Vade Donaldson

Legal Officer

Equipped with an intimate knowledge of the challenges that often litter the road between farm and table, Vade helps farmers and food entrepreneurs do what they love and do best—create, innovate, produce, and farm—by navigating the complex laws and regulations in Agricultural and Food Law.

An enduring interest in the public interest.

One core belief guided Vade’s law studies from the very beginning and led him on the path to becoming a public interest attorney: Everyone–regardless of income or might–should have access to excellent legal services.

While still in law school, Vade had the opportunity to put this belief to the test. His experiences working as a judicial extern for the Honorable Claudia Wilkens in Federal District Court as well as for California Indian Legal Services, further demonstrated the need for lawyers dedicated to the well-being of their communities.

Getting back to his roots.

After graduation, Vade practiced as in-house counsel for a local tribe, assisting with issues ranging from tribal constitutions to writing tribal code. He quickly moved on to become 

a public defender, practicing in both Snohomish and King counties. His public defender practice provided Vade with invaluable courtroom experience, but he was restless.

With the birth of his first child, Vade found himself thinking more and more about what his daughter was eating and how that food had arrived at their table. This cemented his resolve to return to his families roots in farming. He went back to law school—this time, however, to earn his masters in Agricultural and Food Law.

Joining the local food fight.

What began as a personal interest in his daughter’s health and nourishment coupled with a larger concern for the welfare of his neighborhood and region grew into his law practice. Today, a deep desire to help both the people who grow our quality food and fibers and those who deliver them to market and table, remains at the very heart of Vade’s law practice.

Vade Donaldson
206-408-8111 (o)
(206) 552-0222 (m)

Since returning to Seattle, Vade has had the opportunity to work with local farmers, various state and federal agencies, and an array of local food businesses. He draws on an in-depth knowledge of the many obstacles small farmers and food businesses face, daily to help his clients grow their businesses, and most importantly, to get their products to the people who want and need it.

Connect with Vade.

More About Vade

Awards & Recognition

  • CALI Award (Professional Responsibility), Golden Gate University School of Law
  • Public Interest Law Foundation, Golden Gate University School of Law


  • LL.M., Agricultural and Food Law, University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville (2012)
  • J.D., Golden Gate University (1998 – 2001)
  • B.A., Seattle University (1996)

Professional Experience

  • Food Access Programs Manager, Washington State Farmers Market Association (2014 – 2016)
  • Attorney/Founder, Northwest Farm and Food Law (2012 – 2013)
  • Public Defender, Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons (2004 – 2011)
  • Tribe Attorney/In House Counsel , Suquamish Tribe (2003 – 2004)
  • Public Defender, Snohomish County Public Defender Association (2002 – 2003)
  • Judicial Extern, Northern District of California, Honorable Claudia Wilken (2001)
  • Law Clerk, California Indian Legal Services (1999, 2000)


  • Adjunct Professor, University of Arkansas School of Law (2011 – 2012)
  • Public Interest Law Foundation, Former President
  • Environmental Law Society, Member
  • National Lawyer’s Guild, Member