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422 W Riverside Ave, Suite 1100
Spokane, WA 99201

(509) 624-5265

Spokane Coeur d'Alene Law Firm, Real Estate law, Business and Corporate law, Banking law, Tax law, Litigation, Labor and Employment. 

William M. Symmes

Bill Symmes, Spokane Attorney

Spokane, WA
Phone: 509.755.2026


Best Lawyers Award Badge



Primary Practice: Labor & Employment, Litigation


  • 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

Representative Work

  • 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.

Bar Admission

  • 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

Professional/Civic Activities

  • 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

Scholarly Lectures

  • 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.

 Recent Articles

  • 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