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Image of Onik'a Gilliam-Cathcart smiling

A lawyer with over 20 years of practice, mother, partner, and passionate human.



My practice concentrates on conducting independent investigations concerning claims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and code of conduct violations. I also represent and counsel organizations on employment law matters, as well as train and present to employers on civil rights compliance and employment best practices. I am proud to have been selected for the last four years as a Super Lawyer in Labor and Employment and, recently as a 2023 Best Lawyer in Employment.  I have held a certificate from the Association of Workplace Investigators since December 2019. I am a member of the Washington and California (Inactive) State Bars. 


As the daughter of professors of Anthropology and Philosophy who traveled throughout my youth, I consider myself a student of the world and embrace interacting with people of diverse backgrounds. I speak conversational Spanish and Portuguese.


My family is my raison d'etre and I value the time I spend with them when not engaged in the work I love. 


  • Selected by peers as a 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 Super Lawyer for Labor and Employment. This is an honor bestowed on only the top 5% of lawyers in any state.

  • Recognized by peers through a competitive peer evaluation process as a 2023 Best Lawyer in Employment - Management.

  • Association of Workplace Investigators Certificate Holder since December 2019

  • (former) Vice-Chair for Washington Initiative for Diversity


  • Moderator, School Law Panel, MAMAs (October 2023)

  • Investigation - Nuts and Bolts, panel at WSBA Labor and Employment CLE (Nov 2022)

  • Risk & Compliance: Everyday Bias and Liability, NetAssets Magazine (NBOA publication, July 2020)

  • Microaggressions is Liability by a Thousand Cuts, joint presentation at the National Business Officers Association Annual Conference (February 2020)

  • Student Protest: Working with Youth Change Agents to Foster Activism While Balancing and Managing Risk, joint presentation at the People of Color Conference, National Association of Independent Schools (December 2019

  • Moderator, Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring, Recruitment and Retention of Legal Professionals (May 2019 Washington Initiative for Diversity)

  • Internal v. Independent Investigations (Spring 2019 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)

  • Lessons Learned from Student Activism in School Year 2017-18 (October 2018 NAIS/TABS Legal Symposium)

  • Paid Family Medical Leave (Fall 2018 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)

  • #MeToo: Receiving, Responding To, and Recovering After, Sexual Harassment Complaints (Spring 2018 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)

  • State and Local Safety Laws and Workplace Violence (Fall 2017 Helsell Fetterman Employment Breakfast)

  • Panelist, Women, Race, and Age: Mitigating Bias and Misogyny in the Legal Profession (September 2016 Washington State Bar Association)

  • Office for Civil Rights Complaints and Title IX Compliance, October 2015, a joint presentation at the Washington Schools Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool Law Conference.

  • Leave Laws: Interplay between Washington State and Federal Laws, May 2015, a presentation for the 35th Annual Labor Relations Institute for the Association of Washington Cities.

  • “Hiring Smart’, October 2014, a presentation for the Washington Association of County Officials.


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