Lynn Johnson

945 Fawcett Avenue, Suite C
Tacoma, Washington 98402
United States
Office Phone: 253-383-3333
Member since 2006
Membership Type: IACP


Area(s) of Practice: Collaborative Law, Family Law, Mediation
License(s): Admitted to Washington State Bar Association 1981

Professional Activities

2006/2006 President Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association ~Serve as Pro Tem Commissioner for the Pierce County Superior Court since 2005 ~

Undergraduate Education

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA in Philosophy

Postgraduate Education

University of Puget Sound Law School, JD, admitted to Washington State Bar Association in 1981

Professional Education

Mediation Training, University of Washington 1997


A Revolution, By Lynn Johnson As pubished in the April 2006 Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association Newsletter There is a revolution taking place. Perhaps it is more evolution than revolution. For some it feels like a revolution, while for others it is so foreign that it will never evolve beyond a mere concept. We all recall the day we raised our right hand and swore to be 'zealous advocates'. Now, reconcile that with a new oath of 'do no harm.' You do see the conflict, right? Let me continue. Now try this on: 'therapeutic jurisprudence' and 'preventative law'. No, I am not referencing the time you've spent in therapy after a particularly awe- inspiring defeat or running from the courthouse silently screaming 'Run away! Run away!' 'Therapeutic jurisprudence studies the intended, as well as unintended therapeutic consequences of peoples involvement with law and the courts. Preventive law looks at the responsibility of lawyers to anticipate and assist their clients to plan for avoidable legal difficulties likely to arise in the future.'1 The revolution is taking place in the form of 'Collaborative Law'. For those of you who have no idea what I am writing about, good! It's time to hear about this because it has arrived in Tacoma and Pierce County and it is spreading among your colleagues. Look for some of the 'old dogs' with a new gleam in their eye and for those on the edge of burn-out who now find excitement and challenge in learning a 'new way'. Collaborative lawyers will be engaging in a form of therapeutic jurisprudence. Tell me more, you say? I will attempt to summarize the 'paradigm shift' that is collaborative law and is required by it, but I cannot do it justice in this short space. There was a beginning-1991 and an attorney named Stu Webb. Then he found strong support in San Francisco attorney Pauline H. Tesler. She has written the bible: Collaborative Law-Achieving Effective Resolution in Divorce Without Litigation. No, it's not 'mediation' or 'settling out of court'. It's like no other alternative dispute resolution you've done. The one irreducible minimum condition is that both counsel and both parties sign agreements that they will not go to court to resolve their issues and should any party break the commitment both counsel are required to withdraw and the parties have to start all over again. This also applies to any expert employed to assist the parties. Experts become 'neutral' participants. 'With experience, collaborative lawyers learn to behave in ways that significantly enhance the clients' ability to achieve their stated goal of amicable settlement. These behaviors differ dramatically from how lawyers learn to behave in law school and in conventional litigation practice. Effective collaborative lawyers exhibit thought processes, attitudes, and skills entirely different from the armaments of a trial lawyer. Many collaborative lawyers report that as they embark upon learning this new craft, their understanding of the dynamics of divorce and appropriate role of lawyers in the divorce process undergoes profound shifts. These lawyers report that their clients are far more satisfied, relations with fellow collaborative attorneys become remarkably cordial, negotiations are characterized by persistent creativity, ‘outside the box' thinking among all participants becomes commonplace, and the lawyer's sense of integration and satisfaction in their work expands exponentially. Clients report that their attitudes about lawyers undergo positive transformation during collaborative representation. Much to their surprise, the divorce process becomes a learning experience with rewarding and even enjoyable moments, and the collaborative process leaves them with a sense of a job well done, enhanced problem-solving and communication skills, and a feeling of optimism about resolving future issues with the former spouse.'2 Pauline Tesler's book talks about transforming yourself and provides the stages for 'retooling' yourself. Thirty Tacoma-Pierce County attorneys and one judge began this 'retooling' paradigm shift in the middle of February by attending a seminar taught by Ms. Tesler. Felicia Malsby became a convert a couple of years ago and is leading the organization efforts here and now. A Pierce County collaborative law group is forming with 'voted-on' requirements. This paradigm shift may be taking place in family law but the application of its principles is not limited to family law. Think creatively; just ponder it for a minute. The beginner's mind does have a place, again. __________________________________________________ 1 Dennis P. Stolle, David B. Wexler and Bruce J. Winick, Practicing Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Law as a Helping Profession (2000) 2 Collaborative Law, Pauline H. Tesler (2001), pages four and five.