I grew up in Boise, Idaho. Idaho tends to produce a large crop of athletic, outdoor-oriented kids, and I fit right into that group. I won my first tennis tournament in the fifth grade – and I was hooked! I practiced hours every day, and became a high school state champion and a ranked junior in our Intermountain Section (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada). As such, I experienced a more disciplined childhood than most kids, spending most of my hours either practicing, studying, or working to contribute to the costs of playing and traveling to tournaments. Tennis taught me focus, grit, competitiveness, sportsmanship, and the value of a high work ethic. As a side benefit, I made lifelong friends and met many engaging grownups – including some lawyers!
After high school, I received a tennis scholarship from Idaho State University, located in the small ski town of Pocatello, Idaho! I knew I wanted to be a lawyer before I even started college. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from ISU in 1985, graduating with High Honors, and had some enriching experiences along the way – including an internship with the Idaho Lt. Governor and then a congressional internship with the U.S. House of Representatives.
Then I attended the University of Idaho College of Law in Moscow, graduating cum laude in 1987 (a semester early), writing and serving as an editor for our law review, and enjoying one last summer of teaching tennis lessons to classes of rambunctious kids! A sign of things to come, I wrote the book (which means received the highest grade) in my Contracts class – which is now a significant part of my business practice.
I returned to Washington, D.C. for my first law job, drafting legislation for the U.S. Senate’s Office of Legislative Counsel. After a few years on The Hill, I earned an LL.M (advanced law degree) from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991, graduating with distinction. I remain a loyal Hoya, and learned from Georgetown’s emphasis on the importance of service and giving back. I worked in private practice for a few years in D.C., and at one point even registered as a foreign lobbyist representing German shipbuilding interests! But I missed the laid back, athletic lifestyle of the west coast, and came to Seattle in 1993.
After moving here, I worked as a session attorney for the Washington State Senate, a Pro Tem Magistrate for the Seattle Municipal Court, and, once again, in private practice. I decided to try my hand at opening up my own law firm in 1999, without a clue about the joys, hard work and rewards that decision would bring to me! I’ve had my own firm ever since, and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Now, I love running a small business and working with terrific clients on business issues, estate planning and probate. It’s rewarding to help my clients, and to team up with them to analyze issues, resolve problems and accomplish results. When I’m not running a business or practicing law, I like writing articles about (what else?) business law, probate and estate planning, and have been published over the years in:
- Idaho Law Review
- New York Law School Journal of International and Comparative Law
- King County Bar Bulletin
- Puget Sound Business Journal
- DeNovo (the Young Lawyers’ Division magazine of the Washington State Bar Association).
- GPSolo eReport (the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division magazine)
I frequently speak at a variety of venues including radio programs, continuing legal education courses, women’s business networking groups including eWomen Network, and programs sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For me, writing and speaking is a way to give back to my profession and make it better. I feel so blessed to be a lawyer, and want to help create a more positive environment where lawyers engage and enjoy their careers and the public views lawyers as educated, caring, and ethical professionals.
Outside of work, I enjoy the arts (particularly dance, theatre and visual arts), and physical activities including spin, weight lifting and yoga. And yes, I still play tennis! I love living in Seattle, and have a little place in Greenwood with my much-loved cat Roger (featured in the Our Team page on my website)!
I learned so much from playing tennis, and know that this game created the foundation for the crazy and blessed life I now lead. I want other kids to have the same opportunity to learn! I’m so proud to serve on the Executive Board for Tennis Outreach Programs (“TOPs”). TOPs is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003, committed to its mission of helping youth build a foundation for lifetime success through tennis, education and character development, regardless of economic circumstance. The game of tennis teaches sportsmanship, confidence, teamwork, hard work, responsibility and discipline – all valuable lifelong skills that go well beyond the court. Particularly for children in need, these skills can make a profound difference in creating a platform for a successful life. Find out more about TOPs.