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Robert B. Mitchell

Fax +1.206.370.6133
Mr. Mitchell’s practice focuses on appeals and the resolution of complex legal disputes.

Professional Background

Law clerk for Hon. Myron H. Bright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, from 1979-1980.


  • Best Lawyers (Commercial Litigation), 2013-18

Additional Information

Mr. Mitchell chairs the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
Appellate Litigation
  • Representing Presbytery of Seattle before the Washington Court of Appeals and Washington Supreme Court in cases addressing the ecclesiastical deference doctrine.
  • Representing Grocery Manufacturers Association before the Washington Court of Appeals in an appeal raising First Amendment and Eighth Amendment challenges to penalties imposed under the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
  • Representing United Farmers of Alberta before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in case challenging damages awarded for tortious interference and fraudulent transfers.
  • Representing Lockheed Martin Corporation before the United States Supreme Court in opposing certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Edwards v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 617 Fed. Appx. 648, 2015 WL 3407241 (2015).
  • Representing American Intellectual Property Law Association before the United States Supreme Court as amicus curiae in support of the petitioners in ABC v. Aereo, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2498 (2014).
  • Representing Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP) and other organizations before the Washington Court of Appeals as amici curiae in cases addressing the presumptive length of domestic violence protection orders.
  • Representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Representing Premera Blue Cross before the Washington Court of Appeals. See Premera v. Kreidler, 133 Wash. App. 23, 131 P.3d 930 (2006).
  • Representing Microsoft before the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. See Microsoft Corp. v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, 115 T.C. 228, 2000 WL 1310664 (2000); Microsoft Corp. v. C.I.R., 311 F.3d 1178 (9th Cir. 2002).
  • Representing Visio Corp. before the Washington Court of Appeals in a case addressing the scope of issue preclusion in administrative proceedings. See City of Seattle, Exec. Servs. Dep’t v. Visio Corp., 108 Wash. App. 566, 31 P.3d 740 (2001).
  • Representing municipalities in litigation challenging regulations of adult cabarets. See Ino Ino, Inc. v. City of Bellevue, 132 Wn.2d 103, 937 P.2d 154 (1997); Déjà Vu-Everett-Federal Way, Inc. v. City of Federal Way, 96 Wash. App. 255, 979 P.2d 464 (1999).

Constitutional and Administrative Litigation
Mr. Mitchell has successfully defended a state statute requiring dual majorities to restructure local government; sewer system development fees imposed as a condition of plat approval; and school impact fees collected under the Washington Growth Management Act. He has represented the States of Alaska and California before the Ninth Circuit in litigation arising out of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, seeking to uphold state authority to impose liability for tanker accidents. On behalf of news media and other clients, he has successfully defended on First Amendment grounds numerous defamation actions brought in both state and federal court. Mr. Mitchell also has successfully defended clients against claims brought under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Commercial Advice and Contract Drafting
Mr. Mitchell has written and spoken on trade secret issues; advised clients regarding the terms of software end user license agreements; and helped to structure contract arrangements for content and management of online news services. Based in part upon his experience in these matters, as well as several cases in which he has litigated commercial impracticability and other contract issues, Mr. Mitchell has represented the Business Software Alliance and other clients in connection with efforts to draft a uniform state law governing transactions in software and other information products.