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Attorney Heather Burgess


Heather BurgessHeather’s practice focuses on representing real estate developers in all phases of real estate acquisition, development, and permitting. Heather has worked on projects across the state, including a variety of significant residential, commercial, and industrial projects in Southwest Washington. Heather uses her experience and well-established working relationships with local government officials to help clients evaluate properties and develop successful projects in Washington’s complex land use regulatory environment, litigating to defend and obtain permits when necessary. Heather regularly works with a range of land use and environmental laws, including the State Environmental Policy Act, the Growth Management Act, the Shoreline Management Act, and the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Being a good lawyer is not enough to develop and maintain a successful law practice. It is critical to remain active and engaged in the business world, in the community, and with peers in practice.” – HEATHER BURGESS

Outside of land use, Heather practices municipal law, with a focus on Port Districts, and currently serves as contract General Counsel to the Port of Tacoma. She is also an experienced civil real estate litigator. Heather is a frequent speaker on Washington land use regulation at continuing legal education programs and industry seminars.

Heather founded Phillips Burgess PLLC in Olympia 2011 with long-time Olympia attorney Richard “Mick” Phillips. Prior to forming her own firm, Heather was a partner at Eisenhower Carlson PLLC in Tacoma and an associate at Perkins Coie LLP’s Seattle and Olympia offices. Before entering private practice, Heather served for 13 years on active duty with the United States Army, six as a Judge Advocate. Heather continued to serve as a Judge Advocate in the Washington Army National Guard until her retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2016.


  • Land Use
  • Environmental
  • Real Estate
  • Litigation
  • Municipal


  • Judge Advocate General’s School, L.L.M, 2001, Commandant’s List 2001
  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif 1998
  • Harvard University, B.A. cum laude 1991


  • Washington State
  • Oregon State
  • S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington
  • 9thCircuit Court of Appeals
  • Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • United States Supreme Court


  • Editor-in-Chief, Washington Real Property Deskbook, (Supplement 2016) Vols. 5 and 6
  • Author & Editor, Washington Real Property Deskbook, (4th 2012), Vols. 5 and 6


  • Thurston County Bar Association | Chair, Real Estate and Land Use Section
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association


  • Association of Washington Business | Former Member, Board of Directors | Past Chair, Land Use Committee
  • Thurston Economic Development Council| Board of Directors | Immediate Past President
  • Building Industry Association of Washington | Legal Committee
  • Thurston County Chamber of Commerce |Business and Economic Development Committee
  • Olympia Master Builders Association| Government Affairs Committee
  • MBA Pierce County | Legislative Strategies Committee
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County – Board of Directors 2014-2019
  • YWCA of Pierce County | Board of Directors 2009 – 2015
  • Rotary Club of Lakewood


Best Law Firms Award
Heather Burgess Best Lawyer Award


Phone: 206-621-1110 (Seattle), 253-572-1000 (Tacoma), 360-742-3500 (Olympia), 971-416-0881 (Portland)