Congratulations to the 2017 WDTL Award Winners!
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
by: Lori O’Tool

Section: Winter 2018

Author Bio

Lori O’Tool joined the law firm of Preg O’Donnell & Gillett in 1999 and has been a partner since 2006. Lori’s practice is general insurance defense with an emphasis in construction, auto/trucking, premises, and accounting professional liability. Lori is the current President of WDTL, and has been a member of its Board of Trustees since 2010. She has also served on the non-profit boards of the Schooner Martha Foundation and Seattle Women’s Sailing Association, and is a Past President of the Board of Trustees for The Center for Wooden Boats.
WDTL was honored to host more than 40 of our esteemed Judges at its Seattle Judicial Reception on October 17,  2017 at Davis Wright Tremaine. Judges also expressed their appreciation of being provided the opportunity to meet and get to know attorneys outside of their courtrooms.

Each year at this reception, WDTL celebrates its members and bestows awards for Outstanding Defense Trial Lawyer, Outstanding Litigation Associate, Outstanding Plaintiff’s Trial Lawyer, and WDTL’s Community Leadership Award.  Nominations are submitted by WDTL members and our 18 Trustees vote for the winners.  This year was an exceptional year for Nominees.  We had standouts in each category, making the decision even more difficult for our Trustees.

I.  Outstanding Defense Trial Lawyer.  Bob Christie of the Christie Law Group, nominated by Rachel Reynolds
WDTL recognizes a member who has promoted the highest professional and ethical standards, collegiality, professional decorum, and the utmost ethical standards while practicing supreme advocacy for his or her clients.  Quoting from his nomination: “[a] trial attorney at his core, Bob has tried over 50 cases, and in so doing always emerges with the respect and admiration of his opposing counsel, usually on top of a favorable verdict. Bob’svision and creativity combined with his sharp trial acumen and relatability make him one of the most effective trial attorneys in the region.”  Bob also was a speaker at WDTL’s Annual Convention when he was in the middle of a trial!  Even more impressive was his presentation on trial technologies and his willingness to share knowledge of programs/apps available at a reasonable cost.

This year was an exceptional year for Nominees.

II. Outstanding Plaintiff’s Trial Lawyer.  Zach McIsaac of Ashbaugh Beal, nominated by Mike Guadagno
WDTL acknowledges a non-member trial attorney practicing in the plaintiff’s bar who has championed the same standards of the Outstanding Defense Trial Lawyer.  Zach’s nomination recognized his brilliance and professionalism on either side of the “v.” and his ability to think cooperatively outside the box to find the shortest path to a resolution for everyone.  When Zach received this award, we learned about his past case when he analogized to the reality TV show “Bachelor in Paradise.” This analogy both demonstrated his talents and helped him achieve settlement at mediation.

III. Outstanding Litigation Associate Award.  Holly Brauchli of Bullivant Houser Bailey, nominated by Matt Wojcik
A WDTL member who has practiced seven years or less, and along with the above identified standards, factors considered for this award include:  (1) Writing Skills; (2) Legal and Factual Analysis; (3) Oral Skills; (4) Personal Traits; (5) Dependability and Responsibility; (6) Advocacy; and (7) Pro Bono and Community Service.  The nominating attorney described Holly as a perplexing mix of old soul and true millennial, proudly marching to the beat of her own drum, while having a huge heart and a tenacious desire to do the absolute most she can for her clients.  She displays a remarkably-seasoned ability to evaluate a case (from both the 10,000 foot level and under a microscope), a writing ability well beyond most associates of her vintage, and has established herself as a formidable opponent in the civil litigation arena.  Holly is heavily involved in the WDTL, including co-chairing its Young Lawyers Committee.

IV.  Community Leadership Award.  Derek Bishop of Gordon Reese, nominated by Erin Seeberger
This award honors a WDTL member who has provided substantial support and benefit to our community through volunteering or pro bono efforts while embodying outstanding professionalism, ethics, and civic virtue.  His nomination related that every Tuesday evening for the past several years, Derek has volunteered with Seattle’s Youth Tutoring program at Highpoint Community Center. He provides academic mentorship to Seattle’s youth. This level of weekly commitment to the next generation of potential litigators in our community demonstrates utmost service and leadership. Derek also actively participates in WDTL’s public service programs.

WDTL congratulates our award recipients and also appreciates their championing standards of integrity, professionalism, and leadership in our civil litigation community while being vigorous advocates.  Additionally, WDTL greatly appreciates the generosity of Davis Wright
Tremaine for again providing a lovely event space.