Mike Reiss is available to serve as a mediator or special master in individual cases and class actions involving employment issues, claims of discrimination, wage and hour violations and civil rights actions under federal or state laws.
Before coming to Davis Wright Tremaine, where he has headed the firm’s employment litigation group for more than 20 years, Mike was a law professor at the University of Southern California, where he taught Constitutional Law and Employment Discrimination Law; a legal services attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance in Modesto, California; and the EEOC’s first Regional Attorney in Seattle. Throughout his career Mike has been a mentor and a teacher of advocacy skills to lawyers and law students, and a frequent lecturer on effective mediation techniques.
For over a decade, Mike has served as a mediator and as a court-appointed Special Master in individual cases and class actions involving employment disputes and other civil rights matters.
Mike’s many years of experience as a teacher, counselor, and advocate representing individuals, the government and employers of all sizes makes him particularly effective as a mediator. He is familiar with the goals and perspectives of individual claimants, businesses and government entities. He is creative in seeking solutions to problems, and he is patient and resourceful in working with the parties involved in a dispute. One of his proudest moments as a mediator came at the end of a long day when one of the parties said to him: "You are a really good listener."
Among his experiences, Mike has successfully mediated:
- Numerous individual matters – at every stage of litigation and prior to suit being filed – involving claims of race, religion, age, sex, disability and national origin discrimination and violations of wage and hour and other employment-related laws
- A multi-party sex discrimination and harassment lawsuit involving twelve individual plaintiffs in four different cities
- Multiparty litigation involving the EEOC, legal services attorneys and management-side lawyers
- A civil rights class action involving multiple plaintiffs represented by immigrant rights advocates and government agencies represented by attorneys from the Department of Justice and US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Mike’s references as a mediator – from attorneys representing plaintiffs, management, legal services and government agencies – are available on request.
Admitted to Practice
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
J.D., Yale Law School, 1968, cum laude
- Editor, Yale Law Journal
- Order of the Coif
B.A., Harvard College, 1965, with high honors
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- Board of Directors and Advisory Board, American Employment Law Council
- Advisory Board, National Employment Law Institute
- Program Director, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
- Instructor, Trial Advocacy, University of Washington School of Law, 1980-present
- Program Director, Team Leader and Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), 1975-present
- Named to the "Most Powerful Employment Attorneys Hall of Fame" by Human Resource Executive magazine and Lawdragon, 2014
- Winner, "Top 10 Defense Wins of 2005," The National Law Journal, for Williams v. The Boeing Company
- Named one of "The 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by Human Resource Executive magazine, published by Lawdragon, 2010-2013
- Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Labor & Employment (Washington) by Chambers USA, 2003-2020; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2012-2016; Received "Senior Statesmen" ranking, 2017-2020
- Selected by Best Lawyers as Seattle's "Lawyer of the Year" in Employment Law, 2019
- Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Labor and Employment Law by Best Lawyers, 1993-present
- Selected to "Washington Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 1999-2019
- Awarded "2013 Top Rated Lawyer" in Labor & Employment by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell
- Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
- Trial Skills Training Instructor, Washington State Bar Association and similar organizations, 1980-present
- Trial Advocacy, University of Washington School of Law, 1980-present
- Program Director, Team Leader and Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) 1975-present
- Regional Attorney, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Seattle, 1979-1986
- Law Professor, University of Southern California Law Center, 1968-1979