April 2012 Bar Bulletin
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Profile / Sim Osborn

Fighting the Good Fight

By Susan Machler


Like most attorneys, Simeon Osborn prides himself on his ability to think on his feet and deliver a cogent argument to the court. He excels, in part, because of his natural ability to talk to anyone with ease. Yet, Osborn stood speechless in front of his most accomplished peers when he received the American Board of Trial Advocates "Trial Lawyer of the Year" award last November at the Palace Ballroom in Seattle.

Osborn accepted this honor with a mixture of emotions. He felt pride in the accomplishment, of course, and overwhelmed by the moment. But more than anything else, he was humbled. The award affirmed his 29-year career, and to be recognized by the lawyers he'd looked to for guidance and inspiration was more than he could have hoped. The long line of professional successes leading to the award includes many noteworthy cases and landmark verdicts and settlements, which have resulted in lasting effects within the legal and regulatory landscape.

Despite the lofty accolades, though, his beginnings were unassuming. A native of Shoreline, Osborn has spent most of his life right here, save for four years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, where he received his undergraduate degree in history and also played football and baseball.

Osborn also spent a semester at Portland State playing football after Whitman dropped its football program. PSU was also the setting for his initial experience with civil law that propelled him into his career. The coach at Portland State required all football players to wear a coat and tie on road trips on the team plane. Like many college students, he had little money, so he marshaled his meager finances to purchase one suit. Osborn trusted his suit to a dry cleaner, and they lost it, refusing to reimburse him for the loss.

Osborn - never one to back down - felt that the business was taking advantage of a seemingly hapless college student. Because the stakes were not small for Osborn, he took the dry cleaner to small claims court. When the court ruled in his favor, he felt empowered by the decision and was inspired to help others have their day in court. Later experiences while a student at the University of Puget Sound - now Seattle University - School of Law, clerking for the attorney general's Consumer Protection Division and Kargianis + Austin, a Seattle personal injury firm, helped Osborn on his path to becoming an advocate for those lacking a voice.

Osborn founded The Osborn Law Firm in 1995, which has since become Osborn Machler. From the beginning, the firm has taken its cues from Osborn's background fighting for consumers and those suffering from personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death, and continues to focus on those areas of litigation today.

During the course of his career, Osborn's cases have had significant ramifications, not only for the people involved, but for the community as a whole. Though each case has been important, some of the more rewarding, challenging and impactful include:

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