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Helen Halpert

Hon. Helen L. Halpert (Ret.)

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Case Manager
Michelle Nemeth
T: 206-292-0441
F: 206-292-9082
1420 Fifth Ave., Suite 1650, Seattle, WA 98101

Hon. Helen L. Halpert (Ret.) joins JAMS after nearly 30 years of distinguished service to the judiciary in King County, including 19 years on the King County (Washington) Superior Court. Judge Halpert has been an advocate for justice throughout her legal career, first as a public defender and later as a judge.

Judge Halpert has been described as indispensable when it comes to her service to the Seattle legal community. She is known for her extraordinary kindness and ability to ensure that individuals feel understood when presenting their cases. She cuts through the nonsense and has a good sense of practicality. Judge Halpert brings intellectual rigor, integrity and compassion to each case and treats both sides with dignity and respect. Her dedication to settling cases, combined with her judicial wisdom and strategic planning, allows her to successfully bring parties to resolution.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Served as a judge for almost 30 years, in all four divisions of the King County Superior Court and at both the court of limited jurisdiction and superior court levels
  • Conducted settlement conferences throughout her judicial career
  • Performed substantial committee work while a judge to coordinate effective responses to emerging issues in the legal community

Representative Matters


  • Four week-bench trial involving corporate fraud and breach of fiduciary duty; obtained verdict awarding several million dollars
  • Expeditors International of Washington v. Expeditors of Japan, 139 Wn. App 1070 (2007) (unpublished); described by Court of Appeals as addressing a complex corporate transaction
  • Insurance coverage issues, including Ledcor Industries v. Mutual of Enumlaw, 150 Wn. App 1(2009)


  • Hirata v. Evergreen State Limited Partnership No. 5, 124 Wn. App 632 (2004); sex discrimination and harassment; one of first cases addressing “offset” payments for federal income tax consequences of award, pursuant to Blaney v. International Association of Machinists
  • Bally v. Ocean Transportation Services, 136 Wn. App 1052 (2007) (unpublished); complicated wage and hour issues

Family Law

  • In re Marriage of Bernard, 165 Wn. 2d 895 (2007); enforceability of prenuptial agreement
  • In re Marriage of Gunn-Bohm v. Bohm, 158  Wn. App 1026 (2010) (unpublished); unusually complex pension valuation issues
  • In re Marriage of Vandal (unreported, 199 Wn. App 1034 (2017)) (unpublished); complex characterization issue of small, personal services corporation
  • Substantial experience with domestic violence issues; has tried many cases in the civil and criminal arenas
  • Both a contributor to and the primary substantive editor of the first three editions of the Domestic Violence Manual for Judges

Public Interest

  • Jane and John Does and Seattle Pacific University v. King County, 192 Wn. App 10 (2015); public disclosure case regarding access to video of the Seattle Pacific shooting
  • Branson v. Port of Seattle, 152 Wn. 2d 862 (2004); authority of Port of Seattle to impose a gross receipt tax on car rental companies
  • In re Ballot Title Appeal of City of Seattle Initiatives 107-110, 183 Wn. App 379 (2014)
  • Litigated case addressing disparate impact outside the context of Title VII and Title IX, challenging the legislative amendments switching the “per se” standard for driving while intoxicated from blood to breath

Memberships and Professional Activities

  • Washington State Bar Association (inactive)
  • California State Bar Association (inactive)
  • Washington Pattern Jury Instruction Committee, 1996–present
    • Co-Chair, 2013-2018
  • Legislative Sentencing Reform Task Force, 2014
  • Becca Task Force, 2010–present
    • Co-Chair, 2016
  • Judicial Advisory Committee, Center for Children and Youth Justice, 2010–present

Selected Awards

  • Judge of the Year, King County Bar Association, 2001
  • Judge of the Year, Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter, 2001
  • Judge of the Year, Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter, 2018

King County Court Subcommittee Memberships

  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2015–2018
  • Superior Court Judges Association Family and Juvenile Law Committee, 2011–2018
  • Superior Court Judges Association Criminal Law and Rules Committee, 2001–2004 and 2013–2014
  • Judge, King County Superior Court, 1999–2018
    • Assistant Presiding Judge, 2008–2010
    • Chief Criminal Judge, 2007
    • Chief Judge Juvenile Court, 2012–2013
    • Lead Dependency Judge, 2015–2018                             
  • Judge, Seattle Municipal Court, 1989–1999
    • Presiding Judge, 1997–1999
  • Attorney, The Defender Association, 1985–1989
  • Assistant Dean, University of Washington School of Law, 1980–1985
  • Judicial Clerk, Washington Court of Appeals, Division II, 1977–1980
  • J.D., University of California Davis School of Law, 1977
  • A.B., Occidental College, 1974


    Practice Areas

    • Appellate
    • Arbitration
    • Business/Commercial
    • Employment
    • Estates/Probate/Trusts
    • Family Law
    • Governmental/Public Agency
    • Indian Law
    • Real Property
    • Settlement Master/Ombudsman


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