William M. Symmes
J.D., Southern Methodist University, 1994, cum laude, Order of the Coif, Southern Methodist Law Review
B.A., Economics and Political Science, Yale University, 1989
William Symmes represents clients in Labor & Employment related litigation and business matters. He has successfully defended many of the firm's clients in an array of employment matters, including harassment, discrimination and retaliation, breach of contract, and wage and hour. William also represents clients in arbitration under Collective Bargaining Agreements and before the National Labor Relations Board. In connection with many of these matters, William has gained particular experience in drafting, reviewing and litigating executive contracts, covenants not to compete, confidentiality and non-disclosure, non-use agreements.
William also has represented a number of clients in shareholder disputes and D & O liability matters. William often uses his litigation experience to frequently advise clients in structuring transactions to minimize the risk of costly disputes and litigation.
Licensed to practice in Washington, Idaho and Oregon
Joined Witherspoon Kelley in 1994
AV rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, 2000-2019
2017, 2015, Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year, Litigation - Labor & Employment (Spokane)
Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation- Labor & Employment (2013-2020)
Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation (2013-2020)
Top Lawyers – Spokane & Coeur d’Alene Living, 2010-2015
Recognized as a Pacific Northwest Best Lawyer for Labor & Employment, and Commercial Litigation (2015-16) as published in Seattle Times and Oregonian
Superb Rating (No. 10) Avvo, 2010 to 2018
Arendt v. Washington–Idaho–Montana Carpenters–Employers Retirement Trust Fund, 669 Fed. Appx. 919 (9th Cir. 2016) (successful constitutional defense to ERISA claims brought under the Pension Protection Act).
Yeager v. Kaiser Aluminum, 2016 WL 6081386 (9th Cir. 2016) Successful appeal affirming trial court's dismissal of Plaintiff's disability discrimination and failure to accommodate claims.
Yeager v. Kaiser Aluminum, 2014 WL 1255825 (E.D. WA 2014) Successful summary judgment in favor of employer in disability discrimination/failure to accommodate case.
Davis v. Fred’s Appliance, 171 Wn. App 348 (2012) Obtained and affirmed summary judgment on four causes of action establishing new law that no cause of action exists for perceived sexual orientation discrimination.
Cornwell v. Roses & More, 166 Wn. App. 1004 (2012) Obtained and affirmed in part, reversed in part, summary judgment on behalf of employer.
Rimov v. Schultz, 162 Wn. App. 274 (2011) Successful appeal concerning the scope and enforceability of arbitration agreement.
Sterling Savings v. US, 80 Fed. Cl. 497 (2008) Multi-million dollar plaintiff’s verdict in a banking contract claim.
Dixson v. Empire Health Svc., Inc., 136 Wn. App. 1050 (2007) Obtained and affirmed summary judgment in a multi-million-dollar ERISA class action case.
Keystone Masonry, Inc. v. Garco Construction, Inc., 135 Wn. App. 927 (2006) Successful appeal establishing legal standard for forum selection clauses in construction contracts under the Little Miller Act.
Baker v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp., 951 F. Supp 953 (E.D.Wa 1996) Successful summary judgment on a sexual harassment case under a preemption analysis per LMRA § 301.
United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington
The United States Court of Federal Claims
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
Colville Tribal Court
Association of Washington Business - Board Member, 2017-Present
Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel - Member, 2018-Present
Colmac Holding Company - Board Member and Corporate Secretary, 2011-Present
Federal Bar Association for Eastern District of Washington - Past President, 2007‐2008
Greater Spokane Incorporated - General Counsel/Board Member, 2008‐Present
Lawyer Delegate from the Western Federal Districts To the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Executive Committee, 2010‐2014
Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference - Lawyer Representative/LRCC/Local Chair, 2007‐2010
Providence Healthcare Foundation - Board Member, 2006‐Present
Spokane County Court Judicial Liaison Committee - Member, 2005‐Present
Spokane County Bar Association - Officer and Board Member 2014‐Present
Spokane County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division - Board Member, 1995‐1998
Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Labor and Employment Law Section, Executive Committee and Treasurer, 2013‐ 2016
Western Defense Trial Lawyers, Eastern Washington Representative - Board Member, 2015-Present
Lecturer and Organizer- Various presentations and webinars over Spokane's and Washington's paid safe and leave laws, 2016-2018
Guest Lecturer - Annual Northwest Human Resource Management Association (NHRMA) Convention and Trade Show Accommodation Issues in the Workplace, Fall 2015.
Guest Lecturer - Washington State Employment Law & Human Resources Conference, sponsored by Washington State Human Resources Council, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Employment Law Update, 2015.
Guest Lecturer - Annual Northwest Human Resource Management Association (NHRMA) Convention and Trade Show, Social Media in the Workplace, 2014.
Panelist on CLE / Lecturer - 2013 Annual Washington State Bar Association Labor & Employment Conference in Seattle over legal issues that may arise from social media in the workplace, 2013.
Lecturer - Defining What It Means to be Disabled under the WLAD and ADA, 2008.
Lecturer - Minimizing Exposure to Discriminatory Harassment Complaints, various years to various audiences.
Co-author –New employment laws in wake of #MeToo, Spokane Journal of Business, April 12, 2018
Co-author –State's voter-approved sick, safe leave is looming, Spokane Journal of Business, November 22, 2017
Co-author –Heeding transgender restroom, workplace rules, Spokane Journal of Business, April 17, 2016
Co-author –Sick leave mandate gives employers much to mull, Spokane Journal of Business, March 24, 2016