Professional Experience

Mike’s practice emphasizes real estate transactions and brokerage matters, land use/zoning, alternative dispute resolution and litigation. A significant part of his practice involves waterfront properties and aquatic lands. He is a certified mediator and arbitrator and has served as a court-appointed referee and expert witness on a wide array of real estate matters. Prior to joining Helsell Fetterman, Mike formed and practiced in his own firm for 20 years and represented the Seattle-King County and Washington Association of Realtors® in front of local, state and federal legislative bodies. In that capacity, he has had a hand in the drafting of many major pieces of local and state real estate legislation. Mike currently serves as retained legal counsel for the Seattle-King County Realtors® and represents and advises many independent real estate brokerage firms on a wide range of real estate and business-related matters.

Mike studied planning and economics at the University of Wisconsin and worked in the Land Use Planning and Title Insurance industries before becoming licensed to practice law. Because of this combination of experience, Mike was invited to Shanghai, China to consult with Chinese housing officials on real estate matters, and he subsequently took a one-year leave of absence from his former firm to serve as Lead Attorney for a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Bank-sponsored land reform project in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova.

Mike is passionate about real estate education, and has been a licensed as a real estate law instructor for 31 years. In that time, he has taught hundreds of real estate law classes to thousands of residential and commercial real estate brokers throughout Washington. He is a frequent speaker on real estate topics in print and electronic media throughout the region. He was a member of the Bainbridge Island School Board from 2009-2021, and was been directly involved in the planning and construction of three new school buildings at a cost of $136,000,000. Mike owns 1.5 shares of the Green Bay Packers.

Mike was recently named in the 2020 Edition of Best Lawyers in America, the preeminent referral guide to the legal profession in the United States.

Mike is available for the following:

  • Residential and Commercial Sales and Leasing Transactions
  • Private and Broker-Assisted transactions
  • Real estate brokerage matters
  • Title analysis and dispute resolution
  • Easements, covenants, boundary issues and other property-related documentation
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Private and Institutional Financing
  • Land Use Entitlements
  • Land Use Petitions
  • Waterfront Property Issues
  • Code Enforcement matters
  • Court-Appointed Referee Services
  • Real Estate Arbitration & Mediation
  • Business Entity Formation, Operation and Dissolution
  • Real Estate Expert Witness Services

Admitted to Bar

  • Washington State


  • Washington State Bar Association
  • King County Bar Association
  • Affiliate, Seattle-King County Realtors®
  • Affiliate Washington Realtors®
  • Bainbridge Island School Board, 2009-2021
  • Washington State School Directors’ Association
  • Bainbridge Youth Services
  • Bainbridge Schools Foundation


Content by Michael Spence