I developed my family law focus after years of other work in law and teaching. I began my career in a large San Francisco law firm, where my primary focus was business litigation, and where I also undertook pro bono representation of various clients whose concerns involved family law, discrimination, and immigration. Subsequently, I returned to academia as a graduate student in English at the University of Washington. Years of study, writing and teaching followed — about seven years of teaching in total at the University of Washington in the Departments of English and Women Studies and in the School of Law.
I reentered the practice of law seeking to engage my skills as a lawyer, writer, and teacher in a way that would make positive differences for people during important, and often very difficult, life transitions. I chose family law because it is where, for many of us, the law hits closest to home, affecting our most intimate and cherished relationships with spouses, partners, and children. The law creates both the opportunities and the constraints under which families are created and reconfigured, and so it can be felt in everyday life as beneficial or as burdensome.
I hope to guide clients so that their experience with the law is productive and positive, and so that they emerge from the legal process with their relationships as healthy as they can be. To that end, when I opened my own practice in 2007 I turned to Collaborative Law and mediation, which now are the services I offer most frequently. My conception of my role as a lawyer has altered over the years. I do not expect to solve the problems of my clients; rather, I seek to educate and guide. I hope to create conditions in which my clients can forge peaceful and satisfying futures.
To deepen my skills, I regularly participate in discussion groups, workshops and conferences. I am a member of King County Collaborative Law (KCCL), the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Collaborative Professionals of Washington, and the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of KCCL.
I earned my B.A. from Yale University, my J.D. from the University of Chicago, and my M.A. from the University of Washington (where I also qualified for the doctorate before returning to law practice).