An effective relationship between a lawyer and client involves trust. I don't think you can trust someone you don't know. So, here are a few items of personal information.
I originally came from a small farming town of about 500 Scandinavians in Minnesota called Lake Park - located about half way between Audubon and Hawley. I did most of my growing up in Salem, Oregon. I am married to a great woman named Barbara, who, as you will discover if you read any further, puts up with an awful lot.
I have been involved in neighborhood and community issues for years, currently serving as President of the Wallingford Community Council. These activities include community planning, advocacy, education and on occasion litigation.
I recently had the privilege of being chosen as Team Leader for a Rotary International professional Group Study Exchange to northeast Brazil. Our team spent four weeks in the states of Pariba, Pernambuco and Rio Grande Do Norte. There is more information about GSE and the Brazil 2000 exchange on the web.
I am a past president of the University Sunrise Rotary Club, and presently the International Service Chair. Over the years, among other things, I have been a volunteer fireman, assistant director of a community urban planning organization, delegation chairman to a state political convention, board member of a housing cooperative, ham radio operator and a member of a bunch of community, professional, and political organizations. Years ago, I wrote the rules of the nominating convention that put John Anderson (remember him?) on Washington's presidential ballot.
I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969, and spent almost 14 months in Vietnam. It was an experience that I am still learning from. The last thing I expected to do was to become a "veteran". However, I seemed to have been "self drafted" a second time into a number of veterans activities.
When I moved to Seattle and opened a law practice, I organized a free legal clinic for Vietnam and other veterans.
I was one of the founders of the Seattle Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program. The VVLP is a non-political, non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families. It was originally part of the federal Action Agency. At the present time, we operate two transitional housing programs in King County for homeless veterans. The VVLP has over the years also provided scholarships for children of Vietnam Vets, made available speakers to college and high school classes on the war, and of course, hosted Veterans Day parties.
One of the most rewarding and controversial projects was bringing a half size photo replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) to Seattle Center. The VVLP was one of the first organizations in the country to display a photo mural of the memorial. Its exhibition was attended by tens of thousands: veterans, their families and the public. A tremendous controversy was played out in the press, locally and nationally, when the VVLP, consistent with its theme of "Coming Together Again", decided to make and display another plaque recognizing the names of the students killed at Kent State and Jackson State as additional casualties of the war. As chairman, I spent a great deal of time defending the decision on television, in the press and in discussions with vets and their families. In the end, however, the display was a tremendous experience for all who attended.
Along with some friends, I started and ran a company that imported a beverage made from a plant native to the Brazilian Amazon.
Different than the practice of law? You bet -- Ingredients instead of Interrogatories, Distribution instead of Depositions, and Rio de Janeiro instead of the King County Court House. If you want to know more, check out the site for Equatorial Imports.