"As a commercial real estate developer and attorney, I have negotiated well over 500 shopping center leases. Stu's understanding of the business and legal aspects of shopping center transactions enabled his client to ask the right questions, to obtain the items the client needed to run a profitable business and to negotiate a lease fair to both parties -- the hallmarks of a successful transaction."
Jeffrey Oliphant, Esq., JLO Washington Enterprises, Inc., shopping center developer and operator, and co-author of "The Shopping Center Game"

Rated "Superb"
by AVVO.com


  • negotiate or draft better commercial leases
  • ask the important questions
  • identify and minimize unavoidable risks
  • catch important details that might otherwise be missed
  • add significant provisions that are missing
  • mitigate lease-based economic ups and downs
  • save money
  • protect their businesses
HELLER focuses his practice on commercial leasing and other business transactions with an emphasis on being available and responsive to his client as he helps them understand and improve the agreements they are asked to sign. He has practiced law in the State of Washington for over 45 years, assisting companies such as RED ROBIN INTERNATIONAL, CUCINA! CUCINA!, Inc., SCHWARTZ BROTHERS RESTAURANTS, PAPA JOHN'S PIZZA, CHIPOTLE, QDOBA, FRESH CHOICE, PHOTON MACHINES, INTREPID CONSULTING, UNITED REPROGRAPHICS, WAYPOINT MARINE and other retailers and entrepreneurs with their commercial leases and other business transactions, business entity formation, maintenance and revision, and liquor licensing, as well as their day to day legal issues. For example he orchestrated one client's $6.6M acquisitions of 4 companies comprised of 35 retail food service outlets spanning 2 states, and successfully assisted another rapidly growing restaurant chain and its affiliate acquire over 45 new locations.

Stu Heller is now the Principal Attorney at the Law office of Stuart A. Heller as well as Of Counsel at Desh International & Business Law where he drafts, reviews and negotiates key business contracts; teams with senior management and in-house counsel to steer acquisitions, sales and purchasing activities; recommends appropriate courses of action to ensure regulatory, licensing, and contract compliance as well as to enforce his clients' rights; and collaborates on tax, securities, bankruptcy, litigation and intellectual property matters as needed to best protect his clients. In this capacity he has achieved a "Superb" rating on AVVO.com.

Previous to operating his own law office he was Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel of RED ROBIN INTERNATIONAL, INC, where he was responsible for all legal matters of this restaurant chain which during his tenure tripled in size to 47 corporate and franchised units in ten states and Canada, and achieved system wide sales of $85,000,000.

Prior to RED ROBIN he was with WEYERHAEUSER COMPANY serving first as an intellectual property attorney, then as its Environmental Counsel, and subsequently as a Regulatory Affairs Manager where he helped protect the company's intellectual property; counseled on multimillion dollar environmental issues and successfully appealed unreasonably restrictive governmental permits; and tracked and proposed strategies for dealing with government regulation of waste and industrial chemical substances. After nomination by Weyerhaeuser's President and during a one year leave of absence he served as a Presidential Exchange Executive and Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE in Washington, D.C.


His numerous articles have appeared in the PUGET SOUND BUSINESS JOURNAL; HOSPITALITY NEWS & COFFEE TALK; the WASHINGTON RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION NEWS UPDATE (now THE FRONT BURNER); the website of the WASHINGTON LODGING ASSOCIATION (www.wahospitality.org); NORTHWEST STIR, the E-zine for culinary professionals (at www.nwstir.com), King County Bar Association BAR BULLETIN and in his blogs at Hubpages, Blogspot, and WordPress .

As of January 1, 2017, Heller has fairly regularly appeared on page one of searches for "leasing lawyer" on Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL Search, Dogpile and Ask.com.


  • Washington State Bar Association, Member
  • King Country Bar Association, Member; Chair Business Advisory Panel
  • Washington Lodging Association, Previous Member and Board Member
  • Washington Restaurant Association, Previous Member
  • South Asian Bar Association of Washington, Previous Member
  • UW Law School, Moot Court Judge

HELLER received his undergraduate degree from RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE and his JD degree with honors from GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL.


Fixed fee arrangements - available for reviews, analysis, and recommendations
Hourly fee arrangements - also available for reviews, analysis, recommendations and negotiations
Combination fixed and hourly fee arrangements - where a fixed fee is set for reviews, analysis, and recommendations, and an hourly fee applies to resulting negotiations
Monthly retainer arrangements - for those who want to be able to call any time on a fixed monthly budget


  •  2012-Present: Serve as a moot court judge at the UW Law School
  •  2015-2016: Supervising Attorney for the International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) working to try to get visas for seven Afghanis, the five adults of which had aided US efforts in their country.
  •  2006-Present: Chair of the King County Bar Association's Business Advisory Panel working with the UW Business School to annually assist 16-18 local minority-owned businesses
  •  2006-2014: Board member, President and Vice President of the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra
  •  Board (2000-2004) and Allied Member (2000-2015) of the WASHINGTON LODGING ASSOCIATION (received its 2002 award for outstanding contributions to the organization)
  •  Allied member of the WASHINGTON RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION (1995-2015)
  •  Monthly volunteer at shelter for homeless women (2006-2014)
  •  Sponsored 3 Laotian refugee families each of which initially lived with his family
  •  Taught SBA class on business entities and their formation
  •  Elected to Federal Way Community and City Councils
  •  9 years on Board of Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle as Trustee, Secretary, parliamentarian, and chair of its bylaws and social action committees
  •  Long distance running (1988 - present), 27 marathons, approximately 20 half marathons
  •  Raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society as a participant and as a Mentor in its Team In Training program preparing people for upcoming endurance runs such as the full and half marathons in Seattle, Phoenix and Orlando