Hon. Thomas McPhee (Ret.)

T: 206-622-5267
F: 206-292-9082
Available nationwide

Hon. Thomas McPhee (Ret.) brings to JAMS more than 40 years of legal experience, including 22 years on the Thurston County Superior Court. He has tried nearly every type of case imaginable, earning a reputation for being one of the hardest working jurists in the region. Judge McPhee conducted more than 300 settlement conferences and required dispute resolution in all civil cases assigned to him. At JAMS he serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and special master with experience administering disputes regarding electronically stored information.

Judge McPhee has extensive experience with employment matters, including harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, and discrimination cases.  As a lawyer, he tried employment discrimination cases in state and federal court, and before the EEOC. As judge, he ruled on numerous disputes between unions and employers, primarily state agencies, and reviewed decisions of PERC.  He has conducted trials and decided dispositive motions in numerous employment discrimination cases and is experienced in application of the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting protocol.

Representative Matters

  • Mediated claim by teacher against school district for sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation.
  • Mediated claim by retail sales employee against national retailer for age discrimination and failure to accommodate.
  • Mediated claim by engineer employee against large employer for hostile work environment, retaliation, and stress induced permanent disability.
  • Mediated claim by medical lab tech against national laboratory chain for race discrimination.
  • Mediated claim by hearing impaired employee for failure to accommodate and discrimination based on disability.
  • Arbitrated wage claim (bonuses exceeding $1 million) brought by general manager of auto dealership.
  • As judge, decided employment discrimination and wrongful discharge case typical of many employment cases decided by Judge McPhee. Case, involving four separate claims of discrimination, progressed through substantial motion practice and was dismissed on summary judgment (affirmed on appeal, 164 Wash. App. 1063).

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Presenter, Mediation Ethics, Washington Defense Trial Lawyers CLE, 2014
  • Named Judge of the Year, Washington State Association for Justice, 2013
  • Member, The Sedona Conference, Working Group 1: Electronic Document Retention and Production
  • Former Trustee, Superior Court Judges’ Association
  • Former Chair, Board for Judicial Administration Litigation Time Standards Task Force
  • Former Chair, SCJA Guardianship Tools for Court Workgroup
  • Former Member, Family and Juvenile Court Improvement Program Steering Committee
  • Former Member, Justice in Jeopardy Implementation Committee
  • Former Member, SCJA Judicial Education Committee
  • Former Member, SCJA Guardianship and Probate Committee
  • Past President, Thurston County Bar Association
  • Past President, Thurston Youth Services
  • Former Member, WSBA Education Committee
  • Presenter, Electronically Stored Information and Discovery, AGO CLE, 2012
  • Presenter, Judicial Review of APA Cases, AGO CLE, 2010
  • Presenter, Dependency, FCIGP, 2009
  • Presenter, Guardianship Case Management, SCJA CJE and Court Administrators Conference, 2009
  • Presenter, Lincoln on Professionalism, WSBA CLE, 2009
  • Presenter, Unified Family Court Practice, Family Court Improvement Grant Program, 2007
  • Presenter, Civility & Professionalism in the Courtroom, WSBA Young Lawyers CLE, 2005
  • Presenter, Motion Practice, TCBA CLE, 2005
  • Presenter, Public Disclosure Act, AGO CLE, 2003
  • Presenter, Trial Briefs, WSBA Young Lawyers CLE, 2002
  • Presenter, Pre-trial Preparation, WSBA Young Lawyers CLE, 2001

Background and Education

  • Judge, Superior Court, Thurston County, WA, 1990-2012
    • Presiding Judge, Thurston County, two terms
  • Trial lawyer, Olympia private practice, 1973-1990
  • Trial lawyer, Washington Attorney General’s Office, 1969-1973
  • J.D., University of Oregon, 1969
  • B.A., Political Science, Washington State University, 1966


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More