Lee Brettin's Background and Experience


I have been an active real estate broker since 1980 and a lawyer since 1994.  My real estate career began in shopping center management, leasing and development.  I obtained my Certified Property Manager designation managing community shopping centers for institutional investors while attending law school at night.  Upon passing the bar I transitioned out of real estate management and began representing local and regional chain-store operators in regional mall and community shopping center lease negotiations with all of the national regional mall developers and owner of that era in most all of the prominent regional malls in the Western States.

One of my clients at the time, Seattle Coffee Company, brought me in-house to work for them as their General Counsel and Vice President of Real Estate as they were planning a national retail and wholesale distribution roll out.  In that position I was responsible for our retail store leasing, site selection, franchise operations, business acquisitions, partnerships, trademarks and other intellectual property, working with our various team captains and outside specialty legal counsel.  We were opening stores in Washington, Oregon, Northern and Southern California, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, NY and DC.  Mid-rollout there was a shakeout in the industry and the owners decided to pursue other opportunities and sold the company (not to Starbucks as is the common misconception) and my position was merged into a law department at the new parent company in Atlanta.

After Seattle’s Best, I got back involved in shopping center development and leasing for a local Walgreen’s developer as General Counsel.  In that position I negotiated and drafted option agreements for development parcel assemblages, purchase agreements, easements, CC&Rs and other entitlement and development covenants, Walgreen and store leases, entity formation, capitalization and loan documents for our projects in Washington and Oregon.  In summation, everything that goes into developing a successful neighborhood shopping center.  It was interesting work without a future.  I folded, then came the recession.  Luckily, I was out ahead of the curve.

I set up shop again at my current Northgate location in 2005.  Since then I’ve had the honor and privilege of representing local business owners and national business interests in transactional and litigation matters in Washington State, as well as individuals and families in all manner of real estate, business and franchise transactions and litigation.  At the beginning of 2019, I made the decision to forego the civil litigation portion of my practice (with the sole exception of boundary disputes) in order to pursue other interests.

I was an active volunteer at the King County Bar Association Country Doctor Legal Clinic for over 10 years assisting individuals who cannot afford lawyers; and Wayfind, a KCBA outreach program counseling entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises.

I am a graduate of the University of Oregon Business School majoring in Finance and Real Estate, and the University of Puget Sound School of Law, and a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and the Commercial Broker’s Association of Washington.

Before all this started, I completed an apprenticeship to become a journeyman carpenter and am a former member of the now defunct United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners – Local 1453 – Huntington Beach, California.