Robin Balsam

Collaborative Law Professionals of Pierce County

911 South I Street
Tacoma, Washington 98405
United States
Office Phone: 253-627-7800
Member since 2007
Membership Type: IACP



Robin Balsam has been in private practice since 1984 and has 29 years of experience. She is an assertive litigator with extensive experience in highly contested probates, will contests, uncovering and pursuing perpetrators of fiduciary fraud and elder abuse, complicated guardianships, trusts, estates, and other related matters.

Her practice has emphasized guardianship, trust, probate and representing families with special needs since 1993. Ms. Balsam has chaired and spoken at legal seminars on various aspects of these practice areas as well as related ethical issues since 1998. She handles complex guardianship, trust, and probate problems; represents other fiduciaries in various roles; and engages in many aspects of personal injury settlement trust work. Her work also includes representation of families with special needs, as well as practical experience in defense against allegations or findings by Adult Protective Services and recovery of assets for victims of elder abuse or exploitation. She received an LL.M. Masters in Elder Law at Stetson University School of Law in 2013.

As Director of Commencement Bay Guardianship Services, a certified professional guardian agency, she is the major decision-maker on investments, medical procedures, living arrangements and purchases for incapacitated people and trust beneficiaries. She also directs the day-to-day operations of the guardianship agency employing four professional guardians and support staff along with a three-attorney law firm.

In addition to extensive litigation experience, Ms. Balsam is also collaboratively trained and has experience as a mediator. She is a former Pro Tem Court Commissioner and Pro Tem Judge for Pierce County Superior Court. Ms. Balsam has a number of professional affiliations, and frequently acts as associate counsel to other attorneys who are not experienced in representing the elderly, incapacitated and disabled in legal matters such as personal injury, contract and domestic litigation.

Area(s) of Practice: Primary Practice Areas *Guardianships *Probate *Trust Other Practice Areas: *Collaborative Law & Mediation *Estate Planning *Fiduciary Representation *Forensic Accounting *Professional Guardians *Vulnerable Adult Protection Actions *Will Contests
License(s): Washington State Bar Association: 1984 U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington: 1984 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: 1984 Provisionally Certified Professional Guardian: 1999-2000 Washington Certified Professional Guardian: 2001 to date

Professional Activities

Current Affiliations/Memberships: *National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) *Elder Law Section of Washington State Bar Association *Washington Professional Guardian Association *Guardianship section of Pierce County Bar Association *Tacoma/Pierce County Bar Association Guardianship Committee, 1993-1996 and 1998 to date; chair of Committee 2004 and 2010 *Adjunct Investigative Counsel Panel Member, Board of Governors, Washington State Bar Association; 2004-2009 and 2010-2015 *Master Barrister (emeritus status 2009), Inns of Court; 2000 to date *Collaborative Law Professionals of Pierce County, 2006 to date *International Academy of Collaborative Law Professionals, 2008 to date Previous Bar/Professional Activity: *Certified Professional Guardian Board, WSBA Representative, October 2003 – September 2013 *Member of Advisory Committee to the Washington Department of Social and Health Services to review training programs for Title 11 Guardianship guardians ad litem, 2010 *Special District Counsel for Washington State Bar Association, 1990-1993 and 1999-2004 *Arbitration Panel member, Pierce County Superior Court, 1991-2004 *Pierce County Settlement Guardian ad Litem for injury victims, 1989-1998 *Pierce County Guardian ad Litem for guardianship, domestic and probate cases, 1989-1998

Undergraduate Education

B.A. in History, cum laude, University of Montana, 1979

Postgraduate Education

LL.M Masters in Elder Law, Stetson University School of Law, 2013

Professional Education

Juris Doctor, UPS Law School, Seattle University, 1983


Robin H. Balsam P.S. strives to provide a uniquely collaborative and resourceful approach to legal issues that confront elders, disabled people and their families by providing a range of solutions from negotiated out-of-court agreements to aggressive legal representation in court. The means of resolving a matter is dictated by the facts and client goals. Through collaboration clients benefit from the diverse backgrounds and experience of the firm’s attorneys, along with accessibility to more than one attorney who is familiar with their matter. This approach often lends itself to quicker resolution of matters and creative, thorough solutions which, depending on the facts and client’s goals, may avoid traditional adversarial litigation. The collaborative approach to dispute resolution utilizes attorneys and other professionals to help parties reach resolution without going to court. Resolution is not imposed by a third party; rather, with the respect, support, and guidance of attorneys and other professionals, the parties negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement. Mediation is a process whereby opposing parties work with an independent third party who seeks to facilitate agreement among the parties. Agreement is voluntary and the mediator does not impose her opinions on the decision. Mediation may be chosen over other channels of dispute resolution, such as court proceedings, because it is generally less expensive, takes less time, is confidential, and offers more flexibility in options for resolution.