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James Whittingham Spencer

Probate Attorney at Seattle, WA

5.0   8 reviews

About James

Learn James’s areas of practice.

4
Practice areas
  1. Probate
    30%
    At this most profound of times, I am honored to work with a decedent's family to settle his or her affairs. The settling of an estate can be emotionally and sometimes physically exhausting. I tend to shy away from "ala carte" work in estates, as I believe the client is best (and yes, most cost-effectively) served by full representation by an attorney.

  2. Estate planning
    25%
    I work with my clients to tailor a plan for their individual (or coupled) needs, pulling from a variety of planning vehicles including wills, revocable living trusts, inter-vivos trusts, testamentary trusts, community property, prenuptial & domestic partnership agreements, powers of attorney, health care directives, and dispositions of remains.

  3. Litigation
    25%

  4. Trusts
    20%

I grew up on Vashon Island, just southwest of Seattle in Puget Sound where much of my family still resides. After attending Pepperdine University and NYU, I graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia with a Bachelor of Arts, emphasis in media & writing.

 

I graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where I served as president pro tem and a member of the board of directors of Outlaws, chaired the graduation steering committee, and worked in the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic in estate planning and civil litigation. Having a special passion for professional ethics, I also served on the Academic Conduct Board during my entire time at law school.

 

Professionally, I enjoy working with individuals, families & small businesses as a trusted advisor. Estate and business succession planning is key to the long-term health of any family or family business, and Spectra Law PS prides itself on providing excellent service in these areas. Additionally, we are here to go to bat for our clients when they need it most: whether they are on the plaintiff's or defendant's end of a lawsuit.

 

Always concerned with the health of the legal profession, I have been involved in state and local bar activities that encourage ethical and professional practice of the law, including serving on bar committees, presenting in continuing legal education programs, and mentoring law students and new attorneys.

 

In my spare time I love to travel, camp & backpack, and whenever I can, I spend my weekends exploring the backcountry of Washington.

Licensed for 17 years
State WA
Status Active
Acquired 2005
Updated 11/25/2022

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

Contact James

Brothers & Henderson, P.S.
2722 Eastlake Ave East, Suite 200
Seattle, WA, 98102

Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
5 Star
 
100%
4 Star
 
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3 Star
 
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Posted by anonymous | January 4, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Very Responsive
Mr. Spencer responded in a very timely manner. He is professional and kind and would advocate well for any client.
Posted by Seth Rosenberg | October 31, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
My go to attorney for Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning
I have known James Spencer for as long as I have practiced law. He is the attorney I always recommend whenever someone asks me for an attorney who handles wills, trusts and estates. In fact, I have used him myself. He is smart, very honest, and a wealth of knowledge. On top of that, he is a skilled litigator - something that is rare for attorneys in his field.
Read less
Posted by anonymous | June 1, 2014
Big recommendation for James Spencer!
My wife and I were lucky enough to be referred to James Spencer for our legal needs (will, power of attorney, health directive, etc.). He was very professional, thorough, and knowledgeable about LGBT issues. He is also affordable, and INCREDIBLY patient with us, given that we would often delay in getting him information. Yet he always responded immediately. We felt very taken care of, and have complete trust in him. I fully recommend him!
Read less
Posted by Stuart jay | April 2, 2014
Helpful and clear estate advice
James is great about making sure we are aware of current legal issues that may effect our estate. He's easy to work with, flexible, and keeps projects moving forward.
Posted by Marilyn | March 19, 2013
A very professional and knowledgeable lawyer!
James provided me with excellent services and advice on two different occasions. Most recently to help me and my husband with estate planning services and documents. Several years ago, James came to my aid when I needed to deal with my brother's estate when no will could be found. On both occasions he was a great listener, addressed our specific needs and concerns, and was able to move things forward for us very quickly. James is very personable, while being very professional. We will seek him out again if we need legal services.
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Posted by Eden | September 1, 2012
Excellent attorney
James is highly capable and knowledgeable. My husband and I had a pleasant experience with estate planning because James is so personable and trustworthy. He continues to check in with us in case we need to make changes to our documents. I would highly recommend him to friends and family seeking legal advice.
Posted by Jimmie | May 22, 2012
James Spencer Review
James helped my Partner and I through the rather uncomfortable task of developing our wills, health care directive, and a domestic partnership agreement prior to the State of Washington's passing of the Domestic Partnership laws. He made this process very easy and gave us a lot of options and direction when we needed them. We will continue to use him to help update our future planning.
Read less
Posted by anonymous | January 6, 2008
The BEST help on our pre-nup/estate plan!
My wife and I were dreading the process of drafting a pre-nup and estate plan. However, James helped us through it without a scratch! His knowledge and guidance was beyond our expectations. We actually believe this experience made us a much stronger couple. Thanks James!
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Cost

Rates
  • Hourly Rates $ 305-305 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Brothers & Henderson, P.S.
  • 2016 - Present
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Seattle University School Of Law
  • 2012 - Present
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Edmonds Community College
  • 2016 - 2016
  • Principal
  • Spectra Law PS
  • 2012 - 2016
  • Principal
  • The Spencer Law Group PS
  • 2010 - 2012
  • Managing Partner
  • Spencer Anderson & Buhr, PLLC
  • 2005 - 2010
  • Rule 9 Litigation Legal Intern
  • Ronald Peterson Law Clinic
  • 2004 - 2005
  • Trusts & Estates Legal Intern
  • Ronald Peterson Law Clinic
  • 2004 - 2004
  • Property Law Teaching Assistant
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • 2003 - 2005
  • Assistant Director of Admissions
  • Bastyr University
  • 1999 - 2004
  • Director of Community College Relations
  • The Evergreen State College
  • 1997 - 1999
  • Director of Volunteer Services
  • Pierce County AIDS Foundation
  • 1996 - 1997
View all work experience

Education

  • Seattle University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2005
  • Evergreen State College
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1995

Legal Cases

  • In Re Estate of John Doe
  • Administration of Intestate Estate
  • In Re Estate of Jane Roe
  • Adminisration of an intestate estate.

Associations

  • United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • Member
  • 2009 - Present
  • Greater Seattle Business Association
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • WSBA Real Property, Probate and Trust Section
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • Washington Future Business Leaders of America
  • Board of Directors
  • 2015 - 2016
  • Three Dollar Bill Cinema
  • Board of Directors
  • 2013 - 2017
  • QLaw Foundation
  • Grant Committee Chair
  • 2010 - 2010
  • QLaw Foundation
  • Board of Directors
  • 2009 - 2011
  • QLaw Foundation
  • Falltacular Committee Chair
  • 2009 - 2009
  • QLaw Foundation
  • Education Committee Member
  • 2009 - 2010
  • Washington State Bar Association, Professionalism Committee
  • Member
  • 2009 - 2010
  • The Municipal League of King County
  • Member
  • 2008 - 2009
  • Leadership Tomorrow
  • Team Coach
  • 2008 - 2009
  • City Year of Seattle/King County
  • Mentor
  • 2008 - 2010
  • Leadership Tomorrow
  • Graduate
  • 2007 - 2008
  • King County Bar Association, Real Property, Probate and Trust Section
  • Member
  • 2007 - 2008
  • WSBA Solo and Small Practice Section
  • Member
  • 2005 - 2016
  • King County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - 2008
  • American Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - 2008
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Awards

  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2015
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2014
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2013
  • Nomination - Faculty Graduation Speaker
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • 2013
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2012
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2011
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2010
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2009
  • Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 2008
  • Nominee - 2006 New Business of the Year
  • Greater Seattle Business Association
  • 2007
  • Graduation with Honors - cum laude
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • 2005
  • CALI Award for Excellence in Legal Writing
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • 2003
  • Dean's List
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • 2003
  • Seattle University School of Law Presidential Scholar
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • 2001
View all awards

Publications

  • Legal Voice
  • Basic Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples
  • 2011
  • Unpublished
  • The Survey on Legal Pedagogy and Sexual Minority Law Students
  • 2005

Speaking Engagements

  • Personal Estate Planning for the 99%
  • Estate Planning for Blended Families
  • 2015
  • Advanced Guardianship Issues: New Paradigms for Your Guardianship Practice
  • Community Property Considerations in Guardianship
  • 2015
  • GLBT Law from A to Z: Issue Spotting for Pro Se Legal Clinic Clients
  • The Ethics of the Half-Hour Consultation: A Discussion of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Context of Community Legal Clinics
  • 2010
  • By Invitation
  • Washington's Enhanced Domestic Partnership Registry
  • 2008
  • Gay City University
  • 'Til Death Do Us Part - Washington's Domestic Partnership Registry
  • 2008
  • CAMP 2007
  • Are You DPed Yet? - Washington's Domestic Partnership Registry and What it Means for You
  • 2007
  • CAMP 2007
  • Estate Planning Basics for Same-Sex Couples
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (19)
Given (38)
Endorse James
Estate planning Attorney | May 19
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"I have worked on several prenuptial agreements opposite James, and he is always well-prepared, prompt, and a pleasure to work with."
Estate planning Attorney | Oct 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Besides bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to his practice, James also teaches law. I was fortunate to have taken two of his classes in law school. His intelligence and deep interest in his practice area remarkably stood out among the other professors. I highly recommend James."
Unknown Attorney | Jul 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | Nov 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. James is an excellent attorney who is very knowledgeable about his areas of the law. He is compassionate and very communicative with his clients."
Estate planning Attorney | Jan 07
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I had the privilege of interning for James during my 2L year of law school. I found him to be a knowledgeable and professional estate planning attorney with a strong passion for mentoring. And even after I moved on to other opportunities, including establishing my own practice, James has continued to be an active mentor and "sounding board" for me. I would highly recommend him."
Business Attorney | Dec 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Estate planning Attorney | Apr 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Estate planning Attorney | May 10
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"James has a remarkable ablity to relate to his clients. I worked for him for almost three years and witnessed first hand his compassionate and thorough approach in addressing his client's legal issues."
Unknown Attorney | Mar 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"James is a great lawyer and a tireless advocate. He is able to make solid personal connections with his clients, and his work product is excellent."
Business Attorney | Sep 27
Relationship: Co-worker
"James is a self-starter with a great personality. He is genuine, well-rounded, smart, positive and experienced. Additionally, he understands how to deliver outstanding customer service and excellent work quality."
Business Attorney | Sep 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"James is an exceptionally smart and capable lawyer. I refer business and probate matters to him routinely."
Estate planning Attorney | Dec 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"James is very well respected in the community. He is fearless without being reckless, which is an immensely powerful combination for an attorney. I endorse him without reservation."
Estate planning Attorney | Mar 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"James is a tenacious and thoughtful advocate, who leaves no stone unturned in the representation of his clients."
Estate planning Attorney | Jan 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"James and I attended law school together. James is dedicated, hard working, and an excellent attorney."
Business Attorney | Jan 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
Estate planning Attorney | Jul 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"James is warm and affable and helps clients be at ease during the sometimes stressful estate planning process."
Wills and living wills Attorney | Jul 02
Relationship: Co-worker
"James is an excellent estate planning attorney who combines humor and wit to develop a rapport with his clients."
Wills and living wills Attorney | Jun 30
Relationship: Co-worker
"James is an incredibly detail-oriented and effective counsel who can help clients navigate difficult to understand documents with ease."
Estate planning Attorney | Jun 06
Relationship: Friend
"James really knows his way around estate planning and has a great rapport with his clients. I have been lucky enough to "borrower" his clients for matters outside of his practice area, but in mine. They have nothing but praise for his work. I recommended him to my own parents. "
View more endorsements
Contracts and agreements
Landlord or tenant
Estate planning
Social Security & Disability
Guardianship
Intellectual property
Estate planning
Litigation
Estate planning
Intellectual property
Estate planning
Criminal defense
Intellectual property
Seattle Probate Lawyer James Whittingham Spencer
James Whittingham Spencer
Probate Attorney
Seattle, WA
Licensed for 17 years