Subscribe in a reader

ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

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.

Division I: Need a Lawyer to Claim Last Minute Continuance for New Lawyer in Termination Proceeding

In the Matter of the Dependency of G.G.

Remember last week, when we talked about no continuance for a a guardian, unless you actually have a guardian lined up? Well, as it turns out the same goes when you claim a continuance to hire an attorney. You need to actually show that you could have gotten an attorney or had one lined up.

In this case, the mother was in the process of a termination hearing (being stripped of your parental rights). She was given counsel, but wanted a continuance to hire private counsel. As these things often go, the mom was provided the opportunity for services to help with parenting and drinking. Turns out that getting blackout drunk and failing to come home when your kids are with a sitter isn’t exactly good parenting.

[I TOTALLY WOULD HAVE INSERTED A HILARIOUS PICTURE HERE…HONEST!]

Anyhow, like I said, she didn’t participate in any services: no court ordered outpatient alcohol treatment; no service providers; no proof of parenting classes; no mental health treatment. You get the picture. Heck, she wasn’t consistent with making visitation meeting times (and this one, I can’t really judge without more information, as some jobs, especially if you don’t have your own transportation, would make this difficult).

The court did note that her inability to parent (time management, organization, meeting obligations, remembering instructions) could have stemmed from her own prior abuse.

Garbage in, garbage out. Or, more accurately, spiral of abuse and neglect.

Here, the appointed counsel was asked to withdraw by the mom, and given the name of a potential therapist witness way late in the game. Mom said the therapist couldn’t testify for at least two weeks. Counsel made the request to withdraw and continue the matter to obtain new counsel. The court rejected given that mom’s assertion she had contacted one attorney (not hired) and planned on contacting two more wasn’t kosher, especially given this thing was 27 months in and she had known of the trial date for four months. The court had her move forward with her appointed counsel and was willing to make accommodations to have the therapist testify:

The mother has indicated a desire to hire alternative counsel, but this comes on essentially the morning of trial, and there are no specific names offered or even an indication that she has met with these individuals. So that is rather speculative in nature.

Perhaps the biggest concern is the prospect of this potential witness for the mother, the therapist. Although, one notes that according to the mother this therapist has only been involved in the case for the last couple months it sounds like. So, there may be limitations in terms of her testimony. But the Court would be inclined nonetheless to make accommodations to try to ensure . . . at least the possibility of her being heard from. Accordingly, the Court would be inclined, for example, to allow telephonic testimony regarding that therapist. And if that proves simply impossible, to at least consider possible alternatives. Although, again, this is a case that has been pending trial for some time. Again, this is a rather new development it sounds like in terms of [the] possibility of her being a potential witness. And, as noted, her testimony I gather would be rather limited in scope.

The Court of Appeals took that nugget, and compared the right to counsel in these matters with the right of the Court to manage the calendar:

But as recognized in Hampton, a court also retains the right to control its calendar, and the ability of the parent to secure substitute counsel is critical to the exercise of the right to choose retained or volunteer counsel.20 Here, there was no motion to substitute counsel; Salazar had not reached any agreement with any attorney, retained or volunteer, to represent her in the termination trial. Salazar filed only a motion for a continuance to delay the trial and allow her to interview two attorneys she had not yet met.

The trial court asked careful questions and determined: Salazar wanted to retain substitute counsel but had not yet done so; she interviewed one attorney but did not want that attorney to represent her; she planned to interview two other attorneys within the next week but could not give the trial court the names of those attorneys as she did not have their names with her; the dependency had been pending for 27 months; the termination trial had been scheduled. Salazar knew of the trial date for four months. The Department, the GAL, and counsel for S.M. all opposed a continuance on the ground that the children should not be forced to wait longer for the court to determine whether a termination should be granted.

Subscribe in a reader

Copyright 2014-2018 by Issaquah Law Group, PLLC. Powered by Squarespace. Background image by jakeliefer.