Thomas A. Lerner - Of Counsel, Seattle

Thomas A. Lerner

Of Counsel | Seattle

Tom practices in the areas of creditors' rights, business litigation, employment law, and physician representation in business matters.

Before moving to Of Counsel in 2022, Tom led the firm's Financial Services practice with a focus on bankruptcy, loan documentation and enforcement of promissory notes and guarantees, foreclosures, receiverships, and workout negotiations and restructurings. He has an in-depth experience in the areas of business litigation, employment law, and physician representation in business and employment matters. Tom often works with closely held businesses advising on business and employment matters, contract matters, and litigation risk analysis.


  • Washington, 1997
  • Oregon, 1980
  • U.S. Supreme Court (1990)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2002), Fourth Circuit (1991) and Court of Federal Claims (1993)


  • Washington University School of Law, J.D., Order of the Barrister (1980)
  • Franklin and Marshall College, B.A. in Government (1977)

Recognition & Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America in Banking and Finance Law; Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2021 - 2022)
  • Top-Rated Lawyer, West Coast, National Law Journal (2017)
  • Martindale Hubbell Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment (2013)
  • AVĀ® rated by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review

Representative Work

  • Representation of banks and businesses in commercial litigation, enforcement of promissory notes and guarantees, real estate foreclosures, and on behalf of creditors in bankruptcy matters.
  • Preventive advice on employment law issues, primarily for employers, and employment law advice and negotiation assistance for individuals.
  • Provide ongoing advice to physicians and other medical providers with regard to business aspects of medical practice management, including employment and shareholder agreements, transactions and medical billing service contracts.

Appellate Cases

  • Nakata v. Blue Bird. Inc., 146 Wn. App. 267, 278, 191 P.3d 900 (2008), review denied, 165 Wn.2d 1033 (2009) regarding the authority of the Board of Directors of an agricultural cooperative corporation, and the legal duties of the Board as to coop members.
  • Gardner v. First Heritage Bank, 175 Wn.App. 650, 661, 303 P.3d 1065 (2013), holding the Deed of Trust Act's (chapter 61.24 RCW) antideficiency provisions do not restrict the bank's ability to exhaust multiple items of collateral in a series of nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings, and construing the agricultural exception to nonjudicial foreclosures.

Publications & Presentations

Click here for a full list of publications and speaking engagements.

For Business Leaders:

For Health Care Professionals:

For Lenders:

Professional & Community Activities

  • Washington State Bar Foundation Board of Trustees (2013 - 2016)
  • Chair, Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Committee (2010)
  • Vice Chair, Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Committee (2009)
  • Member, Lake Forest Park Planning Commission (2005 - 2008)

Background & Interests

Before joining the firm in 1999, Tom was in private practice with the Seattle firm of Franklin & Olson. He had been a partner with Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda, Maryland (1989-1997). Other experience includes serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the Oregon Department of Justice, concentrating on financial fraud and Civil Racketeering cases, and as a trial attorney with the Metropolitan Public Defender Service in Portland. Tom served as Law Clerk to the Honorable William Hungate, U.S. District Court, St. Louis, Missouri.