I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. For the past 35+ years I have assisted in the formation of countless families through all types of adoption, including independent, agency-assisted, interstate, international, co-parent, stepparent, relative, adult, and foster-adopt.
I spent 2+ years on active duty in the United States Navy and am married with three children. I really enjoy helping people create families through adoption and assisted reproduction technologies. I also enjoy spending time with my family, golfing, traveling, skiing, running, and biking.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have spent over 35 years practicing law in Seattle. I am a frequent speaker on probate and estate planning, making presentations to the Boeing company, Seattle Central Community College, the financial planning industry, and professional seminars. I also advise and consult with nonprofit groups on planned charitable giving.
I have spent the majority of my private practice advising individuals on estate and retirement planning. I have represented hundreds of fiduciaries in their capacities as trustees, personal representatives and guardians, and have served in these roles and as a court appointed special representative in several probate matters. I have litigated many contested probate matters under the court’s trust and estate dispute resolution procedures.
Like my parents and grandparents, I’m a Seattle native. I graduated cum laude and with high honors from Dartmouth College in 2000, where I captained the women’s volleyball team and was a visiting student at Oxford University. I received my J.D. with honors from the University of Washington School of Law in 2003 and served as a Notes and Comments Editor of the Washington Law Review. I spent the first 16 years of my career at Mills Meyers Swartling, P.S., where I gained significant litigation experience representing large and small businesses in a variety of contract, insurance, product liability, and real property matters.
After adopting my daughter in 2008, I began building my family formation practice. Adoption, assisted reproduction, estate planning, and probate matters filled an increasingly large percentage of my time. In 2015, I became a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, and in 2019, I joined the experienced adoption and estate planning team of Albert Lirhus and John Keckemet.
My practice includes all aspects of adoption, including complex situations involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), interstate placements requiring compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), step-parent, second-parent (and even third-parent) adoptions, contested adoptions, and finalization of international and domestic agency adoptions. I frequently consult with parents hoping to adopt their foster child from the Department of Children, Youth and Families. I also represents birthparents who have placed or are considering placing a child for adoption.
I particularly enjoy advising people in the earliest stages of expanding their families and helping them understand how many options are available. In addition to adoption, the 2019 revisions to the Uniform Parentage Act in Washington opened new possibilities for couples or individuals pursuing assisted reproductive technologies (ARTS). I prepare surrogacy contracts, egg and sperm donation agreements, and embryo donation contracts that satisfy the specific requirements of Washington law, and help intended mothers and fathers obtain pre-birth orders confirming their parentage.
The arrival of a child often prompts parents to complete their estate planning. I prepare the documents necessary to ensure that their loved ones will be well-cared for if they were gone. Usually, those documents include wills, powers of attorney, health care directives (living wills), and sometimes trusts or community property agreements. If a loved one does pass away, I guide clients through probate—the process of transferring titles, distributing assets, and resolving debts.
With my litigation background and experience as an adoptive parent, I bring a strategic and compassionate approach to all my cases. I understand the anxiety and intensity of becoming a parent unconventionally, and also recognize that planning for your own death or incapacity can be unsettling. I help clients navigate both the practical and emotional aspects of these occasions.