Our Team - Larry E. Altenbrun

Larry E. Altenbrun

Member

Practice Areas

  • Commercial and Complex Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Intellectual Property
  • Maritime and Transportation

Personal Narrative

“I strive to be at my best when the stakes are highest.”

I believe that, although somewhat counterintuitive, in an era where very few cases go to trial, it is more important than ever to hire counsel that is experienced and competent in a courtroom. Most of my clients would prefer that their case settles before trial. I agree with that desire – trials are expensive and often risky. While that is true, it doesn’t diminish the importance of hiring counsel that is willing, able and ready to take the case to trial. As a client, you need to know that, if your case is the one that doesn’t settle, you will be in excellent hands. You don’t want to have questions about whether your attorney has trepidations about going to trial, nor do you want your attorney’s lack of experience or desire to avoid trial playing any role in his or her legal recommendations. With me, you can feel confident that opposing counsel will not be inclined to take a harder line in negotiations because she knows that I have any misgivings about taking the case to trial.

I have the skills, competence, and experience to succeed should your case go to trial. My advice to you will never be colored by my own desire to avoid putting in the hard work required for trial. I continually sharpen my trial skills and I have, over the course of my 17-year career, developed the proficiencies to take any case to trial and give my client the best chance of winning.

I am practical.”

My clients rarely want or need a treatise examining every issue that could possibly play a role in a dispute. Rather, they want an accurate and concise analysis of their case, developed efficiently, and delivered in a manner that is easy to understand without being burdened by legalese. I am straightforward and down-to-earth. I want my clients to feel comfortable and at ease during the process and I endeavor to provide feedback and guidance in real-world terms, that are easy to follow, and that are driven by my client’s goals.

I am communicative and responsive.”

I provide my clients with my personal cell phone number and I am available 24/7/365. I return email and telephone messages promptly. I keep my clients fully apprised of developments in their case on an ongoing and consistent basis.

Separation is in the preparation.”

This phrase, coined by quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, also holds true in litigation. I believe strongly that preparation, attention to detail and hard work are the cornerstones to success in litigation. Too often I have witnessed attorneys with vast amounts of experience struggle in a particular situation due to lack of preparation. As your attorney, I will spend the required time to understand the various nuances of your case. I cannot say that I will never be surprised in litigation, but I’ll reduce the likelihood of being surprised by credible argument through proper preparation and attention to detail.

Strong Body, Strong Mind.”

Litigation is stressful and often exhausting. I am by no means a world-class athlete, but I maintain a “strong body, strong mind” approach to my career. My experience as a collegiate wrestler and through marathon training in more recent years has led me to conclude that sound physical conditioning leads to better results in all aspects of my life. I believe that working out regularly and staying active helps to equip me with the mental strength and endurance required to go the extra mile that I believe also rings true in my professional life.

Courtesy, Kindness, Professionalism.”

I treat everyone with courtesy, respect and kindness. I strive to give each and every one of my clients the consideration they deserve and to do it in a manner that is comforting and reassuring. Though I will not shy away from aggressively cross-examining a witness, I still treat him with courtesy and respect.

Value Added Legal Services.”

I add value to the services that I provide to my clients by staying current with the law, being efficient in the matters that I handle, and by regularly offering in-house seminars to my clients on issues that are timely and important to them.

Education & Experience

Larry has been an equity member of Nicoll Black & Feig for 10 years and has practiced law for 17 years. His practice areas have evolved and expanded over the years and currently include matters, on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, involving commercial litigation, intellectual property, complex litigation, insurance defense, and maritime law.

Larry obtained his J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane Law School, where he was an editor of the Tulane Law Review and member of the Order of the Coif. Larry received his Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in Marine Engineering Systems from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Larry graduated in the top 5% of his class in both undergraduate and graduate school.

Larry is one of a few attorneys in the United States who is recognized as both a proctor in maritime law and a patent attorney admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which are the only fields of specialization explicitly recognized by the American Bar Association.

Larry served for over eight years in the United States Naval Reserve following graduation from the Merchant Marine Academy. He also held a license as Marine Engineer issued by the U.S. Coast Guard for over ten years. Larry worked aboard ships as a fish processor, deckhand, engineering cadet, and engineer for several years.

Larry has authored several law review articles and has lectured internationally on various topics. Larry is admitted to practice in Washington and Oregon state and federal courts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Larry served on the board of directors of the Marine Insurance Association of Seattle for over eight years, including serving as President of the Association in 2011.

Education

Tulane University Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, B.S., Marine Engineering Systems, cum laude

Professional Experience

Associate, Cozen O’Connor, 2001-2004
Senior Associate, Nicoll Black Misenti & Feig, 2004-2008
Member, Nicoll Black & Feig, 2008-Present

Associations

Marine Insurance Association of Seattle (President-2011, Board of Directors-2008 to 2015)
Seattle Propeller Club
Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor)
Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Association
Tulane Law Review, 2000-2001
Order of the Coif

Bar Memberships

Washington State & Federal
Oregon State & Federal
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Representative Matters

  • Successful defense, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, of Pond5, Inc., one of the world’s largest online providers of licenses to digital content such as video, images, music, and sound effects in a claim for copyright infringement. Hempton v. Pond5, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147830, 120 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1581, 2016 WL 6217113 (W.D. Wash. 2016). The Pond5 decision is one of the leading decisions on the application of the DMCA in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Represented plaintiff in substantial commercial litigation involving negligent installation of refrigeration system, resulting in judgment for plaintiff following trial. Prowler, LLC v. York International Corp., 2007 WL 2363046 (W.D. Wash., Aug. 14, 2007).
  • Represented Lloyd’s of London in Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, London v. Inlet Fisheries Inc., 518 F.3d 645 (9th Cir. 2008), where the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Lloyd’s and, for the first time and despite a conflicting holding from the Fifth Circuit, concluded that the doctrine of uberrimae fidei is an established rule of marine insurance.
  • Recent first-chair trial and appellate experience, including jury trials, mandatory arbitrations, non-jury trials, and appellate hearings between 2015 and 2017.
  • Numerous cases successfully enforcing forum and venue selection clauses before trial and appellate courts.
  • Significant experience pursuing and defending claims involving opposing counsel from the largest law firms in Seattle, such as Perkins Coie, Davis Wright Tremaine, and Lane Powell, and the largest companies in Washington, such as Amazon and Microsoft.
  • Personal injury defense cases involving numerous circumstances, ranging from premises liability to intentional torts to maritime.
  • Litigated to successful conclusion several intellectual property disputes involving variety of claims such as Trademark violations, Copyright infringement, and unfair competition claims.
  • Successful defense of pleasure craft owners in multiple lawsuits 
  • Investigation and litigation involving various matters of technical complexity, such as catastrophic engine failures, fires, oil spills, floodings, and refrigeration release.