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Stephen Hayes Carpenter JR

Stephen Hayes Carpenter JR

also known as Court & Carpenter

Practice areas:

Military Law

About Me


Stephen H. Carpenter, Jr., has advocated in courtrooms for over twenty years.  He has been ranked from 2009-2015 by one ranking service as one of the best three civilian military defense lawyers in the country. In 2015, recognized Stephen as the highest rated "military law" attorney, based on client reviews, in the country. Mr. Carpenter is a former U.S. Marine Corps and Army JAG Officer.

Stephen routinely offers his time for broadcasts on National Public Radio (NPR), Q13 Fox News, KING Radio, and King 5 News.

For over a decade, Stephen has successfully defended members from the rank of E-1 to O-6. He has represented scores of grateful Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coasties, and Airmen. He has likewise published several articles about the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for legal periodicals. 

Mr, Carpenter has taught at several local and regional conferences hosted by military lawyers. He enjoys teaching trial advocacy. By way of example, Stephen served as Adjunct Professor in Trial Advocacy at the University of Washington, School of Law. He has also presided as a mock appellate judge during the school's Appellate Advocacy Competitions. In 2003, U.S. Department of Justice certified him, in criminal law, at its National Advocacy School. The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) certified him a “Trial Advocacy Trainer” in 2008.

Stephen benefited from specialized law enforcement training on the Reid Interview & Interrogation Techniques. This insider-perspective has empowered his cross-examinations of federal OSI, CID, NCIS and CGIS agents who have undergone Reid training.

This lawyer formerly served as the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Washington State Bar Section’s Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP). Stephen is a member in good standing with the Washington State Supreme Court, both U.S. District Courts of the State of Washington, and the U.S. Federal Claims Court. Mr. Carpenter has been admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, the Navy and Marine Corps Courts of Criminal Appeals, and finally, the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals, as a matter of right.  

His legal tenacity resulted in one of his proudest moments, to date, when on February 25, 2012, the New York Times profiled his client's case in "Branding a Soldier with Personality Disorder."  Finally, national news organizations have often sought his opinions on military matters implicating high-profile cases. 

Court & Carpenter is the only civilian military firm with legal offices in the United States and Europe. Specifically, the firm maintains offices in Seattle and Stuttgart. The dual location makes it extraordinary convenient for uniformed members to access legal guidance in a prompt and geographically advantageous way; instead of enduring excruciating hours, and sometimes days, before other stateside civilian defense lawyers return calls from inconvenient time-zones. Additionally, often times firms may "pass along" costly travel expenses for flying halfway around the world to Germany, Italy and England. Meanwhile Court & Carpenter is conveniently located "next door" in Europe, and thus does not "pass along" those exorbitant travel expenses. Finally, the firm's lawyers speak German, while other lawyers, who do not speak the language, naïvely attempt to rely on government translators to comprehend German witnesses and police.

Court & Carpenter simply does not leave anything to chance when so much is at stake.

Stephen enjoys golf, skiing and chess, and speaks German.




Languages Spoken: German

Photos and Videos

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Practice Areas

Licensed since 1995

  1. Military Law: 100%
    20 years, 500 cases



Fixed (Always), Free Consultation (30 minutes)

Payment Types:

Cash, Check, Credit Card

Attorney Endorsements

7 total 

  • Aaron V Rocke

    Stephen is a brilliant trial attorney with experience in criminal defense in military and white collar contexts. He is as thoughtful as he is skillful, and he understands how to present a case at trial.


    Aaron Rocke Employment & Labor Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Patrick T Johnson JR

    I had the opportunity to work as co-counsel with Stephen Carpenter on an Army Administrative Separation board. Mr. Carpenter compiled a powerful list of character witnesses and argued effectively on behalf of our client. His legal knowledge and outstanding advocacy skills resulted in the retention of a very deserving soldier despite some significant challenges.


    Patrick Johnson Government Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact Info

Court & Carpenter (CONUS)

1700 Seventh Avenue
Suite 2100
Seattle, WA, 98101




Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Avvo Contributions

Legal Answers


Award NameGrantorDate Granted
Certified Trial Advocacy InstructorNational Institiute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)2008
Certified in Criminal Trial AdvocacyUS Department of Justice (USDOJ)2004
Global War on Terrorism medal; ARCOM (2d); AAM (2d)US Army JAG Corps2004
Platoon Leaders CourseUS Marine Corps1993

Work Experience

TitleCompany NameDuration
Managing PartnerCourt & Carpenter2013 - Present
MemberThe Carpenter Law Firm, P.C.2008 - Present
Assistant Attorney GeneralWashington State Attorney General's Office2005 - 2007
Trial Defense Counsel, Prosecutor, Article 32 Hearings OfficerJudge Advocate General's Corps (JAG)1998 - 2004
PartnerLemery & Carpenter LLC1995 - 1998


Association NamePosition NameDuration
US Navy and Marine Corps Appellate CourtMember of Bar2014 - Present
Federal Bar Association (Seattle Chapter)Member2014 - Present
US Air Force Appellate CourtMember of Bar2013 - Present
Washington State Bar Association, Criminal Law SectionMember2012 - Present
US Army Appellate CourtMember of Bar2011 - Present
Washington State Bar Association, Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) SectionChair & Vice-Chair2010 - 2013
University of Washington School of LawMock Appellate Judge2009 - 2010
National Instutute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)Trial Advocacy Faculty Instructor2008 - Present
University of Washington School of LawTrial Advocacy Adjunct Faculty Instructor2007 - 2009
Court of Appeals for the Armed ForcesMember of Bar2003 - Present

Legal Cases

Case NameOutcome
US v. Army (E-6)Not Guilty, Full acquittal
US v. Army (E-6)Not Guilty, Full acquittal
US v. Army (E-5)"No Punishment" sentencing verdict.

See all Legal Cases 


Publication NameTitleDate
New York TimesBranding a Soldier With ‘Personality Disorder’2012
King County Bar BulletinPosttraumatic Stress Disorder: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things2011
King County Bar BulletinDefending Gay Soldiers Who Defend America2010
King County Bar BulletinResolving the Torture Memo Conundrum by Court-Martial2009
King County Bar BulletinGuantanamo 101: Rejecting Cruel, Unusual and Degrading Justice2009
King County Bar BulletinMilitary Commissions: 'Justice' Guantanamo Style2008
Washington State Bar NewsFederal Criminal Practice: A Military Justice Primer2005
Oregon State Bar BulletinBlessed are the Peacemakers: Remembering Kosovo2002


School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
US Army JAG School - Charlottesville, VAMilitary LawCommissioned1999
US Army - Ft. Lawton, WAMilitary LawN/A1997
University of Oregon School of Law - Eugene, ORLawJD - Juris Doctor1995
US Marine Corps - Quantico, VAOfficer Candidate School (OCS)Commissioned1993
University of Virginia - Charlottesville, VAForeign AffairsBA - Bachelor of Arts1990

Speaking Engagements

Conference NameTitleDate
U.S. Army Trial Defense Service (Mannheim, Germany)Best Strategies for Defending Murder Cases2011
Regional Military ConferenceDiscrediting Complaining Witnesses in Sexual Assault Cases2010
American Bar AssociationCritical Trial Skills for Legal Services Attorneys2010
U.S. Army Trial Defense Service (Fort Lewis, WA)Depositions in Military Practice2009
U.S. Army Trial Defense Service (Fort Lewis, WA)Courts-Martial and the Use of Impeachment Evidence2009
National Institute for Trial AdvocacyHow to Take Effective Depositions2009
U.S. Army Trial Defense Service (Mannheim, Germany)Polygraphs and Military Law2004
Kosovo Force Legal TrainingElectronic Surveillance and Courts-Martial Admissibility2001