Attorney Profiles


Few attorneys approach a case from a legislative and litigation perspective, mostly because other lawyers have not worked in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government. I have that varied experience.

Before law school in the late 80's, I was a social worker advocating for victims rights and working in an alternative school with kids who had been removed from public school. During law school, I worked for a superior court judge and after law school joined a personal injury litigation firm where I became a partner. I litigated products liability matters, medical malpractice claims, auto accidents, civil rights and employment cases in federal and state courts. I mediated and arbitrated hundreds of claims. I handled matters in the court of appeals and Supreme Court of Washington. After almost ten years in private practice, I went to work in the Washington State Senate where I advised republican and democrat members on a variety of health care and human services issues. I also advised on civil litigation matters.

Several years later, I was hired at the Department of Social and Health Services during Dennis Braddock's tenure as his policy lawyer. I worked agency request legislation on behalf of the department and with the Governor's office. Ultimately, I returned to private practice where I have focused on multifaceted cases where government interfaces with private businesses and individuals either through a license or regulation.

Every case I take on, I analyze all the options and develop a strategy that achieves a desired end either by challenging the law or changing the law, whatever is necessary. I do not have an exclusive practice area as my specialty is undertaking challenging and complex cases that require thinking outside the box.

Click here for more information on case experience.

Joan K. Mell

Areas of Practice
Civil Rights
Government Agencies & Programs
Health & Health Care Law
   Litigation & Appeals
    Medical Malpractice
Motor Vehicle Accidents - Plaintiff
Personal Injury - Defense
Personal Injury - Plaintiff

University of Puget Sound, JD 1991

University of Montana, BA 1986

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit, 1991

United States Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit

Washington State Bar Association, 1991

Committee Affiliations
Washington State Bar Association:
Legislative, Bench-Bar-Press
Washington State Trial Lawyers






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