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About me

Growing up in Seattle’s Rainier Valley in the 1950’s, I learned as a child that people worked hard to make a living. My mother’s favorite saying was by William Penn, “I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” My parents taught me and my siblings the meaning of the saying “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” and they lived by those principles. So did I - I began working in the summers at the local steel mill at the age of 13.

Growing up, two of my heroes were Dr. William Hutchinson and coach Frank Ahern. Dr. Hutchinson, who later built the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in honor of his brother, performed surgery on me when I was 4 years old. The surgery took more than 5 hours and resulted in a bill of $50! Coach Frank Ahern spent hundreds of hours teaching me to believe in myself and my abilities. Both men, along with my parents, were instrumental in showing me the value of helping others, and leading me to a career in law.

I believe that each day I have the opportunity to do the best I can do. This is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Every day, my life as a lawyer offers me the opportunity to make a contribution to some person or some ideal. Often, the person I am attempting to help is unable to help himself; the ideal is often one that would otherwise be disregarded.

Whether I am waiting for a jury to return with a positive verdict or negotiating a settlement that will allow an injured client to pay for medical bills, my work as an attorney is personally fulfilling. I am motivated by ensuring that justice is achieved for every person that I represent.


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Practice areas


  1. Personal Injury: 50%
    41 years
  2. Litigation: 25%
    41 years
  3. Criminal Defense: 25%
    41 years



Contingent (33%), Free consultation (60 minutes)

Attorney endorsements

9 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • No photo

    Seattle Mariners manager, Lloyd McLendon, made the following comment about Derek Jeter, who is retiring at the end of he season, on the occasion of the 06/10/14 New York Yankees visit to Safeco Field. "For me, for the last 20 years, Derek Jeter has been everything that is right about the game of baseball....I think he is a class act." This quote well describes John Murphy. John is everything that is right about the practice of law and he definitely is a class act! As a practicing attorney in Bellingham for the past 30 years, I have co-counseled with John and have had contentious cases against John. I have been impressed with his breadth of legal knowledge and have sought his counsel on numerous occasions. He is a tireless worker, tenacious, down to earth and is ethical to a fault. He is always totally prepared and has been highly successful in the courtroom as well as in negotiations outside the courtroom. To repeat, John Murphy is a class act and it is my pleasure to endorse him.


    Michael Tasker Insurance Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • David Duane Lowell

    I consider John Murphy, without a doubt, the top criminal defense attorney in our region (Snohomish County to Canada). John has tremendous energy, passion, experience and street smarts. John has handled some huge cases and deals with pressure very well. He is a street fighter but also a caring gentleman. For us younger (or semi-younger) members of the bar, John is a fine inspiration. In the past, John was always available to give me guidance on certain cases (and in some instances, was even willing to meet with them). I strongly endorse this lawyer.


    David Lowell Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

John W. Murphy Law

1002 S 3rd St
Mount Vernon, WA, 98273-4302


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Super LawyerSuper Lawyers Magazine2014
Super LawyerSuper Lawyers Magazine2013
Super LawyerWashington Law & Politics Magazine2012
Super LawyerWashington Law & Politics Magazine2011
Top 100 Trial LawyersNational Trial Lawyers Association2011
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyBrett Murphy - Washington's Injury Lawyers2011 - 2015
Faculty MemberJustice Advocacy Africa2011 - 2011
Special CounselCommonwealth of Virginia1998 - 1998
Committee MemberWashington State Committee of Jury Instructions1998 - 2002
Chairman, Disciplinary Review CommitteeWashington State Bar Association1997 - 1998
Special CounselUnited States Bankruptcy Court1995 - 1995
Board MemberWashington State Bar Association Disciplinary Board1995 - 1998
Committee of Law ExaminersWashington State Bar Association1990 - 1995
Judge Pro TemSkagit County District Court1990 - 1990
Adjunct ProfessorSkagit Valley College1988 - 1988
OwnerJohn W. Murphy Law Office1985 - 2011
Special Deputy ProsecutorSkagit County Prosecutor's Office1985 - 1985
Chief Criminal DeputySkagit County Prosecutor's Office1982 - 1984
Litigation Conduct ProfessorGonzaga Law School1978 - 1978
Adjunct ProfessorFort Wright College1977 - 1977
Special Public DefenderSpokane County Public Defender's Office1977 - 1977
Judge Pro TemporeSpokane County District Court1976 - 1979
Adjunct ProfessorColumbia College1976 - 1976
Association namePosition nameDuration
Washington State Bar Association Admission to Practice Rule 6 Clerk's ProgramTutor2008 - Present
United States Supreme CourtAdmitted1989 - Present
United States District Court for the Western District of WashingtonAdmitted to Practice1978 - Present
United States District Court for the Eastern District of WashingtonAdmitted to Practice1976 - Present
Washington State Bar AssociationMember1975 - Present
Washington State Trial Lawyers AssociationMemberN/A
United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth CircuitAdmitted2002 - 2002
Washington Supreme Court Committee of Jury InstructionsMember1998 - 2002
Washington State Bar AssociationMember, Board of Bar Examiners1990 - 1996
United States Tax CourtAdmitted1978 - 1978
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Multi-million dollar settlement for collision$4.2 million for plaintiff
Settlement for on-duty injury$1,165,641 to $1,181,866 range
Settlement and future benefits for neck injury$800,000
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
JD Supra Legal NewsWant Lower Insurance Premiums? Demand Insurance Reform!2013
Bellingham HeraldJury Divides Blame in Teen Death2009
Skagit Valley HeraldWoman free after judge blocks prosecutors from filing charges2003
Skagit Valley HeraldWoman acquitted of most serious charges in slaying of her husband2003
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Gonzaga University School of LawLawJD - Juris DoctorN/A
Washington State UniversityN/ABA - Bachelor of ArtsN/A
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Whatcom County Bar Association eventJury Selection Techniques2012
Skills Training CourseLaw Office Management1999