My Story

In 1982, one year after graduating from the University of Washington Law School, a client allowed me to open my own office in one of his commercial buildings on Ballard Avenue.  It was a rough space, filled to the ceiling with junk, with all of its doors off of their hinges.  I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back.

Ballard Avenue looked nothing like it does today.  It seemed like every third storefront was a bar, and there was a constant progression of inebriated, but perfectly harmless, retired fishermen traversing the sidewalks.  Certain female clients insisted upon early appointments so they could leave the neighborhood before dark.

Site of Ballard Avenue office on far left.  Photo by Joe Mabel.

My first client was not only waiting for me as I moved in but also helped carry some of my heavy law books.  He was the target of a paternity suit.  I accompanied him to his blood draw and watched as technicians photographed him then glued his image to a test tube.  I am happy to say that we won the case.  But I can claim no credit.  It was all in the DNA.

I was new to the neighborhood and discovered that a good way to meet people was to patronize the neighborhood restaurants.  Many a good story was heard over a plate of Swedish Pancakes or between bites of a Bird In The Bush sandwich.

Breakfast.  Photo by Joe Mabel.


Lunch.  Photo by Joe Mabel.