June 2013 Bar Bulletin
 
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June 2013 Bar Bulletin

PRO BONO AWARD: Russell Odell

By Riana Nolet and Ellen Reed

 

Russell Odell's first experience as a Neighborhood Legal Clinics (NLC) volunteer occurred during law school, when one of his supervising attorneys for his legal internship invited him to observe at the West Seattle legal clinic.

In 2005, soon after graduating, he started volunteering as an attorney at the Kent Elder Law Clinic. The Elder Law Clinics (with locations in both Seattle and Kent) are a result of a partnership between NLC and Senior Rights Assistance and provide free legal advice regarding wills, estates, probate issues and adult guardianship to low-income residents of King County.

In addition to providing pro bono legal services through direct client interaction, Odell is an active participant in both the NLC Committee and the King County Bar Association Pro Bono Services Committee. He has been the chair of the NLC Committee for the last three years, working tirelessly on committee projects, offering historical program knowledge, and creating an enjoyable environment for the committee to work in.

Fellow committee member and legal clinic attorney Michael Goldenkranz describes Odell as "far from a traditional 'delegator' - he is hands on. When we needed to check out an alternative venue recently to expand to Renton, Russ helped locate and visit venues, and did the same when we unexpectedly lost a treasured venue in the Greenwood area.

"I have seen Russ guide the King County Bar staff and the many attorneys and legal assistants on both the committee and its subcommittee despite daunting budgetary and logistical challenges," Goldenkranz continued, "with keen insight, hard questions, and sometimes difficult recommendations, but all done with respect, a positive can-do outlook, a wonderful and disarming sense of humor, and a most contagious and easy laugh."

Odell is a solo practitioner in Bellevue, where he works primarily in the areas of business law, contracts, estates and trusts, and real estate law. Prior to earning his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000, he graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in mathematics. Odell grew up in New York and Western Washington, graduating from Shorewood High School.

Outside of the Neighborhood Legal Clinics, Odell takes on additional pro bono and reduced-fee cases, and since 2007 has coached the Jefferson Community Center's Mock Court Trial Team. The students in the program are from an under-resourced community and they compete against established high schools. In his free time, he loves watching baseball with his wife Joyce.


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