After over a decade as a litigator with the State of Washington and one of the top 100 largest law firms in the United States, Michael G. Ballnik joined Phinney Estate Law as a partner in 2009. While he excelled as a litigator, Michael made the move to an estate planning practice in order to use his extensive legal background for the benefit of individuals, families, and small businesses and to spend more time with his own wife and daughter.
At Phinney Estate Law, Michael serves as the Complex Drafting Partner. In this position, he utilizes the skills he developed while interpreting and drafting complex insurance agreements and settlement documents for large commercial entities to draft trust agreements and other complex estate planning vehicles for Phinney Estate Law clients.
Michael joined the Seattle office of international law firm Cozen O’Connor as a litigation associate in October of 2001, and was promoted to partner in 2004. Michael was named a 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 Rising Star attorney by Washington Law & Politics magazine. Michael received a Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation from the Washington State Bar Association in 2004. Along with the Seattle office of Cozen O’Connor, Michael also received the 2005 Amicus Award from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project due to ongoing pro bono efforts on behalf of immigration and asylum clients.
Prior to working at Cozen O’Connor, Michael served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington. In that capacity, he represented the Washington Department of Corrections in civil litigation and appeals and argued before the Washington Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Michael received his bachelor of arts degree in Criminology from the University of Manitoba in 1993 and earned his law degree, with distinction, from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1997, where he was a member of the North Dakota Law Review.
When not working or spending time with family, Michael is an avid hockey player and fan.
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|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Rising Star||Washington Law & Politics Magazine||2008|
|Rising Star||Washington Law & Politics Magazine||2006|
|Rising Star||Washington Law & Politics Magazine||2005|
|Amicus Award||Northwest Immigrant Rights Project||2005|
|Rising Star||Washington Law & Politics Magazine||2004|
|Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation||Washington State Bar Association||2004|
|Partner||Phinney Estate Law||2009 - Present|
|Partner||Cozen O'Connor||2004 - 2009|
|Associate||Cozen O'Connor||2001 - 2004|
|Assistant Attorney General||Attorney General of Washington||1999 - 2001|
|Public Defender||Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel||1998 - 1999|
|Deputy Prosecuting Attorney||King County Prosecutor's Office||1998 - 1998|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|King County Bar Association||Member||2001 - 2011|
|Washington State Bar Association||Member||1998 - 2011|
|University of North Dakota School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1997|
|University of Manitoba||Criminology||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1993|