Lou Peterson is a trial lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. He represents individuals and businesses in commercial cases of all types – from securities and intellectual property claims to shareholder and employment disputes. He has represented major companies, securities and financial institutions, municipalities and universities in complex high-stakes litigation across the country – including several cases where the stakes exceeded $1 billion. His experience encompasses the broadest range of activities – from biotechnology and college athletics to timber and airlines. He also has a depth of experience in police shooting cases.
Lou has been recognized as one of the top trial lawyers in the country. The Best Lawyers in America has for many years recognized him in four categories: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Securities Litigation. Best Lawyers recently named Lou the “2015 Seattle Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year.” Super Lawyers has repeatedly rated Lou a Top Ten lawyer in the state. He was rated the top lawyer in 2000. He has been named a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Lou has tried cases throughout the United States – including Seattle, New York, Chicago and Atlanta. His trial practice has taken him around the world – from New York to Bangkok, and from Tokyo to Bangladesh.
Lou is widely recognized as one of the top mediators and arbitrators. He has served as the mediator in hundreds of complex cases arising throughout the U.S., and he has been the arbitrator in both domestic and international disputes.
Lou is a Seattle native. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
- Co-counsel in the defense of JPMorgan Chase and related entities—including former affiliates of Washington Mutual Bank—in federal court litigation related to residential mortgage backed securities.
- Lead counsel in the defense of the University of Washington in the lawsuit brought by its former head football coach, Rick Neuheisel, after he was fired by the University. Following a six-week jury trial, this case was resolved favorably for our client. Of Lou's cross-examination of Neuheisel, one columnist wrote, "Facing Peterson in a courtroom is probably a lot like standing on a beach in a hurricane while wearing hip waders. His questions were a jackhammer blast...." Les Carpenter, Seattle Times, February 15, 2005.
- Lead counsel in the defense of Mitsubishi Corporation in an Alaska antitrust class action arising out of the Bristol Bay salmon industry. Plaintiffs alleged compensatory and punitive damages totaling $975 million; we negotiated a favorable settlement prior to trial.
- Lead counsel for Weyerhaeuser Company in trial and appellate proceedings in Atlanta, Georgia. Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $850 million arising out of the carve-out of Weyerhaeuser's private label diaper division into a publicly-held company. After a several week trial, the bankruptcy court entered a $470 million judgment for plaintiff. Following review by the federal district court, this judgment was reversed, and a judgment dismissing all claims was entered in favor of Weyerhaeuser. Weyerhaeuser's victory was affirmed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Lead counsel on behalf of plaintiff Horizon Air in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed against Frontier Horizon Airlines. Following federal court hearings, we obtained preliminary injunctive relief against Frontier.
- Co-counsel in the defense of The New England Mutual Life Insurance Company and Copley Real Estate Advisors in lawsuits brought by the Washington State Investment Board, which asserted claims totaling $1.2 billion for securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. We resolved this matter before trial.
- Represents securities firms -- including Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, CIBC Oppenheimer, and Edward D. Jones -- in a wide variety of securities cases before state and federal courts and before arbitration tribunals.
- Represents other law firms in a range of complex and highly sensitive matters.
- Has served as a mediator or arbitrator in hundreds of cases.
- Featured in a Cover Story, "The Player," by Washington Law & Politics, Summer 2007
- Author, "TIE ONE FOR THE GIPPER . . . and Other Failed Cheers," Washington State Bar News, April 2007
- Author, "A Mediator's Observations," Washington State Bar News, February 2002
- Frequent presenter at seminars attended by lawyers on various topics, including evidentiary rules, trial strategy, mediation and arbitration
- King County Bar Association (Judicial Conferencing Committee, 1992 - 2001, Co-Chair, 2000 - 2001; Judicial Screening Committee, 1988 - 1993, Chair, 1990 - 1992; Young Lawyers Section, Judicial Selection and Discipline Committee, 1977 - 1981, Legislation Committee, 1975 - 1977, Chair, 1976 - 1977)
- Washington State Bar Association (Litigation Section) Judicial Recommendations Committee, 1989 - 1992
- American Bar Association (Antitrust, Litigation, and Business Law Sections)
- ADR Roundtable, Founding Member
- Broadmoor Golf Club, Board of Trustees, 2004 - 2007
- Lakeside School, Board of Trustees, 1995 - 2004
- Woodland Park Zoological Society, Board of Directors, 1993 - 1997
- Seattle International Music Festival, Board of Directors, 1992 - 1996
- Discovery Park Citizens Advisory Committee, Treasurer, 1974 - 1978
- Repeatedly recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Intellectual Property, and Litigation - Securities, most recently for 2024.
- Repeatedly recognized as a Super Lawyer by Washington Super Lawyers, most recently in 2022.
Ranked First in the year 2000
Ranked in the Top Ten in years 2000 - 2005, 2007, and 2009 - 2017
Repeatedly Ranked in the Top 100, most recently in 2020.
- Named Lawyer of the Year in the area of Litigation - Intellectual Property by Best Lawyers in America®, 2017.
- Named 2015 Seattle Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year.
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers.
- A/V Preeminent Lawyer, Martindale Hubbell.
- J.D., Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, 1974
Law clerk to The Honorable Morell Sharp, United States District Court,
Seattle, 1974 - 1975
- A.B., Harvard College, magna cum laude, 1971
Phi Beta Kappa
I am a classically trained pianist, but these days I am more likely to play (for my own amusement) Cole Porter than Rachmaninoff. I dabble in foreign languages. My golf game needs work.