OUTSTANDING LAWYER: Carl E. Forsberg
By A. Grant Lingg
As a law student, and later as an associate and shareholder of Forsberg & Umlauf for the past 21 years, I have had the great fortune to witness Carl Forsberg's incredible devotion to the practice of law.
His sense of service to his clients is boundless. He talks about his clients over dinner. He talks about his clients over lunch. He talks about them in emails while on vacation. He talks about them on Monday mornings when the rest of us want to talk about the Seahawks.
This is not to say that Forsberg is a one-trick pony, incapable of communicating effectively about subjects other than the law. Rather, it is a monument to the passion by which he practices after nearly 30 years of service as a lawyer.
Forsberg was born and raised in Alaska, and following law school served as an assistant district attorney in Anchorage. There he cut his teeth trying criminal cases, not only in Anchorage, but in remote locations where attorneys and judges had to be flown in to conduct trials. Forsberg recounts many stories of trials held in strange buildings in remote locations where it was nearly impossible to select a jury that did not include friends or family members of either the accused or the victim. These trials spurred a lifelong study and passion for trial presentation skills and paved his way for future success as a civil attorney.
Later, Forsberg joined the Alaska firm of Bradbury, Bliss & Reardon, which had opened a Seattle office. Forsberg eventually made his way here. In 1993, he formed his own law firm - Forsberg & Umlauf - with good friends and colleagues Roy Umlauf, Terry Cullen, Pat Middleton and Dean Lum. He has continued to serve as a member of the firm's executive committee and has been president of Forsberg & Umlauf for more than half of the firm's life. As Forsberg & Umlauf enters its 20th year, Forsberg has overseen its growth from a small firm of five shareholders to a firm with 13 shareholders and more than 30 attorneys.
Since Forsberg arrived in Seattle in the late 1980s, his devotion to the local bar has been remarkable and he has served on a number of King County Bar Association task forces and committees. These include the Judicial Evaluation Committee; the Judicial Screening Committee, which he co-chaired; the CLE Advisory Committee; and the Judicial Conferencing Committee. He was also proud to have served as a KCBA trustee from 2006–08.
However, Forsberg's true gift to the lawyers in King County may be his seemingly endless devotion of time and effort to improve other lawyers. Forsberg has chaired or presented at no fewer than 20 CLEs since 2005 alone. He also has been an instructor of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) since 1997.
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