Shannon
Kilpatrick
Member

 Shannon Kilpatrick
About Shannon Kilpatrick

I grew up saying I would never be a lawyer. My father was a lawyer (he’s retired now), and I was going through a rebellious phase—a phase that apparently lasted until my mid-twenties when I finally had to admit that maybe going to law school was what I wanted to do. I worked as a legal assistant for my dad for a few years to help me decide, and that gave me the chance to work on cases involving personal injury, insurer misconduct, and legal malpractice. It was rewarding to help people work their way through the often-confusing legal system to get them a measure of justice for the harms done to them.

At age 28 I moved to Milwaukee, WI to attend Marquette University Law School. In many ways, I loved law school. I loved learning, thinking, and talking about the law and what the law should be. I was (and still am) your classic legal nerd.

In law school, I was lucky enough to land a judicial externship at the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. It was my first practical introduction to the kind of change that can be created by the decisions of the appellate courts. Appellate court decisions affect more than just the case being decided—they can also impact every other case that has a similar issue. In one fell swoop, the direction of the law could be changed, for good or bad.

After graduation, I served as a judicial law clerk for Justice Debra Stephens on the Washington Supreme Court where I assisted with legal research and drafting of opinions. As the highest court in the state, the Supreme Court says what the law is. It handles so many interesting and often difficult issues. I loved feeling like I played a small part in an institution much greater than myself. It also gave me great insight into how judges look at and think about cases.

After my clerkship ended, I had the opportunity to work with my dad for five years. I never planned for that to happen, but thanks to the economy in 2009, I didn’t have a lot of other options. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got to learn from one of the best, and I always felt like I was doing good by helping people stand up for their rights.

While most of the work I’ve done has been in the trial courts representing individuals and small businesses, I always kept one foot in the world of appeals by either directly handling appeals or consulting with other lawyers on their appeals. My greatest strengths are legal writing, analysis, and research. Good legal writing is an important but often undervalued skill, and it takes a lifetime to master. I love being handed a difficult legal issue, digging in, figuring out the answer, and then explaining the answer.

In 2018 I began serving as a court-appointed arbitrator for King, Snohomish, and Kitsap County Superior Courts. In those cases, the injured parties have smaller damages and decide to go with arbitration because it’s a faster and cheaper process. I enjoy those cases because as an arbitrator, I exercise a different part of my “legal brain.” I’m no longer an advocate trying to convince a judge why my client should win. Instead, I’m a neutral decisionmaker tasked with coming up with the fairest resolution of the case based on the evidence presented.

To me, the law is like a puzzle. My job is to figure out where and how each client’s case fits in the larger legal context. And if it doesn’t fit, then I figure out how to advocate for change in the law so that the powerful can be held accountable and individuals get their day in court.

For more details about Shannon, please visit her personal website.

Note: Like every person, each case is unique. Prior case results should not create expectations of an outcome in any individual case.

Outside
the Office

In my spare time, I serve on the Board of Directors of Homeward Pet Adoption Center, a shelter for dogs and cats in Woodinville, WA. I also volunteer there in the cat room. My husband and I love to travel and are long-suffering Mariners fans and season ticket holders. We live in Duvall with our cat, Hannah.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
  • Washington Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2012-2019
  • Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), Pro Bono Service Commendation, 2010, 2012
  • Graduated cum laude from Marquette University Law School, 2008
MEMBERSHIPS & LEADERSHIP
  • Washington State Bar Association, 2009-present
  • US District Court for the Western District of WA, 2010-present
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2010-present
  • King County Bar Association, 2010-present
  • Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), 2009-present
  • Washington Women Lawyers, 2008-present
  • WSAJ Diversity Committee, 2018-present
  • WSAJ Judicial Relations Committee, 2014-2021
  • WSBA Civil Litigation Rules Drafting Task Force, 2017-2018
  • Chair, WSBA Court Rules & Procedures Committee, 2015-2018
  • Justice Charlie Wiggins Re-Election Campaign Finance Committee, 2015-2016
  • WSAJ Board of Governors, 2013-present
  • WSBA Admission to Practice Rules Task Force, 2011-2012
  • WSBA Court Rules & Procedures Committee, 2011-2015
RECENT PUBLICATIONS & SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
  • Co-Author, Part II, Chapter 6 Gender Impacts in Civil Proceedings as They Relate to Economic Consequences Including Fee Awards and Wrongful Death, WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT GENDER AND JUSTICE COMMISSION, 2021 GENDER JUSTICE STUDY (2021).
  • Speaker, Legal Staff Brown Bag Seminar, New Civil Arbitration Updates: Tips from an Arbitrator’s Perspective, WSAJ (January 2020).
  • Author, Five Tips for Writing Appellate Briefs, Trial News, Vol. 55-4 (December 2019).
  • Motor Vehicle Litigation Deskbook, Co-Editor-in-Chief, WSAJ (2018).
  • Author, Volume II, Chapter 5(A): Bad Faith Litigation, Motor Vehicle Litigation Deskbook, WSAJ (2018).
  • Speaker, SGAL Training Program, “Insurance Coverage Issues and Adequate Damages,” KCBA (2018).
  • Speaker, Annual Insurance Law Seminar, “Successfully and Ethically Recovering Attorney Fees,” WSAJ (2018).
  • Co-Author, Persistence Pays Off: Washington Supreme Court Holds Efficient Proximate Cause Analysis Applies to Duty to Defend in Liability Policies, Trial News, Vol. 53-3 (November 2017).
  • Speaker, WSAJ East King County Roundtable, Preservation of Error (2017).
  • Speaker, Annual Insurance Law Seminar, “Damages: Scope, Limits and Proving Causation in Insurance Cases,” WSAJ (2017).
  • Speaker, Annual Convention, “Making Insurers Pay Their Fair Share,” WSAJ (2016).
  • Speaker, Annual Insurance Law Seminar, “Focus on Discovery in First Party Bad Faith Litigation,” WSAJ (2016).
  • Speaker, Annual Insurance Law Seminar, Discovery of Insurer Claim Files after Cedell,” WSAJ (2015).
  • Speaker, Annual Convention, “MAR Fee Requests in the Post-Berryman World,” WSAJ (2014).
  • Author, Sounding the Alarm: Is Diversity Jurisdiction Interfering with Washington State’s Development of Its Own Body of Law Related to the Insurance Fair Conduct Act? 49 Gonzaga Law Review 553 (2014).
  • Speaker, Annual Insurance Law Seminar, “Examinations Under Oath in the Post-Staples v. Allstate World,” WSAJ (2014).
  • Speaker, Auto Insurance and the Law, “Types of Insurance Policies and Requirements by State Law,” The Seminar Group (2013).
  • Speaker, Annual Insurance Law Seminar, “Getting Burned: Examinations Under Oath Are More Dangerous Than You Think,” WSAJ (2013).

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