paget elected as Managing Director.
27 - Joel Paget
Jerry Kindinger is elected as Managing Director.
28 - Jerry Kindinger
The firm celebrates its 100th anniversary.
29 - 100 Year Anniversary logo
Immigration attorney Janet Cheetham named to the inaugural Washington Super Lawyers list. Janet is one of only six lawyers whose names have appeared on the list every year since. She would be featured on the cover of Super Lawyers Magazine 25 years later in 2022.
Janet Cheetham
Janet in 2003. Right photo: 2022 Super Lawyers cover with Janet standing third from the left
Roger Myklebust elected as Managing Director.
Kevin Bay elected as Managing Director.
30 - Kevin Bay
The firm adopts our current logo.
31 - Current Logo
Bob Curran elected as Managing Director.
Ryan Swanson member John Ruhl appointed to King County Superior Court.
32 - John Ruhl
Dave Tift elected as Managing Director.
33 - Dave Tift
The firm celebrates its 120th anniversary!
34 - 120th Anniversary
Ryan Swanson holds our 120th anniversary celebration; all previous (living) managing directors attend with current managing director Dave Tift.
35 - Managing Partners
Top: Roger Myklebust, Robert (Bob) Curran, Kevin Bay, Dave Tift Bottom: Joel Paget, Rick Friedhoff, Jerry Kindinger
Women chair half of Ryan Swanson’s major practice groups: Marsha Mavunkel (Immigration), Kristin Nealey Meier (Healthcare), Kari Brotherton (Estate Planning & Probate) and Britenae Pierce (Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor). Meier would also become co-chair of the Litigation group in 2021.
Marsha Mavunkel, Kristin Nealey Meier, Kari Brotherton, Britenae Pierce
Bryan Graff is elected Managing Director.
36 - Bryan Graff
The firm celebrates its 125th anniversary!
37 - 125 Logo