Heather A. Patchen, Esq.
What’s your favorite color?
Badger Red, of course!
Any favorite books?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Le Petit Prince (in French) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – read both at least three times.
What are you most passionate about?
I absolutely love to travel. I love meeting people from different countries, experiencing their cultures, and immersing myself in a whole other world. I was lucky enough to spend two months in Israel, studying at Tel Aviv University for a month and then in Jerusalem. After college, I moved to Paris, France knowing only how to say: “hello/goodbye, how are you, where are the toilets, you have a big butt, and will you sleep with me tonight” and came back a year later speaking French fluently. Just before starting my law practice, I spent a month in Sydney, Australia. I have also traveled to England, Spain, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?
Countless times I’ve heard my dad tell the story about how he and his best friend Pete backpacked through Europe and ran with the bulls in the festival of San Fermin. It was the summer of my sophomore year at UW when I received a call from my dad just before I left on my trip to Spain. It was during this conversation when I heard the dumbest thing ever come out of my dad’s mouth. He said, “I can’t tell you not to run because I did, but you’re a girl…” From that point on all I heard were the voices of the Peanuts parents…waa waa waa waa. Almost 30 years to the day when my dad ran through the streets of Pamplona, I ran along the same path and got within 3 feet of a charging bull. When I called to tell him, he said “oh you SAW the running of the bulls.” I said “No dad, I RAN! (insert cricket noises) Dad…hello…you there?”
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What brought you to the practice of law?
I had been working as the marketing director for a law firm and had built myself a decent career, but I was beginning to feel stagnant. I found myself immersed in the cases that my colleagues were handling. One day I finally woke up and said, “hell, I can do this” and just like that I signed up to take the LSAT. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I absolutely loved law school far more than I ever imagined, even though I did it under the most difficult of circumstances. I love practicing law even more. I think what I love most about the practice of law is the continuous learning and the “legal gymnastics” that takes place when you are strategizing through a case. Every case is different with its own set of facts and I find that enormously fascinating!
How did you get into eminent domain and real estate?
I grew up with family dinner discussions revolving around Dad’s work in eminent domain, but I never had any expectations that I would be following in his footsteps. I must admit that I actually enjoyed property my first semester of law school and did really well in that class. But I found myself drawn to eminent domain, in particular, because it is just good law—embedded in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—it basically keeps the government in check and says “hey government if you want to take my land from me, what I’ve worked for my whole life through blood, sweat, and tears to get, then ante up”…I come in to make sure the government doesn’t short change you on what you deserve for the value of that property. That’s great stuff!
What makes you and your law practice different?
Being a lawyer is not who I am, it is what I do, but the person I have become through life’s lessons and experiences is what makes me a different, better lawyer and will serve to distinguish my law practice.
A positive “winning” attitude – Ever since I can remember my dad has always told me “you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it!” That simple phrase has been my life’s mantra and has brought me to where I am today! And through that mantra, I have learned that you cannot expect anyone to believe in you if you do not first believe in yourself.
A competitive spirit – I have played a number of competitive sports throughout
my life and have often been told, I’m too small, not fast enough and simply
underestimated as a player. Where others might have quit, I worked harder
to prove them wrong. Today, I am my own biggest competitor, I push myself
in all aspects of my life to achieve my goals and then continue to pursue
new ones…constantly reaching for the stars.
A natural born communicator – My friends will tell you that I often say what
everyone else is thinking. I do not really have an inside voice. I typically
get kicked out of libraries, which is why I learned how to study in bars—
yes, the place where you go for alcoholic beverages! I can be pretty bold
in my communication style, but the flip side is you always know where I
stand and you can feel the honesty, integrity, and passion in my voice.
So how do these qualities make my law practice different?
They are as every bit a part of who I am and how I practice law. It
means I will go to great lengths to represent my clients and advocate
on their behalf. In the same token, I do not believe just because I can
write Esq at the end of my name that it makes me better than anyone.
My clients, my colleagues, and my opponents
are each treated with the same level of respect and professionalism.
I play by the rules regardless of what is thrown in my direction and
take the high road. If there is any one thing I have learned over the
years in playing sports…you NEVER play down to your opponent,
you make them play up at your level.
About >> Heather A. Patchen, Esq.