Impact Litigation

At Skellenger Bender we take pride in the hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services we donate each year to social justice causes. Whether it’s serving as trial or appellate counsel or teaming up with like-minded organizations on appeals, Skellenger Bender has a long-standing tradition of involvement in high-profile legal cases that serve an important cause or purpose. Below is a sample of just a few of the landmark cases in which our attorneys have been involved:

In re Marriage of Black, 188 Wn.2d 114 (2017) – Represented amicus curiae National Center for Lesbian Rights, LGBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, and QLAW Association of Washington in case underscoring doctrine that trial court may not consider a parent’s sexual orientation as a factor in child custody determinations absent an express showing of harm to the child.

Matter of K.J.B., 187 Wn.2d 592 (2017) – Represented amicus curiae ACLU-WA, Incarcerated Mothers’ Advocacy Project, and Incarcerated Parents’ Advocacy Clinic in case involving application of mandatory factors regarding impact of parent’s incarceration on termination of parental rights.

In re Parentage of M.F., 168 Wn.2d 528 (2010) – Represented amicus curiae Legal Voice in case involving application of de facto parentage doctrine to stepparent/stepchild relationship.

In re Dependency of B.R. and T.V., 157 Wn.App. 853 (2010) – Represented mother with amicus support from Legal Voice to successfully reverse termination of mother’s parental rights based on the court’s conclusion that mother’s relationships with men who abused her, but not her children, was not sufficient evidence of parental unfitness.

King v. King, 162 Wn.2d 378 (2007) – Represented amicus curiae Northwest Women’s Law Center in case asserting constitutional right to appointed, publicly funded counsel in actions for dissolution of marriage.

Andersen v. King County, 158 Wn.2d 1 (2006) – Skellenger Bender attorneys teamed with the Northwest Women’s Law Center (now Legal Voice) and Lambda Legal to represent the courageous plaintiffs who brought suit to establish marriage equality for same-sex couples in Washington. The Northwest Women’s Law Center honored the Marriage Equality Team with its 2005 Cynthia Gillespie Award.

Parentage of L.B., 155 Wn.2d 789 (2005) – Trial counsel in landmark case establishing doctrine of de facto parentage in Washington.

Josephinium Associates v. Kahli, 111 Wn. App. 617 (2002) – Represented amicus curiae ACLU-WA in case asserting rights of disabled public housing tenant in unlawful detainer action.

City of Bremerton v. Widell, 146 Wn.2d 561 (2002) – Represented amicus curiae ACLU-WA in case challenging constitutionality of public housing authority’s anti-trespassing policy.

In re Hammermaster, 139 Wn.2d 211 (1999) – Represented amicus curiae ACLU-WA in case involving censure and suspension of municipal court judge for pattern misconduct.

State v. Finch, 137 Wn.2d 792 (1999) – Obtained reversal of sentence of death on constitutional grounds.

Nelson v. McClatchy Newspapers, Inc. – 131 Wn.2d 523 (1997) – Represented reporter improperly fired from her position due to political activities.

Feminist Women’s Health Center v. Codispoti, 118 Wn.2d 99 (1991) – Represented women’s health care facility in seeking RICO liability against anti-choice organizations who perpetrated firebombing of clinic.

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Volunteer Efforts

Our attorneys and staff also take pride in our community and volunteer hundreds of hours of their own time each year at the following organizations:

  • ACE Mentor Scholarship Program Board
  • Catholic Community Services
  • Conservation Northwest
  • Family Law Advisory Board
  • First Responders Will Clinic
  • Food Lifeline
  • Friends of Garfield Debate
  • Girl Scouts of Western Washington
  • Housing Justice Project
  • Jade Guild
  • John Hay Public School Foundation
  • King County Bar Association
  • King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinics
  • King County Bar Association Judicial Screening Committee
  • King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
  • King County Volunteer Settlement Conference Mediator
  • Legal Voice
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • Pro Bono Family Law Clinic at Sea Mar Community Health Center
  • QLaw Association (LGBT Bar Association of Washington)
  • Treehouse
  • Washington Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission
  • Woodlake Condominium Association

Skellenger Bender is proud to sponsor the following local and national organizations and their events:

  • Legal Foundation of Washington
  • King County Bar Association
  • Legal Voice
  • QLaw Association of Washington
  • Family Law CASA
  • Latina/o Bar Association of Washington
  • Loren Miller Bar Association
  • Seattle University School of Law’s Moot Court Board and Public Interest Law Foundation
  • Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Asian Bar Association of Washington
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