Meet Our Attorneys
Andy Backlund is an experienced litigator. He has worked in large firms and on his own representing Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals. While his practice has focused on product liability, employment, construction and disability law, he has handled many other issues as a contract attorney. Andy has conducted hundreds of depositions, prepared briefs, argued motions, managed cases, handled mediations and participated in all stages of litigation through trial. While volunteering his time at Disability Rights Washington, his work has been highlighted on KOMO TV news and various newspapers. He has a wide range of experience with research, with a special emphasis on electronic research, extending far beyond just his work as an attorney. Andy has worked for Lexis-Nexis, receiving special training and training others. Before that, Andy was a highly successful intercollegiate debater who researched countless hours on a wide array of subjects. Andy knows how to quickly understand your issue and return quality work product in an efficient manner. If you review Andy’s work samples, you will see that Andy is highly skilled at conveying his research through writing to multiple target audiences.
Employment, Volunteer, and Other Experience
Contract Attorney/Emerald City Attorney Network — Seattle, WA
Prepare pleadings, research memoranda, correspondence, mediation letters, insurance opinion letters and argue motions in a variety of case areas. Founded and run Emerald City Attorney Network, a network of independent contract attorneys. Manage workload for multiple contract attorneys. Develop marketing strategy and market services to attorneys and firms. Primarily responsible for client service and client satisfaction.
Disability Rights Washington — Seattle, WA
Volunteer Attorney (March, 2015—Present)
Investigate claims, identify issues, research case law, review documents and develop cases on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Prepare informational self-help guides for individuals with disabilities. Research emerging legislation regarding individuals with disabilities.
Bowman and Brooke LLP — Minneapolis, MN
Primarily responsible for managing multiple cases in a timely and cost effective manner. Prepared and argued motions including summary judgment. Responsible for contact with corporate clients and in house counsel. Prepared pleadings, research, legal memoranda and discovery. Conducted over one hundred depositions. Supervised other attorneys in major document reviews. Practiced in the following areas: Products liability, employment law and business litigation.
Moss & Barnett, A Professional Association — Minneapolis, MN
Prepared complaints, answers, motions, research, legal memoranda, affidavits, and discovery. Conducted depositions and attended mediation. Planned case strategy and administration. Practiced in the following areas: contract, commercial, corporate, litigation, employment, environmental, real estate, condemnation and debt collection.
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota — Minneapolis, MN
Worked directly with Sr. Judge David Doty to prepare opinions and orders. Researched and prepared memoranda. Critically reviewed and evaluated party briefs and memoranda.
Hessian & McKasy P.A. — Minneapolis, MN
Summer Associate/Law Clerk (1999)
Received offer to start as an attorney after graduation in the fall of 2000. Prepared pleadings and written discovery. Researched and prepared legal memoranda on many complex legal issues including domain name trademark infringement, fraud, benefits, unemployment compensation, licensing, conservatorships, appellate strategy and environmental cleanup.
Walsh Law Firm — Minneapolis, MN
Law Clerk (1998)
Clerked for attorney practicing in the areas of personal injury and employment law. Researched case law. Prepared pleadings and settlement documents.
Lexis-Nexis, University of Minnesota — Minneapolis, MN
Lexis Representative (1998–1999)
Received continuous training on Lexis-Nexis. Assisted students and faculty with software and web based access. Serve as the library contact for problems and questions.
Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis — Minneapolis, MN
Client Intake Volunteer (1997–1998)
Interviewed prospective clients, spotted issues and discussed case strategy.
Stress Photonics (Engineering Firm) — Madison, WI
Office Manager and Administrative Assistant (1996–1997)
Handled accounting, ordering, reception duties and administrative projects for an engineering firm. Learned how to handle a wide range of new duties as a member of a small team.
Whitman College Speech and Debate Team — Walla Walla, WA
Developed Lexis, Westlaw and library research skills through hundreds of hours of research. Wrote position briefs for competition. Adapted both speaking style and presentation of information to a variety of judges through competitive speaking. Managed complex filing system. Assisted in the operation of the annual Whitman College Tournament.
Haji Publishing — Seattle, WA
Research Assistant (1993)
Researched and authored briefs for a debate handbook on United States healthcare reform. Jim Hanson and Matt Taylor, West Coast Debate Handbook, (1993).
University of Minnesota Law School — Minneapolis, MN
J.D., cum laude, 2000
Civil Practice Clinic Participant
Civil Practice Clinic Director
National Moot Court
Minnesota Justice Foundation
Whitman College — Walla Walla, WA
B.A. in Politics with Distinction, 1996
Senior thesis on United States, Indian and Pakistani Relations
Whitman College Presidential Scholarship 1993-1996
Whitman College Academic Scholarship 1992-1996
Ranked 14th in the nation after preliminary rounds at the 1996 Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Debate Championships
21st rated individual speaker 1996 CEDA National Debate Championships
All American Debate Team 1996
Selected to present an academic paper at the Northwest Communication Association Convention in 1995
Current and Former Professional Affiliations
Washington State Bar (Active)
Minnesota State Bar (Inactive)
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
Minnesota State Bar Association
MSBA Employment and Labor Law Section
Hennepin County Bar Association
Ramsey County Bar Association
Brian Fahling is an accomplished lawyer with exceptional analytical and problem solving skills and deep trial and appellate experience. He has represented clients, including corporations and municipalities, in many different areas of the law, including complex civil and constitutional tort litigation, estate litigation, business litigation, media/communications litigation, trademark and copyright litigation, employment law (businesses and employees) and legal malpractice. Mr. Fahling has been lead counsel in more than three hundred trials and appeals. He was lead counsel in the successful defense of several corporations in a $300 million dollar lawsuit and he has represented United States senators and congressmen, and the states of Mississippi and Alabama, in amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court. He has taught trial and appellate practice courses nationally and internationally. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Fahling has served as a judge pro tem and commissioner pro tem for Snohomish County Superior Court since 2010. Mr. Fahling is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, twelve U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, nine federal district courts and he has been admitted pro hac vice to many other federal and state courts across the nation.
Snohomish County Superior Court — Everett, WA
Judge Pro Tem/Commissioner Pro Tem (January 2010–Present)
Serve in place of elected judges and appointed commissioners when they are unavailable.
Law Office of Brian Fahling — Kirkland, WA
Business Law, Employment Law, General Counsel Services for Start-ups and Small Businesses, Media/Communications Law, State, Local and Municipal Law, School Law, Constitutional Law, Copyright (Including P2P and BitTorent litigation defense), Trademark.
Litigation and Appeals
Center for Law & Policy — Tupelo, MS
Senior Trial Attorney/Senior Policy Analyst (1994–2008)
National practice which emphasized 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, included litigating and/or advising clients in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Initiated litigation, prepared and reviewed pleadings and handled al phases of discovery; supervised attorneys and paralegals from initial investigation and fact finding through post-trial proceedings and appeal. Counsel of record for U.S. senators and representatives and two states in amicus briefs before U.S. Supreme Court. Taught CLE courses nationally and internationally in federal trial and appellate practice. Created, implemented and supervised internship program. Advised corporate officers, local and state government officials and members of congress on a wide variety of legal issues. As in-house counsel, advised CEO and department heads regarding risk management, copyright, trademark, trade secrets, contract issues, regulatory compliance and employment matters. Assisted and advised federal, state and local officials in drafting legislation.
Snohomish County Prosecutors Office — Everett, WA
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney(1990–1994)
Served as deputy prosecuting attorney in Criminal Division. Responsible for charging decisions; prosecuted crimes ranging from white collar crime to attempted murder. Worked extensively with county and city detectives and police officers reviewing warrants for probable cause, providing supervision regarding gathering of evidence, and giving legal advice about constitutionally permissible search and seizure practices.
Obtained convictions in over 95% of jury and bench trials.
Instructor for Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
Lead counsel in case where a marketing vice president was terminated after 26 years at Achilles USA. Sued the company and its Japanese parent company for age discrimination, disabilty discrimination,
race discrimination and national origin discrimination. Large settlement obtained. Settlement is covered
by a confidentiality agreement. Olsen v. Achilles USA, et al., No. 2:12-cv-01419 MJP (W.D. Wash.
Lead counsel for petitioner in case where decedent, Mark Stover (known as the "Dog Whisperer," and dog trainer to the stars), believing he would be murdered by someone hired by his ex-wife and father-in-law, left a check in the amount of $150,00 for woman he was going to marry. Mr. Stover was murdered less than two months later, and Michel Oakes, Mr. Stover’s ex-wife’s live-in boyfriend, was convicted of the first degree murder of Mr. Stover. Petitioned for check (a gift causa mortis) which Mr. Stover’s estranged sister refused to deliver, and after trial was awarded $150,000, plus attorney’s fees. Vaux-Michel v. Simmons (Skagit County Sup. Ct. No. 09-4-041-1) (Sept. 24, 2012).
Lead counsel in case successfully overturning decision of the Employment Security Division ordering client to repay more than $18,00. State also ordered to pay attorney’s fees. Childe v. Washington Dept. of Employment Security, Snohomish County Sup. Ct., No. 10-2-02984-1) (2010).
Lead counsel in case successfully challenging ordinances on First Amendment grounds. Also obtained attorney’s fees. Pine v. City of West Palm Beach (No. 9:04-cv-80123-WJZ) (S.D.Fla. 207).
Lead counsel in legal malpractice case alleging that lawyer and his firm fraudulently induced client to sign an appearance form; filed an appearance form against client’s express wishes and explicit instructions; refused to represent him in a custody case without an additional fee; terminated their presentation of him without his permission or consent; and filed two unethical, oppressive or unscrupulous lawsuits. Obtained large settlement the day before trial. The settlement is subject to confidentiality agreement. DePrimo v. Chiareli, Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, Docket No. CV 01 0454691 (207)
Lead counsel in successfully challenging city’s violation of plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. Obtained consent decree which included damages for plaintiffs, attorney’s fees, and requirement that City provide First Amendment training on an annual basis to al police officers and other city employees. Reyes v. City of Chula Vista (No. 3:05- cv-02309-H-LSP) (S.D.Cal. 206).
As counsel of record, authored amicus brief to U.S. Supreme Court (in support of Child Internet Protection Act) on behalf of United States senator and three House members. U.S. v. American Library Assoc., 539 U.S. 194
Lead counsel in successful defense of Kiowa County School District RE-2 against motion for TRO and preliminary and permanent injunction. Shields, et al v. Kiowa County Sch. Dist. RE-2 (No. 1:02-cv-0972-MSK- CBS) (D.Colo. 203).
Lead counsel in successful lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and RLUIPA violation; obtained consent decree granting requested relief, damages and attorney’s fees. Victory Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church v. Henry County, Georgia (No. 1:03-cv-0249-MHS) (N.D.Ga. 203
Lead counsel in case successfully challenging two Florida statutes as unconstitutional. Also obtained attorney’s fees. Bischof v. Florida, 242 F.Sup.2d 126, 1239 (M.D.Fla. 203).
Special Counsel to Mississipi and Louisiana, representing the two states in amicus brief to United States Supreme Court in case of Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (200).
Lead counsel in successful defense of individual and corporate entities sued for $30 million in state court.Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctive relief in federal court against further prosecution of the stateaction. Blackerby, et al v. Gren County, Comm., et al (No. 7:9-cv-02347-ELN) (N.D. Ala 199).
Lead counsel in case successfully securing in settlement a change in zoning law to permit churches to locate in Fountain Valley, California, where zoning laws had ben used to kep new churches out. Shalom Aliance, et al v. City of Fountain Valley, et al (No. 8:9-cv-089-GLT-EE) (C.D.Cal. 199).
United States Supreme Court
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 1th and DC Circuit Courts of Appeal
U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington
U.S. District Court for Eastern, Western and Northern Districts of Texas
U.S. District Court for Colorado
U.S. District Court for Arizona
U.S. District Court for Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin
Washington State Bar
Presentations (Partial Listing)
Artistry & Advocacy in Litigation: Creating a Fresco, not a Fiasco, Sponsored by WSBA, June 9, 2009
The Changing Status of Privacy Rights, University of Richmond School of Law, Panelist, March 2006.
Section 1998 Fee Recovery in Section 1983 Litigation, National Litigation Academy, Maui, Hawaii, Lecture, July 2001.
The Jurisprudence of Chief Justice John Marshall, Blackstone Fellowship, Scottsdale, Arizona, Lecture, August 2001.
Constitutionality of Filtering the Internet in Public Schools and Libraries, Testimony before Pennsylvania House Judiciary Subcommittee, March 2000.
Home Run Motions and Keys to Effective Oral Argument, National Litigation Academy, Cancun, Mexico, Lecture, June 2000.
Motions Practice in Section 1983 Litigation, National Litigation Academy, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lecture, July 1999.
Regent University School of Law
University of Wyoming
BS Bus. Admin., 1982
Andrea Sessions Kneiss
Andrea Sessions Kneiss
Andrea Sessions Kneiss has a broad range of experience with both transactional and litigation matters gained from over 10 years in small and mid-size law firms. Her contract work focuses primarily on real estate and business law and she is extremely proficient in all aspects of real estate law, including purchases and sales, leases, zoning and landlord/tenant issues, both residential and commercial, restraining orders and injunctions on real property, specific performance actions, quiet title matters and statutory liens. Andrea has taken several business disputes to trial and has handled credit account collections and lien enforcement for a number of corporate clients, in addition to handling business sales and acquisitions of both real and personal property, other business transactions and entity formations. Other litigation experience includes personal injury matters, trust litigation and creditor bankruptcy matters. Andrea is licensed in both Washington and California.
Member of Washington State Bar — in good standing since August 2014
Member of State Bar of California — in good standing since December 2005
Law Offices of Frederick W. Smith, Jr. — Oakdale, CA
Attorney (September 16, 2009–December 31, 2014)
Two-Attorney General Law Practice assisting clients in many practice areas, including:
- Real Estate and Business Law. I have advised or handled all aspects of real estate, including purchases and sales, commercial and residential leases, zoning and special use permits and all aspects of landlord/tenant and foreclosure issues. I also have handled several specific performance cases involving real estate, quiet title actions involving complex chains of title and adverse possession claims, and obtained injunctions and temporary restraining orders involving the sale of real property. In addition, the office serves as corporate counsel for many local businesses. I have advised clients on new formations, corporate formalities, reviewed and prepared contracts, handled acquisitions of businesses and land, including several bulk sales transactions, and assisted in employee issues.
- Civil Litigation. I am fully capable of taking most cases from inception to trial and appeal, as well as assisting as second chair on larger or complex cases. I have significant expertise in personal injury cases, unlawful detainer, collection matters, statutory lien enforcement and other contract actions.
- Estate Planning and Trust Administration. I have counseled clients with basic estate planning, including simple wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advanced health care directives. This experience includes a handful of trust litigation files and probate matters.
- Client Contact. I have continuously had the opportunity to meet with and relate to clients since my first legal job and I have developed this as a particular skill, also based on my retail work experience during college. I have managed all levels of client needs directly with the client from retention, giving opinions, representing them at trials, mediations/arbitrations and depositions, as well as billing concerns.
Curtis & Arata — Oakdale/Modesto, CA
Associate Attorney (May 15, 2006–September 15, 2009)
Curtis & Arata was at the time the largest law firm in Modesto with over 30 attorneys. General Law Practice including transactional work (business formations, contract review and enforcement, real estate and business purchases) and significant civil litigation (insurance defense, collections, personal injury, business law).
Law Offices of Carlo & Bondelie — San Jose, CA
Law Clerk (June 2004–December 2005)
Attorney (December 2005–May 2006)
Applicant Workers’ Compensation and Federal Social Security Disability Practice
Santa Clara University School of Law; Santa Clara, CA
J.D., May 2005
Top 15% of Class; GPA 3.64, Dean’s List
CALI Excellence for the Future Award Community Property, Spring 2005
Best Appellate Brief; Appellate Advocacy Course, Fall 2003
SCU Computer and High Technology Law Journal, Volume 21 Articles Editor
Oxford University, Magdalen College; Oxford, UK
Comparative Media Law summer program 2003
California State University, Stanislaus; Turlock, CA
B.A., Magna Cum Laude, History
As a Patent Attorney, Kristi has extensive experience in drafting and prosecuting patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her technical focus includes computer networking, including hardware and software, electromechanical devices, medical devices, and consumer product packaging. Prior to beginning her career as a Patent Attorney, Kristi worked as a quality control chemist in a pharmaceutical laboratory, and senior chemist for a research and development for an animal pharmaceutical company.
Kristi Kuhnert, PLLC
Owner/Attorney (February 2011–Present)
Engage outside firms as a contractual attorney
Cultivate new individual inventor clients
Perform strategic analysis to determine the optimal course of action for each project on my docket
Prepare provisional patent applications to be submitted to the United States Patent Office (USPTO)
Perform preliminary intellectual property search prior to preparing provisional patent applications
Prosecute U.S. patents including examiner interviews and office action responses
Lee & Hayes, PLLC — Spokane, WA
Attorney (October 2006–February 2011)
Prepared provisional patent applications to be submitted to the United States Patent Office (USPTO)
Performed preliminary intellectual property search prior to preparing provisional patent applications
Completed prosecution of U.S. patents and foreign filings including examiner interviews, office action responses, and working with foreign counsel.
Received Rookie of the Year award for 2007
Kolisch Hartwell — Portland, OR
Summer Law Clerk (Summer 2006)
Prepared provisional patent applications to be submitted to the United States Patent Office (USPTO)
Responded to office actions received from the USPTO
Amended claims in rejected patent applications
Gonzaga University Legal Assistance — Spokane, WA
Intern (June 2005–December 2005)
Worked with low income tax clients to manage their accounts
Dealt directly with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Drafted legal documents as well as correspondence to submit to the IRS and the client
Crystal Springs Water Company — Kent, WA
Quality Specialist (October 2003–July 2004)
Managed quality control and assurance for manufacturing department
Created and implemented the Hazardous Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) for the food safety and principle program for the manufacturing department
Developed and maintained company training program for the manufacturing department
Virbac — St. Louis, MO
Senior Research Chemist (September 2001–August 2003)
Managed analytical laboratory for the Research and Development of animal pharmaceutical products
Supervised Research and Development team including two junior level chemists
Member of hiring committee for both Research and Development and the Quality Control department
Pascal Dental Pharmaceutical — Bellevue, WA
Lead Chemist / Production Technician (March 1997–August 2001)
Reviewed and maintained completed production paperwork upon release of finished product
Served as contact for the Canadian Government consultants to help ensure continued sales of our products in their country
Gonzaga University School of Law, Spokane, Washington
J.D., May 2007
Activities: Intellectual Property Club, Client Counseling Competition, Saul Lefkowitz Trademark and Unfair Competition Moot Court Team
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
B.S. Chemistry, March 1997
Washington State Bar
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Fara Daun has nearly 20 years of legal experience covering wide range of matters and can assist you with both transactional and litigation matters. Before becoming an attorney, she worked as an administrator and manager of a number of businesses and has owned her own business. This hands-on experience helps her find practical solutions to businesses’ legal matters. She has drafted over 150 pieces of legislation and has deep understanding of statutory and regulatory drafting and interpretation that she brings to administrative and litigation matters as well as general business guidance. Fara assists clients with entity formation, administrative and regulatory matters, real estate transactions, commercial contracts and other transactional documents. Fara received her law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington. She is admitted to practice in Washington State and before the United States Supreme Court and has been admitted pro hac vice to the federal courts in Nevada and the Southern District of New York.
Tollefsen Law PLLC — Lynnwood, WA
- Reviewed and analyzed client matters; proposed creative, cost-effective solutions
- As lead counsel, negotiated settlement of SEC litigation following discovery; negotiated favorable resolutions of state and local business licensing matters
- Represented clients in securities fraud cases, FINRA disciplinary matters, administrative negotiations and hearings, and real estate matters
- Prepared and filed entity formation and operating documents for corporations and limited liability companies
- Drafted a range of litigation documents including pleadings, briefs, and motions; edited U.S. Supreme Court petition for certiorari
- Reviewed and drafted corporate documents including contracts, letters of intent, non-disclosure and non-circumvent agreements, leases, and legal correspondence
- Produced informational articles and other documents
Washington State Legislature — Olympia, WA
Senior Policy Counsel, Senate Caucus
Senior Research Analyst/Performance Auditor, JLARC
Committee Counsel, Senate Commitee Services
- Conducted legal, fiscal, and policy research; identified issues; formulated options
- Negotiated stakeholder agreements for legislation and implementation of policy
- Drafted over 150 pieces of legislation including complex legislation involving multi-agency coordination, federal-state interaction, budget, constitutional, and state liability issues
- Tracked legislator and agency budget requests and priorities
- Compared program performance to legal authority, directives, and best practices
- Primary author on eight reports of performance audit findings and recommendations
- Effectively provided guidance to programs to improve operations and compliance
- Testified on legislation and policy matters
- Briefed legislators and the Governor
- Managed multiple, conflicting priorities in fast-paced environment
- Built and maintained long-term relationships with stakeholders and public officials
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA
Dean's Scholar, 1994-1997
Dean's Service Award, 1997
American Jurisprudence Award, Torts 1994
Law Review: Senior Articles Editor, 1995-1997
University Of Washington, Seattle, WA
Washington State, 1997
United States Supreme Court, 2015
2009: Excellence in Research Methodology, National Legislative Program
Evaluation Society: Comparing Costs and Characteristics of Housing Assistance
Programs, JLARC Report #09-1
2004: Legislative Star Award, Washington State Association of County Clerks
2016: Regulatory Compliance: It’s the Little Things…, Tollefsen Law Blog
2015: Failure to Reconvey: Quiet Title Without a Quiet Title Action, Tollefsen Law Blog
2014: Commission’s Back Pay Award Exceeded Its Authority, Tollefsen Law Blog
2012: Microenterprise Development Program Meets Statutory Objectives But Department of Commerce Oversight is Inadequate, JLARC Report #12-1
2010: Activities Supporting Recreational Boating in Washington, JLARC Report #10-12
2009: Performance Audit of the Home Care Quality Authority, JLARC Report #09-9
2008: State Health Care Coverage Eligibility, JLARC Report # 08-8
2008: Office of Public Defense Sunset Review, JLARC Report #08-2
2007: Follow-Up: 2000 Mental Health System Performance Audit, JLARC Report #07-11
2007: Home Care Quality Authority Performance Review and Supplementary Questions, (with J. Woolley & S. Gil), JLARC Report #07-2
2006: K-12 Pupil Transportation Funding Study, (with S. Hoffman), JLARC Report #06-10
1996: The Content Shop: Toward an Economic Legal Structure for Clearing and Licensing
Multimedia Content, 30 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 215
2014: Islamically-Compliant Finance for Microenterprises, Washington State Microenterprise
Association (with J. Johnson)
2011: Activities Supporting Recreational Boating, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators Spring Workshop, Lexington, KY
2010: The Washington Administrative Code: Why You Care, (with K. Thiessen & K. Radcliff)
2008: The Office of Public Defense Sunset Review, House Committee on the Judiciary.
2007: K-12 Pupil Transportation—JLARC's Final Report and What it Means to You, Washington Association of School Business Officials Conference
2005: Washington State Sex Offender Legislation: 2005 Session Update, NCNIES Conference
Designing fireworks displays, poetry, home remodeling, exploring new places, space.
Quita St. John
Quita St. John
For over 10 years, Quita St. John has represented thousands of clients on a broad range of criminal, juvenile and DUI defense litigation. Described by her clients as tenacious, compassionate, thorough, and trustworthy, Quita has been frequently recognized by colleagues in the criminal defense community for her extensive skills and experience. She receives frequent referrals and commendations from other attorneys based on her proven track record of success litigating the best possible outcomes for her clients, and helping to demystify the legal process to help clients make informed decisions.
An alumna of Seattle University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude, Quita received her undergraduate degree – also with honors – from the University of Vermont. Her academic success and approach to compassionate counsel led to a successful career with the largest criminal defense law firm in Washington State before she moved on to private practice.
A member of the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the Washington Defender Association, Quita serves on the executive committee of the William L. Dwyer Inn of Courts. Quita volunteers her legal expertise with organizations such as QLaw free legal clinic and the Latino/a Bar Association free legal clinic, and serves on the Board of Directors for Camp Ten Trees.
St. John Law Group, PLLC — Seattle, WA
Attorney and Owner
Private criminal defense attorney and public criminal defense contract attorney representing retained clients in all phases of criminal proceedings. Contract work for firms including: Stein, Lotzkar, and Starr; Cowan, Kirk, Gaston and Wolff, and Schroeter, Goldmark, Bender. (May, 2012–present)
Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons, Juvenile Division — Seattle, WA
Attorney (June 2013–January 2014)
Full time juvenile public defender. Vertical representation of juvenile clients through all phases from arraignment to trial in both misdemeanor and felony cases.
Associated Counsel for the Accused — Seattle and Kent, WA
Attorney (June 2007–January 2009 and May 2010–May 2012)
Full public defense caseload in Seattle Municipal Court and King County District Court. Represented indigent clients from diverse backgrounds in all phases of criminal proceedings. Heavy motions and trial practice.
Perkins Coie — Seattle, WA
Attorney (April 2010–May 2010)
Document review in defense of a criminal investigation.
King County Superior Court — Seattle and Kent, WA
Law Clerk and Bailiff to the Honorable Hollis R. Hill (January 2009–March 2010)
Administer all aspects of the Court, including coordination of jurors, editing and issuing of orders and opinions, court scheduling, serving as a liaison between the public, pro se, attorneys, court operations and the Court itself, and conducting legal research.
Woods and Associates — Seattle, WA
Attorney (January 2007–June 2007)
Document review at Seattle law firms including Phillips Law Group, Groff Murphy, and the Northwest Defender’s Association.
Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons — Seattle, WA
Rule 9 Legal Intern (January 2006–May 2006)
Represented public defense clients for arraignments, pretrial hearings, pleas, sentencing, and probation hearings. Drafted motions and conducted other legal research and writing.
Legal Voice (formerly Northwest Women’s Law Center) — Seattle, WA
Legal Intern (August 2005–January 2006)
National Center for Lesbian Rights — San Francisco, CA
Law Clerk (June–August 2005)
Gender and Justice Commission of the Washington State Courts — Seattle, WA
Primary Author (May–September 2004)
Service Employees International Union, Local 925 — Seattle, WA
Organizer/Representative (January 2002–January 2003)
Service Employees International Union, District 925 — Seattle, WA
Organizer (September 2000–May 2001)
Community Experience & Board Involvement
American Inn of Courts – William L. Dwyer Inn of Court — Seattle, WA
Executive Board (September 2005–present)
Camp Ten Trees – LGBTQ Youth Summer Camp — Seattle, WA
Board of Directors and Summer Camp Volunteer (October 2012–present)
QLaw (LGBTQ) Bar Association and Foundation — Seattle, WA
LGBTQ Free Legal Clinic Board of Directors and Clinic Volunteer (August 2008–present)
AtRisk Youth Committee (June 2007–September 2008)
Washington State Bar Association — Seattle, WA
Loan Repayment Assistance Program Board (March 2005–May 2006)
Girl Scouts of Western Washington - Girls Beyond Bars and Girls Fostering a Future — Renton and Kent, WA
Troop Leader/Volunteer (September 2009–November 2011)
Program for girls whose mothers are incarcerated or who are in foster care.
King County Bar Association Family Law Program — Seattle, WA
Probono volunteer attorney (May 2007–January 2009)
Seattle University School of Law — Seattle, WA
J.D., cum laude, 2013
- Seattle Journal for Social Justice (Law Review) – Editorial Board.
- Public Interest Law Foundation – President.
- Outlaws (LGBTQ Organization) Board Member, Vice President.
University of Vermont — Burlington, VT
B.A., cum laude, May 1999
- Major in French, minors in Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies.
- Yearlong study at Université Paul Valèry Montpellier, France.
Languages & International Experience
- Highly proficient in French. Basic Spanish skills.
- Travel, study, and residence in Western and Eastern Europe, Thailand, Vietnam, and China.