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Attorney Spotlight

Skellenger Bender, P.S. is pleased to announce that eight of our attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2020 Washington Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list. Charles Newton, Cynthia Buhr, Elizabeth Hershman-Greven, Raegen Rasnic, Rita Bender, and Peter Offenbecher were selected as Super Lawyers and Caleb Bonm and Joel Odimba were named Rising Stars. Each year, Super Lawyers are selected through an unbiased, multiphase process that includes peer nomination, evaluations, and independent research. No more than 5% of Washington attorneys are selected as Super Lawyers, and no more than 2.5% receive the honor of being named a Rising Star. Skellenger Bender is delighted to have eight of our attorneys attain such a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Cynthia F. Buhr has joined the firm as Of Counsel in our Family Law, Adoption and Assisted Reproduction, and Estate Planning Practice Groups. Cynthia’s legal experience, common sense approach, and commitment to social justice adds to the richness of our firm’s 90-year legacy of providing the highest caliber of service to our community.

Effective January 2020, Shayna V. Israel has been promoted to the position of Principal attorney at Skellenger Bender.  The firm is proud of Shayna’s many contributions to the Family Law Practice Group and the legal community, including her dedication to providing excellent, professional, and compassionate legal representation.

Skellenger Bender is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Bianchi has joined as Of Counsel in our Family Law Practice Group, and Sarah Jael Dion has joined the firm as Of Counsel practicing in Estate Planning and Probate. These exciting additions further Skellenger Bender’s 90-year legacy of providing the highest caliber of service to our clients, and to advancing our proud tradition of social justice.

Community Spotlight


Skellenger Bender is extremely proud of a recent victory in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the commitment and determination of two of its attorneys:  Rita Bender and Bill Bender.

The Fifth Circuit’s decision in Williams, et al. v. Reeves, et al., reverses the District Court’s Order dismissing the case, which challenged the denial of meaningful public education for African American school children in Mississippi. This decision remands the case to District Court for further proceedings.

Skellenger Bender attorneys, Rita Bender and Bill Bender, along with attorneys of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Jackson, Mississippi, and attorneys at O’Melveny & Myers in New York City, represent four mothers in Mississippi who brought the action to address the lack of uniformity in schools in Mississippi. This lack of uniformity has led to the gross underfunding of schools predominantly attended by African American children in the state. The arguments in this case are based on the promises made by the state of Mississippi as a condition of the readmission of its representatives to Congress after the Civil War. The “Readmission Act” required that Mississippi would never deprive any of its citizens of the robust school rights and privileges promised in its post-Civil War constitution. The suit alleges that in 1890, Mississippi amended its constitution with the goal of ensuring the return of white supremacy to power. The “Mississippi Plan” attempted to eliminate the black vote by: (1) tying literacy to the right to vote; and (2) deliberately withholding meaningful public education to black students. The goal was to systematically disenfranchise African American voters over many decades and generations, and was sustained by official state policy.

Rita and Bill are excited to bring this case to trial so that all children in Mississippi have equal access to education and opportunities for success.

To read the opinion or for more information, see http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/19/19-60069-CV0.pdf ; https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/04/27/splc-lawsuit-challenging-mississippis-failure-provide-uniform-public-school-system-moves, and https://www.jurist.org/news/2020/04/federal-appeals-court-allows-challenge-to-mississippi-education-system/.

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We are located in the iconic Rainier Tower in downtown Seattle. Please call or contact us today.

Skellenger Bender, P.S.
1301 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3401
Seattle, WA 98101

Main: (206) 623-6501
Fax: (206) 447-1973