Insight

Holly K. Towle, Seattle Information Technology Law "Lawyer of the Year" 2016

Working to achieve excellence in serving clients and the community

K&L Gates
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

December 3, 2016 12:00 AM

Holly Towle didn’t always know that she wanted to be a lawyer. Just out of college, Towle taught junior high school, but she sensed that she needed something that would reward her formidable intelligence and chose a career in law. Towle had a variety of interests—she is a glass artist who has had success selling her works and has a down-to-earth sense of humor, saying of Seattle traffic: “If we’re going to live in a technological age, it would be nice to fast forward to a Jetson’s flying car solution!” Nevertheless, Towle’s father was a lawyer and her mother remains a “fearless defender of unpopular viewpoints,” so being drawn to the law was inevitable.

“As for my expertise in e-commercial and information law, I would like to say it was a brilliant business plan, but like most things in life, it was the confluence of having acquired a diverse background of knowledge and being in the right place at the right time,” says Towle. “My path started in banking, commercial, and consumer law, and that led to involvement in a national project revising traditional contract law for sales of goods to work for information licensing. I emerged over a decade later with my original background intact and supplemented by a deep knowledge of technology, licensing, and information-age issues.”
Now, Towle works primarily in the firm’s international technology transactions practice group and is a partner out of K&L Gates’ Seattle office. Towle sees hers as “a global office,” prominent both for the globally-reaching tech companies, universities, and businesses that the firm works with and for the expertise that she and her firm bring to the table. “I’m not a programmer, developer, or tech science person,” says a humble Towle, but her forte is finding how the law relates to technology and commerce.
Though not a techie, Towle keeps up with new technology in her work and very clearly emphasizes that the outcomes of legal battles over new technology often depend on how that technology works. Towle points to “big data,” privacy, and security as new issues that increasingly come up in her practice, underlining how her ability to adapt to new challenges has been an important factor in her success.

“My success may be a culmination of what I try to do: work to achieve excellence in serving clients and the community. Helping clients, policy makers, and other lawyers adapt to the constant changes in technology and law is what remains most challenging and rewarding for me,” says Towle. “Innovation tends to focus on unlimited boundaries, while an increasingly strong regulatory regime imposes limits, and this intersection can either block traffic or facilitate new opportunities.”

For her part in this, beyond her practice, Towle is co-author of the major treatise, The Law of Electronic Commercial Transactions, and chairs the “Law of Commerce in Cyberspace” subcommittee for the Business Section of the Washington Bar. As chair, Towle has led committee members in commenting on and communicating concerns about cyberspace legislation to state policymakers. “We’ve taken some very unpopular stands,” she says, “but I think our committee has helped commercial and consumer law in Washington.”

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition


by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

Things to Do Before a Car Accident Happens to You


by Ellie Shaffer

In a car accident, certain things are beyond the point of no return, while some are well within an individual's control. Here's how to stay legally prepared.

Car dashcam recording street ahead

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias


by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

Attacked From All Sides: What Is Happening in the World of Restrictive Covenants?


by Christine Bestor Townsend

One employment lawyer explains how companies can navigate challenges of federal and state governmental scrutiny on restrictive covenant agreements.

Illustration of two men pulling on string with blue door between them

The Push and Pitfalls of New York’s Attempt to Expand Wrongful Death Recovery


by Elizabeth M. Midgley and V. Christopher Potenza

The New York State Legislature recently went about updating certain wrongful death provisions and how they can be carried out in the future. Here's the latest.

Red tape blocking off a section of street

Georgia Proposes Law Requiring Parental Consent for Minors on Social Media


by Gregory Sirico

With data collection on the rise, Georgia lawmakers are currently petitioning for Senate Bill 351, which would require a user's age before social media use.

Teenager with hood on using phone as notifications pop up

Colorado Attorney General Calls For Cannabis Reclassification


by Gregory Sirico

In this article, Best Lawyers highlights a recent call to action by the Colorado state attorney general, requesting a full drug reclassification of cannabis.

Cannabis buds sitting on a checkerboard tabletop

6 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim


by Adam Malone

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn how they can help with your claim.

Doctor in white lab coat showing x-ray to patient in blue scrubs

An Employer’s Guidebook to Responding to Online Harassment


by Belle Harris and Brent Siler

Navigating online defamation against your business requires strategic responses. Two employment lawyers guide how to leverage contracts, understand social media limitations and the risks of legal action.

Image of person pushing giant phone with mouth and words coming out