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Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

The Transition: Moving from Plaintiff to Defense

One of the things I often get asked is why I made the transition from Plaintiff's work to Defense work. 

This usually results in me screaming "You're not the boss of me!," slapping the person with a white glove, and running to hide behind a chair. I have issues.

But seriously, the answer is really complex, personal, and not a story I am likely to tell unless I know you fairly well in person.

The next question, however, is one I have no problem talking about. "What is it like working on the dark side?"


(Like that, except with Windows)

In law school, they always pose the ethical question about defending someone you know committed murder. My response was always the same, I may not like it, but every person is entitled to a defense under the constitution. Its the only way to keep a check on the police powers of the state. Insert random generic sounding 1L answer.

That argument doesn't hold up as well when you're talking the civil side of things. So, here's the short answer, I really like what I'm doing.

People I am co-counsel with, and plaintiff's counsel who didn't know me prior to the transition, are often surprised to learn that I was Plaintiff's counsel before this. 

There were a lot of things I liked about working on the Plaintiff's side. I learned people's stories. I was able to hold people accountable for negligence. I sometimes was able to try interesting theories. I learned a lot about a lot of different things. I loved getting in knock down drag outs over discovery. I loved drafting responses to summary judgments (and the odd Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment). I loved taking depositions. 

Some of the things I didn't like? The sometimes overwhelmed feeling. The marketing yourself for cases/clients. The having to bone up on a complex area in a short amount of time. 

So how is that different in the transition to defense work? Well, its really not. The stories I tell are from a different perspective. The work is largely the same. I tend to have the same work load, which sometimes feels like its hard to get out from under, but is very rewarding. 

Really, litigation is litigation is litigation.

One thing I have noticed in the transition is, as a Plaintiff's attorney, I saw all my cases as having merit. I tended to see the value as higher than the defense attorney, but I always strove to put the best case forward, being open and honest about the warts on my case, but moving to exclude things that were irrelevant. I thought I did a good job of screening my cases to be sure I was taking something meritorious. If I did not believe my client, I was not the attorney for them. I had to let more than one client go for unrealistic expectations.

On the defense side, not all cases are created equal. I thoroughly enjoy going up against attorneys that are well-prepared, have screened their cases, are responsive, and generally behave as I had - tough but fair. However, I see some Plaintiff attorneys who are absolutely blind to blatant faking, attorneys forging or altering evidence, and everything in between (not all the time, thank goodness, or I would go insane). Those cases make me work hard to get to the truth, which generally lies somewhere in between where Plaintiff and Defense have staked their ground.

There are some things to get used to. Reporting being the largest. My clients now want far more information than my Plaintiff clients required or wanted. But that leaves me the ability to give them an honest evaluation of when I think the cases are good, when I think they're bad, and why. 

So take that for what its worth. From what I've heard, I am a bit of an outlier. Many people move from Defense work to Plaintiff's work. Not so much the other way around. 

So what do I feel each side has the ability to offer the other? From the Plaintiff's side, you gain an ability to actually see the effects of the injury on the person. This is something often left out or underdeveloped in defense depositions. The importance of knowing the stories that will be told by the lay witnesses cannot be understated, as you will have the same ability to pick those stories apart if they do not match the facts. Too often a defense attorney will just ignore the lay witnesses, offering "no questions" at trial.

From the Defense side, learn how to prepare and manage your case load. It is too easy on the Plaintiff side to get mired down in the day to day of your work, and lose picture of the case's overall goals, or tasks that need to be accomplished. One of the large aims of reporting is to ensure all those tasks get accomplished well before trial. Now, I'm not saying you need to draft a full report on each of your cases, but you should definitely have a to do list on each case, and prioritize and revise that list often (the best Plaintiff's attorneys I know have meetings on all the cases often enough that they always have a bead on what the next step is). 

The sooner we all realize our jobs are essentially the same, getting to that middle truth, the sooner we eliminate the consternation and conflagrations that often permeate our cases.


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