Betts Patterson Mines



Engineers, architects, environmental consultants and other professionals in the construction industry (Design Professionals), contribute special expertise and a passion to better our environment and our lives.  At Betts, Patterson & Mines, we have an appreciation for the unique character and needs of this industry.  From business formation to growth strategies, IP, tax, exit strategies and estate planning, our attorneys have deep expertise to help clients navigate every step of a company’s life cycle.  And while we are keenly focused on strategies to mitigate risk, when it is unavoidable, we have a deep bench of skilled litigators with a track record for swiftly and effectively resolving cases.

Led by James Nelson and Anne Cohen, the BPM team combines many years of combined experience representing design professionals and addressing construction matters.

With offices in Seattle and Portland, the majority of our work is with clients located in the Pacific Northwest; however, we also serve a number of clients nationwide and internationally because of our bar admissions and cross border associations.


We approach our work with Design Professionals with a single focus – seeing the world from their vantage point – their goals, business philosophies, challenges and unique legal needs. We then layer in the most effective business and legal strategies to help them navigate towards those goals, minimize risk and create opportunities, offering cost-effective solutions each step along the way. 

Our clients often say that they appreciate the expertise, responsiveness and broad range of services that our firm provides.  Our firm’s service culture and each attorney’s individual innate approach are heavily invested in putting our clients first – and it shows!

Our legal services include the following:

Business Counsel

  • Mergers & Acquisitions. With our knowledge of the industry, we are able to further our clients’ interests (both buyers and sellers) to create win-win transactions that result in long term success.
  • General Counsel. We offer creative, value-based fee arrangements for risk management. We support all sizes of firms on their day-to-day legal needs.  We act as strategic business counsel. From contract drafting, negotiation and review, to corporate law and employment matters, and other general counseling activities, we develop a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and align our efforts to steer clients successfully to their goals.
  • Employment Matters. We assist firms in establishing good employment practices, addressing employee terminations, and litigating employment related lawsuits.
  • Corporate Structuring. We advise and draft the necessary legal documents to form corporations and subsidiaries (nationally and internationally), “split off” parts of companies, and address all types of strategic structuring to meet management’s plans.
  • Owner and Management Matters. We advise boards and management groups regarding corporate law and successfully address shareholder and owner disputes.  
  • Ownership Transition. In additions to M & A, we also address firm ownership transition through internal transfer programs, shareholder agreements, and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).
  • Collections. We have unique expertise in assisting in collections, including developing in-house procedures, and filing and pursuing mechanics liens and bond claims.
  • Intellectual Property. We counsel firms on proper protection measures for intellectual property including trade secret protection, trademark registration, and copyright registration.
  • Environmental Law. Based upon deep knowledge of environmental laws, we advise clients on federal, state and local clean-up laws, hazardous waste handling, and storage and disposal practices.
  • Professional Licensing. We maintain extensive experience addressing professional licensing matters for both firms and registered professionals.

Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Although we work hard to mitigate risk and strive to informally resolve disputes, we have a strong stable of litigation attorneys that are highly skilled and stand ready when litigation is necessary.  Our attorneys have been qualified by multiple professional liability insurance carriers.  Our expertise spans projects in tunneling; mass transit; water and sewage projects; environmental, employment, commercial, residential and mixed-use development; infrastructure, Indian tribes, university and industrial projects including:

  • Defense of Design Professionals in construction defect and worksite injury actions.
  • Defense in professional errors and omissions cases relating to large and small construction projects of all types (a majority of our litigation practice).
  • Litigating intellectual property disputes.  
  • Litigating employment matters and representing employers before labor agencies.
  • Litigating shareholder and board matters.
  • Litigating large collection matters and lien claims.
  • Mediation, arbitration and settlement negotiations.

Related Practices

A significant portion of our practice involves assisting in ancillary legal matters primarily associated with owner exit strategies and tangential business transactions including the following:

  • Estate Planning. We maintain full estate planning services to meet the needs of individuals and owners that are exiting companies and moving into retirement.
  • Tax. We have expertise in tax planning, both with businesses and individuals.
  • Real Estate. Often business transactions involve the transfer of real estate and we are fully staffed to meet all real estate legal needs.