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About me

If you are facing Criminal Charges, it is important to protect yourself by working with a knowledgeable and an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A criminal conviction can result in jail time, force you to pay restitution and give you a criminal record that may follow you for the rest of your life. I have been protecting the interest of the criminally accused for over 20 years in the Pierce, King and Thurston County areas.


I have represented clients at every level of crime in my over 20 years of experience; from misdemeanors to Aggravated Murder (death penalty) cases. I have represented clients in both State and Federal charges as well as charges originating in municipal court. No case is too small or too big when your liberty and life are at stake. I take my job of protecting your rights very seriously. I take pride in working hard and being thoroughly prepared for your case.


It seems like I have always wanted to be a lawyer.  I beelive it started when my mother and I together read the book “To Kill A Mockingbird”, I aspired to be a lawyer like “Atticus Finch.” As a child it amazed me that adults could be accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit. Now as a lawyer I have witnessed such travesties and I am committed to never let it happen to one of my clients. For as long as I can remember I had an affinity for the underdog and under protected.


For the past 20 plus years, I have focused my practice on representing persons accused of crime. I am a member of the Washington State Bar Association and am an active member in several professional associations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association and I serve as an Advisory Board Member to the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel. I am also a Board Member for the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  


Practice areas


  1. Domestic Violence: 20%
  2. DUI & DWI: 20%
  3. Child Abuse: 20%
  4. Criminal Defense: 20%
  5. Federal Crime: 20%



Free consultation (60 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

9 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Robert Kendall Ricketts

    Phil fights hard for his clients while maintaining the respect of the Court.


    Robert Ricketts Divorce and separation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • No photo

    I endorse this lawyer. Philip is one of, if not the finest lawyer in our community. His sense of commitment to his clients results in very positive outcomes. He is someone you can trust to be aggressive, attentive and committed to his clients' defense.


    Michael Schwartz Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

705 South 9th Street
Suite 301
Tacoma, WA, 98405-4593


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Liberty Bell AwardTacoma Pierce County Bar Association2008
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyThe Law Office of Philip E. Thornton1997 - Present
Associate AttorneyMargullis, Luedtke & Ray1990 - 1997
Association namePosition nameDuration
Tacoma Pierce County Bar AssociationCriminal Law Section Committee Co-Chairman2015 - Present
Washington Association of Criminal Defense AttorneysBoard of Directors2012 - Present
California Attorneys for Criminal JusticeMember1996 - Present
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMember1991 - Present
Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, Criminal Law SectionMember1991 - Present
Washington Association of Criminal Defense AttorneysPatron Member1991 - Present
Pierce County Department of Assigned CounselBoard of Directors2002 - 2013
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
State v. D. WeemsDismissed
State v. M. GillispieJury Trial - Not Guilty
State v. J. CrutchDismissed
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Creighton University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1990
Northern Arizona UniversityN/ABS - Bachelor of Science1987
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Taking Care of Business - Motion Practice - Fall CLE"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" - Severance Motions2015
What Now? Looming Issues in Serious Felony Cases - Spring CLE ConferenceExploring Gang Evidence2013
Annual Year End Potpourri CLEDiscovery Motions - Criminal Law Update2013
Quarterly Conference for Young LawyersSole Practice in Today's World2012
Lunch Time CLEDNA 1012004
Annual MeetingIRS and Attorney Fees2002