Professional Background

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Education

Practice

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Narrative 

I am a Washington Native and have continuously resided in this state my entire life.  I have lived in Snohomish County for the last thirty years.  I attended High School in Bellevue, Washington and then attended the University of Washington (B.A. in 1975) and then went to Law School at the University of Puget Sound.  I obtained my Juris Doctor degree in 1978.  The Puget Sound law school was later sold to Seattle University.

Following graduation from Law School and successfully passing the bar examination I worked as an associate or assistant attorney with two established law firms.  Then in 1983 I went into private practice on my own.  After two years in private practice I joined a larger firm in Lynnwood and became a shareholder in that firm.  For five years I practiced in Lynnwood attempting to serve clients in both King and Snohomish County.  I found myself on the freeway most of my time and decided to concentrate on a single court.

In 1990 I left my Lynnwood firm and resumed a sole practice of law in my current building.  I represent clients exclusively in the Snohomish County and Tulalip Tribal courts.  In the beginning of my career a significant portion of my time was spent representing criminal defendants in misdemeanor cases and debtors in bankruptcy along side of my traditional family law practice.

I have since restricted my practice within the framework of family law.  Family Law means more to me than strictly divorce.  The legal needs of a family also include the preservation of wealth through the preparation of Wills, Trusts other Estate Planning Documents.  Upon a death a family will need assistance with probate or the succession of property.  If there is a family held business I stand ready to help with incorporation, annual minutes and contractual disputes. 

The bulk of my practice continues to be Marital Law.  I offer pre-separation counseling.  Some of the most important decisions in dissolution of marriage actions are made at the time of separation.  It is important to work with a family law attorney from the beginning in order to avoid costly strategic mistakes.

Most of my marital cases are settled.  Settlements are almost always preferred.  In a settlement the spouses decide their own future rather than having a case arbitrarily decided by a judge who knows very little about you or your situation.  But, Settlements donít just happen.  They require preparation and the willingness to litigate if the other side refuses to meet a fair offer.  I work through the settlement process with and without the assistance of trained mediators depending on client needs and case complexity.

Once a dissolution or legal separation case is filed, it may take eight months or a year before it is finalized. A hearing establishing Temporary Orders in the case, which establishes the status quo while the case is pending may be scheduled and is as important as the trial.  For instance, the parent who wins Temporary Custody almost always wins Permanent Custody.  I treat temporary motion hearings as seriously as a trial because they are often determinative.

            Collecting, analyzing and organizing evidence is a critical piece of preparation for either settlement or trial.  Much of the time and my assistant Jamie, who is a trained paralegal, and I spend on a case is devoted to fact gathering.  Of course we cannot do this on our own.  Preparing for settlement or trial is a team effort and it is important that the attorney and client understand that the end result will depend on their collective efforts.

            An amicable or agreed documents ending a marriage is preferable because it is cheaper, you always end up with something you are willing to live with and the process does not increase the hostility within the family system.  But, sometimes there is no reasonable alternative to litigation.  I have taken hundreds of family law cases to trial and I am comfortable in that setting.  My business is securing your goals through agreement or, if necessary, arguing for them at trial.

            In addition to a full-time law practice I have also been called upon to assist in the education of paralegals and undergraduates.  I have taught a course in Business Law for Paralegals at Edmonds Community College and a general undergraduate course in Business Law at Henry Cogswell College in Everett.  I have also been a featured speaker at several continuing legal education seminars for attorneys. 

            Over the course of my career I have served on the Boards of Directors of numerous non-profit corporations, providing a legal perspective in the service of charitable or other not-for-profit organizations. 

            As an adjunct to my law practice and as a way of serving my real estate clients I studied for and passed the examination to qualify as a Real Estate Broker.  I held a Real Estate Brokerís license for a few years, but found that it was underutilized and let it lapse.  However, my experience in that area helps me to continue to serve clients with real estate needs.

            I have been appointed by the court to act as a decision maker in certain cases.  I have been a Judge Pro Tem in South District Court deciding many cases.  I have also been appointed as an arbitrator in dozens of cases by the Snohomish County Superior court deciding child support, personal injury and contract matters.

            I am currently serving on the Board of the Snohomish County Family Law Committee, which is a wing of the Snohomish County Bar Association promoting education for local Family Law Attorneys and fairness for family law litigants in Snohomish County Superior Court.

            I am a member of the Snohomish County Estate Planning Council, an organization providing education and networking for attorneys practicing Estate Planning, Elder Care and Probate.  Membership in this organization allows me to maintain a close relationship with Certified Public Accountants, Financial Advisors and other related professionals who are then able to assist my clients when needs arise.

            It has been my intention to run a sole practice of law.  Rather than turn clients over to associates or independently working associates I prefer a handís on approach.  My office mission is to provide effective and efficient advocacy through personalized representation.  If you or anyone you know is interested in speaking about representation, please do not hesitate to call me at 425-259-1200.

 

 

 

 

 
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