Joanne T. Blackburn, Partner
  • A native of Washington, Joanne takes a Northwest approach to practicing law.  Joanne welcomes the opportunity to help her clients develop outside-the-box solutions that are designed to avoid protracted litigation.  However, if the dispute needs to be settled in court, she is no stranger to the courtroom and welcomes the challenge.  She became a partner with Garvey, Schubert & Barer in Seattle in 1999 and later moved to Gordon Thomas Honeywell as a partner in 2008.

    Her primary areas of practice include defense litigation, products liability, construction, insurance defense and coverage, broker and agency defense, and appellate advocacy. She is a past president of the Washington Defense Lawyers, where she also served on the board of directors for eight years.  She is also a past Board Member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI).

    Joanne received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkley and her JD from the University of Notre Dame.  She has been a long-time, active supporter and board member of FareStart, a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals.  She enjoys climbing, cooking, and fishing for crab with her family.

  • Education

    • J.D., University of Notre Dame, 1987
    • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1984

    Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

    • Washington State Courts
    • California State Courts
    • Alaska State Courts
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
    • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
    • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

    Professional & Bar Association Memberships

    • Washington State Bar Association

    • King County Bar Association

    • Alaska Bar Association

    • Defense Research Institute

      • State Representative for Washington, 2004-08
      • Board Member of DRI, 2008-11
      • Vice-Chair, Membership Committee 2010-11
    • Washington Defense Trial Lawyers

      • Member, Board of Directors 2000-08
      • President, 2003
    • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel

      • Member, 1999-present
      • Chair, Construction Committee, 2007-10
      • Member, Membership Development and Retention Committee, 2014-present;
      • Member, Admissions Committee, 2016-2019
      • Diversity Committee, 2017-2020;
      • FDCC Deposition Bootcamp, 2015-present.
      • Barb Currie Diversity Law Scholarship Committee, 2017
    • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys; 2018 to present

    • Washington Women Lawyers

    • Trial Attorneys of America

    • Legal Network Alliance 

    • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association

    • Board Member of Washington Foundation for the courts 2018-present

    Professional History

    • Joined Firm as Partner in 2008
    • Jackson & Wallace LLP, Senior Partner, 2006-08
    • Garvey, Schubert & Barer, Partner, 1999-2005

    Honors & Awards

    • AV Preeminent Women's Lawyers, Martindale Hubbell, 2014
    • AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale Hubbell
    • Listed in Washington Super Lawyers, 2004-2019
    • Listed in Best Lawyers in America
    • AVVO Top Contracts/Agreements Lawyer, Washington CEO Magazine, 2002
    • 2017 Best Lawyers, Women of Influence in Insurance Law in Washington State
    • 2018 Woman Leader in The Law by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell

    Community Activities

    • FareStart, Board of Directors, 2001-2010

    • Member of the National Charity League, 2007-present

    • Washington Initiative for Diversity Board Member, 2017-2019.

    • Foundation for Washington Courts, Board Member 2017-present

    • KCWWL annual speed mentoring event, 2018.

    Articles & Presentations

    • 2019 DRI Trial Skill Series: Trial Preparation – “Nailing Down the Legal Parameters to Prepare for Trial.”
    • 2019 FDCC Mid Winter meeting: “The Spearin Doctrine and its current status.”
    • 2018 Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Insurance Law Seminar, “Tendering for Additional Insured Coverage Without Suing the Named Insured.”
    • 2018 FDCC Annual meeting: Burlington Ins. Co. v. N.Y.C. Tr. Auth, and beyond for Additional Insured coverage.
    • FDCC Deposition Boot-camp Contributor to FDCC Deposition Manual, First Edition 2014, and later editions 2015 to 2017.
    • FDCC Deposition Bootcamp Presenter and Author, 2015-2017.
    • 2015 Claims Litigation Management Alliance Northwest Panel for Multi-State Coverage.
    • 2014 West Coast Casualty Construction Defect Seminar, “Duty to Defend in Construction Defect Claims in the Northwest.”
    • 2013 Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL) Annual Construction Law Update: “Defenses/Summary Judgment Motions Regarding HOA Claims for CPA Violations, Fraud, and Misrepresentation Claims Under Washington Condominium Act.”
    • 2011 Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL) Annual Construction Law Seminar, “Declaratory Judgment Actions.”
    • 2011 Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) Winter Meeting: “Green Construction & Leed – A Primer for Counsel.”
    • 2010 Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) Winter Meeting: “A Road Map – Stipulated Judgments and Covenants Not to Execute for Insurance Coverage, Construction, Insurance Industry and Reinsurance, Excess and Surplus Lines Sections.”
    • 2010 Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL) Annual Construction Law Seminar, “Keepin’ it Covered: Practice Pointers for Defending “Mixed” and Complex Civil Claims from the Coverage Perspective.”
    • 2010 Insurance Bad Faith, DRI Publications, Contributing Editor for Washington State.
  • Recent Jury Trials

    • In 2019, defended Associated Materials in a product liability and construction defect claim in a five week trial in San Francisco.  Plaintiffs alleged that the products themselves were defective as was the installation of them.  The Court awarded damages substantially lower than what plaintiffs sought. 

    • Defended Pressure Point Control Tactics Management Systems (“PPCT”) in a three-week jury trial in Alaska superior court on a product liability claim.  PPCT developed and designed a program that teaches use-of-force techniques to all divisions of the military, Homeland Security, police forces, prisons and other security companies.  The plaintiff alleged that she had sustained injuries while participating in a PPCT program and requested damages of almost $670,000.  The jury awarded a unanimous defense verdict after only one hour of deliberations and held that the PPCT program was not defective.

    • Defended Smith Insurance Agency and its broker in a case claiming insurance broker negligence.  The plaintiff alleged that he requested insurance coverage for his company from our clients but that they failed to purchase it.  After tendering a claim he thought was covered, our clients informed the plaintiff that he had no such coverage.  A claim was filed against our clients for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and special relationship, negligence and misrepresentation and sought $100,000 in damages.  After a week-long jury trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in 30 minutes.

    • Defense verdict was received in a wrongful death claim involving a trucking accident despite the plaintiff being run over by the driver. The jury found fault in the plaintiff, not the driver.

  • Reflection pond by the Tacoma Glass Museum
  • Duwamish Waterway and brown field cleanup
  • Fireboats on the Seattle Waterfront
  • Tacoma Arches at the History Museum
  • Pioneer Square
Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP


1201 Pacific Ave, #2100
Tacoma, WA 98402

Telephone: 253.620.6500
Fax: 253.620.6565


One Union Square
600 University St, #2100
Seattle, WA 98101

Telephone: 206.676.7500
Fax: 206.676.7575

Visit the Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs Web Site


1201 Pacific Ave, #2100, Tacoma, WA 98402
Telephone: 253.620.6500  Fax: 253.620.6565


One Union Square, 600 University St, #2100, Seattle, WA 98101
Telephone: 206.676.7500  Fax: 206.676.7575