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Lish Whitson



Introducing Lish Whitson ...

"In spite of his long list of accomplishments and recognitions, Lish remains one of the most unpretentious people you will ever meet. A straight shooter, he puts the cards on the table--face up--and tells it like it is, but always in a gracious and temperate way."  - R. Craig Smith, KCBA Bar Bulletin


"He is a great litigator, a great lawyer and a great human being."

- William Kinzel, principal, Kinzel, Allen, Skone and Searing


"Lish has fought hard and largely prevailed with many of his clients still alive today because he took care of their cases." - Laura Jaeger; WSTLA Trial News, Dec. 1998


" I was referred to Lish Whitson by a friend who is a lawyer. She cited his compassion, professionalism, and superb skills as a litigator. I couldn't agree more. From beginning to end, Lish was accessible, compassionate, honest and knowledgeable--providing thorough explanations of what was to be expected. I highly recommend him." - Karen, Former Client [Avvo]




Lish’s practice has emphasized litigation in Commercial, Medical Malpractice, Health Care, Construction, Employment, Product Liability, Consumer Class Action and Personal Injury law. He has also litigated matters involving intellectual property, administrative, antitrust, criminal, defamation,  environmental, insurance and real property law. In addition, Lish is a very successful Mediator and Arbitrator with more than 20 years of experience. He also serves as an arbitrator and mediator with the American Arbitration Association and as a 39.1 mediator for the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Before attending graduate school and then law school, Lish served in the United States Peace Corps in Afghanistan as an English and pottery teacher. After graduating from the University of Washington School of Law, Lish practiced for three years with The Public Defender Association. Lish has practiced with the firms of Stokes Lawrence, PS, Badgley~Mullins Law Group and Helsell Fetterman, LLP.  He presently has his own firm, Lish Whitson PLLC.

In 1989, Lish first began helping people who had conflicts with their health care insurers. He was asked to represent a 29-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer. Her treating doctors believed her only hope for long-term survival was treatment for which her insurance company refused to pay. Lish has counseled and/or represented well over 400 people with health care and long term disability concerns since beginning this work.

The King County Bar Association awarded Lish The 2000 Outstanding Lawyer Award. In 1993 he received the King County Bar’s Pro Bono Award for his work representing women seeking treatment for breast cancer. He recently served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. Since 2000, the Commission, in partnership with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, has sponsored a project that presents seminars around the country on the legal needs of women with breast cancer and other forms of catastrophic illnesses. Lish and other speakers have trained attorneys from around the nation on how to represent women with breast cancer who are in need of treatment and care. He has presented the program in New York, NY, San Diego, CA, Chicago, IL, Anchorage, AK, Portland, OR, Albuquerque, NM, Philadelphia, PA, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, FL and Eunice and Baton Rouge, LA.

Lish and a colleague worked with the Washington State Insurance Commissioner in 1994 to draft and get legislative approval for making preliminary injunctions more accessible to people with health care needs. He led a team of attorneys that successfully brought a class action lawsuit and kept a health insurer in the state until all the insured state residents could find alternative quality health insurance. He worked with the drafters of the Washington State “Patient Bill of Rights” with the hope of helping to broaden the rights of the average citizen in Washington State to access quality health care. Lish has twice been a member of the King County Medical Society/King County Bar Association Medical/Legal Committee. He is a past chair of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association‘s Professional Negligence Committee.

Lish’s community involvement includes being past President of the Boards of Allied Arts of Seattle, the Defender Association, and the Downtown Emergency Service Center (the largest shelter and advocacy organization for the homeless in the Northwest). He is past chair of the Marrowstone Summer Music Festival, a component of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras. He is the immediate past-President of the Board of Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. He is also a current member of the Allied Arts Foundation and serves as its President.

Lish has twice been a member of the King County Medical Society/King County Bar Association Medical/Legal Committee. He is a past chair of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association‘s Professional Negligence Committee. He is the past President of the University of Washington School of Law Alumni Association, which gave him its Service Recognition Award in October of 2002. He has been listed in Who’s Who in American Law for more than a decade. Since 2000, he has been chosen every year by other lawyers in Washington State as one of Washington’s top 100 “Super Lawyers” as reported in the periodical Law & Politics. He has been listed in Martindale & Hubble‘s lawyers directory with its top rating of “AV” for more than two decades.

Lish has served on and chaired numerous committees with various Bar Associations over the past 25 years, including serving on the Washington Judicial Council Task Force that drafted the initial Rules of Evidence for Washington. He is a past President of the King County Bar Young Lawyers Section and a past Trustee of the King County Bar. He is also a past Governor of the Washington State Bar Association. He recently served on the King County Bar’s Professionalism and Lawyer Referral Service Committees and the Washington State Bar’s Judicial Recommendation Committee. He sits as a Special Hearing Officer in disciplinary matters for the WSBA and co-chairs, with a member of the State Supreme Court, the WSBA Local Rules Task Force. In 2008, he was elected to the Oregon State Bar House of Delegates.

He is a past-chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral & Information Services and continues to work for the committee as a volunteer consultant. As noted above, he is a past member of the Commission on Women in the Profession and continues to volunteer as a lecturer on breast cancer issues. He served as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight and the Editorial Board of the ABA/BNA Lawyer’s Manual on Professional Conduct. He also recently chaired an ABA Presidential Task Force on a Model Definition of the Practice of Law and has been a member of the ABA House of Delegates.

Lish is a member of the Washington State, Oregon State, Federal, American and King County Bar Associations as well as the American Judicature Society. He is a past President of the King County Bar Young Lawyers Section and a past Trustee of the King County Bar. He is also a past Governor of the Washington State Bar Association.

He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the King County Bar Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers which is dedicated to maintaining and improving the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the profession. He is an associate in and a Washington State Chapter Representative to the National Board of the American Board of Trial Advocates which was started 50 years ago to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy to the end that individual litigants may receive more effective representation and the general public be benefited by more efficient administration of justice consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation.

He is a charter fellow of Litigation Council of America, created to promote superior advocacy and ethical standards in the practice of law and to assist in community involvement by its membership. He is also a member of the William Dwyer Inn of Court in Seattle. The American Inns of Court around the country are designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar.

He has lectured and written extensively on trial practice, evidence, ethics and professionalism and he has taught on the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) Northwest Regional programs in Trial Advocacy and Deposition Practice and on the national faculty of the Trial Skills Session at the NITA Education Center in Louisville, Colorado. In 2006, he will be a part-time lecturer in trial advocacy at the University of Washington School of Law.

He is admitted to practice in the state courts of Washington and Oregon and is also admitted to the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, 1973; the U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington, 1976; the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, 1976; and the United States Supreme Court, 1977.

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