Robin Balsam has been in private practice since 1984 and has 40 years of experience. She is an assertive litigator with extensive experience in 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 and their 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 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 from Stetson University School of Law in 2013.
As Executive Director of Commencement Bay Fiduciary Services, Inc., a certified professional guardianship/conservatorship agency, she is major decision-maker on investments, medical procedures, and living arrangements for individuals subject to guardianship/conservatorship and beneficiaries of trusts. She also directs the day- to-day operations of the fiduciary firm that employs three professional guardians/conservators 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 Pro Tem Court commissioner and former 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 request assistance in representing elderly, incapacitated, or disabled clients in legal matters such as personal injury, contract, and domestic litigation. Ms. Balsam's firm provides a uniquely collaborative and resourceful approach to the legal issues that confront elders and disabled people by providing a range of solutions from negotiated out-of-court agreements to traditional legal advocacy.
• 1984 to date - Washington State Bar - Attorney
• 1984 to date - U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington • 1984 to date - U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
• 1999, 2000 - Provisionally Certified Professional Guardian • 2001 to date - Washington Certified Professional Guardian • 2008 to date - Collaboratively Trained
• South Puget Sound Estate Planning Council - November 2013 to 2016
• Certified Professional Guardian Board, WSBA Representative, appointed by
Chief Justice Alexander, reappointed by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, October 2003 to September 2013; member of Standards of Practice and Ethics Committees; member and chair of Applications/Certification Committees
• Member of Advisory Committee to the Washington Department of Social and Health Services to review training program for Title 1 Guardianship guardians ad litem - 2010
• Judge Pro Tem, Pierce County - 1999 to 2008 (program discontinued in 2009 due to lack of funds)
• Commissioner Pro Tem, Pierce County Superior Court, appointed 1992-2006 (could not participate due to guardian ad litem appointments 1996-1998), 2019 to date.
• Master Barrister (Emeritus status 2009), Inns of Court - 2000 to date
• Arbitration panel member, Pierce County Court - 1991 to 2004
• Client security program, Washington State Bar Association - 1990-1996
• Pierce County guardian ad litem for guardianship, domestic and probate cases (1989-1998); also settlement guardian ad litem for injury victims
• Special Prosecutor for City of Pacific, appointed January 1990 to 1999
• Special District Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association, appointed October 1990-1993 and 1999-2004
• Tacoma/Pierce County Guardianship Committee member 1993-1996, 1998 to date. Committee Chair 2004 and 2010.
• Tacoma/Pierce County Bar Association Ad Hoc Committee on case management 1996
• Chairperson, Bench/Bar Liaison Committee Pierce County 1996 and 1997
• Chairperson - web site for Pierce County Bar. Association 1999, 2000
• Adjunct Investigative Counsel Panel Member, Board of Governors, Washington State Bar Association, October 2004-September 2009 and October 2010- September 2015
• Stetson University School of Law, LLM. Masters in Elder Law, December 2013
• Seattle University School of Law, J.D., May 1983
University of Montana 1975-1979, B.A., History, cum laude
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