Brown and Sterling staff members, pictured from left are: front - Tina Laguna, Tim Wagar, Larry Brown, Ruth Rogers, Dave Rinn and Jaime Cole; back - Lynn Busser, Sarah Evans, Trishia Porter, Chanda Nowbilski and Jessica Pereira. (Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo)

Brown and Sterling staff members, pictured from left are: front - Tina Laguna, Tim Wagar, Larry Brown, Ruth Rogers, Dave Rinn and Jaime Cole; back - Lynn Busser, Sarah Evans, Trishia Porter, Chanda Nowbilski and Jessica Pereira. (Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo)

Little law firm earns big honors: Brown & Sterling named one of Washington’s Best Workplaces

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 1:08pm
  • Business

One of Washington’s best workplaces, according to a list put out this summer by the Puget Sound Business Journal, is the small law firm of Brown and Sterling in Fall City. It’s an office with 11 staffers, total, including the founder Larry Brown, and it shares the honor with such big names as BECU, Evergreen Home Loans and the Zillow Group.

“I think we’re the only Valley business to receive the honor,” said Jaime Cole, an attorney with the firm for three years. “It’s something I’m pretty proud of, because it’s all based upon an independent survey of employees.”

After the firm was nominated, Cole explained, all of the employees were asked to take an anonymous survey about their work. The results of the survey, in addition to leading to the Washington’s Best Workplace honor, gave Cole, the project coordinator, a really strong sense of how the staff viewed the firm.

“One of the survey questions was ‘what word best describes your work environment?’” she said. “For us the word that was used most was ‘caring.’”

That means treating everyone, with all their different backgrounds, as individuals, Cole said.

“We’re always looking to improve not just the business, but how we interact with each other.”

It also means working with their strengths, as identified in a team-building exercise the staff did earlier this year.

“It was eye opening,” she recalled, particularly when a facilitator worked with the team to identify how each strength and personality could work with the others. “We’re always trying to do things that help us to work better as a team.”

Their location, in Fall City for the past 17 years, is somewhat remote, but also an asset for the company’s staff.

“A lot of us live out here — most of us — and one of the big pieces (of job satisfaction) is being able to live and work in the Valley,” she explained. “How do people enjoy coming to work every day?” is one of the survey questions.

The Journal also considered more objective measures of job satisfaction, too, including employee benefits

“We pay for health care premiums, and offer tuition reimbursement for employees… A lot of times smaller employers don’t provide those things,” she said.

As a small business doing business in the Valley, the company — which does have large Seattle-based firms as clients, too — is attuned to many of the same struggles as other businesses in the Valley. It’s one of the reasons Cole has enjoyed the community involvement portion of her work so much. She currently serves as vice chairperson of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce Board, and calls the chamber “a valuable resource” for local businesses.

“It’s nice to be able to play that role in the community,” she added.

Learn more about Brown and Sterling at: https://brownsterling.com.

For the full list of Washington’s Best Workplaces, visit https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/feature/washingtons-best-workplaces-awards-employee-survey.html.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

Mixologist and general manager of Civility & Unrest, Joe Dietrich (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
If you want a regular cocktail, go somewhere else

Master mixologist Joe Dietrich is elevating cocktail culture at Bellevue’s Civility & Unrest.

Front bar at Bellevue’s Civility & Unrest (courtesy of Civility & Unrest)
Two of James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson’s restaurants to reopen in October

The Lakehouse plans to reopen Oct. 12 and Civility & Unrest reopens Oct. 14.

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

Sno-Valley Chamber CEO Kelly Coughlin; Lucas Haines, Volition Brewing owner and current President of the North Bend Downtown Foundation; North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland; Rob and Laurie Wesorick; Celeste Coxen; Wendy and Chris Stone. For information on this new venue, contact Chris Stone at chris@pearlandstonewine.com.
Pearl and Stone Wine Company opens tasting room

Pearl and Stone Wine Company’s new tasting room held its grand opening… Continue reading

T
North Bend looks at new hotel development

The City of North Bend is considering the construction of a new… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson presents SnoValley Chamber president, Earl Bell, with a community service award from the city Aug. 9. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record
SnoValley Chamber president receives community service award

In March 2020, while many businesses were beginning to reel from the… Continue reading

Big Island Poke in Renton (courtesy of The Intentionalist Facebook page)
Small-business advocacy group wants you to try minority-owned businesses and put it on their tab

The Intentionalist is opening up $400 tabs for folks to use this weekend at select businesses.

Wells Fargo opened a new bank branch July 29 at 250 Bendigo Blvd. S. in North Bend. Pictured left to right: SnoValley Chamber Executive Director Kelly Coughlin; Wells Fargo employees David Vu, Zuleyka Corro, Chris Hansen (back row), Roselyn Osuagwu and Jacob McBride; North Bend Councilmember Mary Miller and North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record
Wells Fargo opens new branch in North Bend

Wells Fargo opened a new bank branch July 29 at 250 Bendigo… Continue reading

T
Here’s how Buckshot Honey got its name

Snoqualmie business celebrates first anniversary after opening during pandemic.

Eastside King County restaurant owners discuss challenges with U.S. Rep Suzan DelBene at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond. (Photo credit: Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
Restaurant owners discuss labor difficulties with U.S Rep. Suzan DelBene

Experienced service and kitchen staff are reportedly hard to hire as food service reopens.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Katie Podschwit, Dorie Ross, Kristen Schumacher, Heather Dean and Julie Chung, owners of Chickadee Bakeshop, Heirloom Cookshop and Snoqualmie Ice Cream are opening a new location in Snoqualmie this summer.
Three Valley businesses team up for Snoqualmie venture

Snoqualmie Ice Cream, Chickadee Bakeshop and Heirloom Cookshop will soon be opening in Snoqualmie.