We provide effective counsel across a wide variety of practice areas including Family Law, Government Investigations and Criminal Law, LGBTQIA+ Legal Issues, Mediation and Arbitration, Appellate Law, Professional Ethics and Discipline, and Trusts and Estates.
Skellenger Bender attorneys 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. We enjoy the deep satisfaction of providing representation to adoptive and birth parents with dignity and respect for each of their circumstances.
Our attorneys are also respected for their expertise in the evolving field of assisted reproduction law. We provide advice and representation regarding known and unknown egg donor, donor insemination, and embryo donation agreements, as well as surrogacy arrangements.
Skellenger Bender attorneys assist clients both at the trial and appellate levels of our state and federal courts. Judge Beth M. Andrus (ret.), a retired trial and appellate judge, is available to consult with parties regarding possible or pending appeals in the areas of employment, commercial, construction and intellectual property law. Family and appellate law attorney Caleb O. Bonm, and criminal and appellate law attorney Peter A. Offenbecher, lend their respective expertise to any family law or criminal law appeal.
Skellenger Bender attorneys are dedicated to civil rights in both our personal and professional lives. Since our founding in 1928, our attorneys have provided excellent representation in thousands of hours of pro bono legal services to various social justice causes, including challenging discriminatory hiring practices in the building trades, protecting farm worker rights, and protecting women’s rights to reproductive health. Most recently, our attorneys have joined other organizations to fight for LGBTQIA+ justice, family protection and marriage equality in Washington state and federal courts. Rita and Bill Bender have served as counsel in federal court litigation in Mississippi, challenging the historic inequities in public education for Black children. And since joining the firm in 2022, Jennifer Wellman’s civil practice has focused on helping people who have had their civil rights violated by government or police misconduct, including prisoners, as well as helping people who have unjustly suffered other forms of harassment or retaliation, such as defamation lawsuits.
Skellenger Bender attorneys skillfully, respectfully, and compassionately handle all aspects of family law including, but not limited to, marital dissolutions and related property division, custody, child support, and spousal maintenance matters. We have a wealth of experience helping clients navigate cases involving complex financial estates, as well as high conflict custody situations. We also represent unmarried persons and domestic partners on matters of property rights and parenting. While separation and divorce can be difficult transitions, our depth of knowledge and conscientious advocacy helps address the burdens of family disputes, allowing clients to feel more at ease as they move forward with their lives.
Skellenger Bender attorneys are experienced in handling child welfare matters. We are passionate about ensuring that parents and children stay connected and reunite quickly, and offer our clients the strong support and tenacious advocacy they need to navigate an emotional and confusing time.
We represent individuals accused of abuse and neglect by Child Protective Services (CPS), including dependency and termination proceedings in court, as well as administrative proceedings to challenge founded findings of abuse and neglect by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) – CAPTA findings. Our attorneys also represent families in guardianship, minor guardianship, and reinstatement of parental rights cases.
Skellenger Bender attorneys provide legal advice and representation to businesses and individuals facing investigations and inquiries from regulatory agencies and criminal investigations and charges. Our attorneys have handled criminal matters arising out of environmental regulation, governmental procurements, import and export activities, insurance and bank fraud, health care fraud, embezzlement, currency reporting, corporate governance issues, and the full spectrum of other federal and state criminal matters. The earliest possible legal consultation and advice is prudent when a business or individual is faced with a potential regulatory or criminal investigation. If agency or court defense become necessary, our attorneys have the trial skills and experience necessary to vigorously defend our clients’ interests.
For decades, Skellenger Bender attorneys have steadfastly promoted the interests of LGBTQIA+ individuals and families. Our attorneys assist such individuals and their families with estate planning, family formation (including adoption and assisted reproduction), parentage, divorce and separation, child custody, child support, criminal defense, and employment issues. We recognize the legal issues that are unique to our LGBTQIA+ clients, and are experienced in handling these matters with care and compassion.
Clients receive the benefit and knowledge of our experienced attorneys who are leaders in both local and national LGBTQIA+ legal organizations including QLaw, the National LGBT Bar Association’s Family Law Institute, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Our attorneys regularly speak throughout the state and nation on legal issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community, author various publications regarding LGBTQIA+ legal issues, and donate time to advance important impact litigation promoting the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families. We are proud of our breadth of knowledge in this area, as well as our unwavering commitment to LGBTQIA+ persons.
Every dispute is unique and requires an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that is responsive to the needs of the parties and designed to achieve resolution. Skellenger Bender attorneys are committed to this core principle and bring extensive experience providing effective civil mediation and arbitration services in a wide variety of subject areas.
Judge Beth M. Andrus (ret.):
Judge Andrus (ret.) has extensive experience as a neutral decision-maker and mediator from her years in private practice and as a well-respected trial and appellate judge. Before taking the bench, Judge Andrus (ret.) served as arbitrator on commercial and construction matters. While on the bench, Andrus conducted settlement conferences in commercial, real estate, class actions, and other general civil matters. Judge Andrus (ret.) will accept private arbitrations and mediations in a wide variety of subject areas, with a focus on commercial and construction law disputes.
William J. Bender:
Mr. Bender has provided civil mediation and arbitration services for over 20 years and has a proven track record of helping parties resolve disputes without resort to expensive and often risky litigation. Mr. Bender is a Panel Member for the American Arbitration Association, frequently serving on commercial litigation, simple and complex construction, and international commercial matters as a sole arbitrator and on three arbitrator panels. He also arbitrates for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and is chairman qualified as a “Public Arbitrator” to lead panels in these cases. He also handles cases for various mass tort arbitration panels such as the various asbestos trusts. In addition to providing arbitration services, Mr. Bender provides mediation services for these organizations. Mr. Bender will also accept private arbitrations and mediations in a wide variety of subject areas, drawing upon his 40 years of commercial law practice.
Skellenger Bender attorneys assist parties to resolve family law disputes through mediation and arbitration. We bring solid legal experience, creativity, and heart to all of our cases. We appreciate that every case is different and tailor our approach to the unique needs of the people we serve.
Mediation is a voluntary process that allows parties to have control over the outcome of their family law matter with the assistance of a third-party neutral. Our mediators are seasoned family law attorneys who use their depth of experience and knowledge to facilitate practical settlements for parties in contested family law matters.
In the event parties are unable to reach a resolution through mediation or otherwise want a decision without a formal court appearance, they can submit disputes for resolution in arbitration. Arbitration is a flexible tool that allows for parties to obtain a decision regarding a family law matter without having to appear in court.
Skellenger Bender attorneys provide a broad range of legal services tailored to the professional practices of medical and mental health professionals, architects, and other design professionals. Our attorneys also provide services tailored to the defense of attorneys in disciplinary proceedings before the Washington State Bar Association. We offer advice on issues of professional ethics and risk management, as well as representation in disciplinary and licensing matters and at mediation, arbitration, litigation, and in other dispute resolution forums. We take pride in keeping ourselves updated on the latest state and federal regulations and ethical rules applicable to these practices in order to assist in addressing emerging issues.
Skellenger Bender attorneys provide assistance with a wide-range of estate planning needs. Our attorneys provide advice concerning the fiduciary duties of trustees and personal representatives, prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives and other planning documents, handle Guardianships, assist with planning for complex family structures such as multi-parent and blended families, and help address the unique planning considerations facing LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families.
Practice Group Counsel
Skellenger Bender, P.S.
520 Pike Street, Suite 1001
Seattle, WA 98101