Hon. Kim Prochnau (Ret.)

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Hon. Kim Prochnau (Ret.) joins JAMS as a full-time neutral after over 20 years as a judge, commissioner and pro-tem judge in King County, Washington.  As a judge, she presided over class actions; complex civil, criminal, juvenile and family law cases; condominium and other real estate matters; torts; contractual disputes; and TEDRA, probate and guardianship cases.  As a court commissioner, she sat on the ex parte and probate, family law, juvenile and civil commitment calendars.  Prior to becoming a commissioner, Judge Prochnau had a diverse practice as a lawyer.

Judge Prochnau brings to her ADR career not only experience in a variety of practice areas, but also a good deal of experience settling cases as a judge.  She is lauded for being patient, listening actively to all parties, and being very smart, hard-working and thoughtful, qualities that enable her to bring parties to resolution through ADR. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Conducted settlement conferences throughout her career 
  • Served as a mediator for low-income family law cases in Kent and Seattle
  • Served as a mediator for the King County Juvenile Court, which included parental terminations, child abuse and neglect cases
  • Served for 20 years on the King County Superior Court bench, first as a court commissioner and later as a judge  

Representative Matters

  • Business/Commercial
    • Handled the failure and dispute of a franchise meat butcher company, involving employment claims, stock pledges and shareholder disputes
    • Handled the dissolution and receivership of an international fishing company with multiple parties, involving legal malpractice claims, multiple legal actions in foreign jurisdictions, contractual disputes and tort claims, including claims of embezzlement
    • Handled non-compete cases, including early case involving an executive for a major Internet company who was instrumental in marketing cloud computing, which received national attention in the business world
    • Handled partnership dispute concerning a taxicab company
  • Employment
    • Handled lawsuit involving certification of bargaining unit for public employees
    • Handled claims involving employees’ claims of racial, age and sex discrimination
  • Government/Public Agency
    • Presided over appeals of administrative agency actions
  • Civil Rights
    • Handled lawsuit involving newspaper seeking disclosure of matters concerning sitting judge, sexual harassment and other personnel claims
    • Handled libel and defamation case brought by developer against school newspaper
  •  Estate/Probate
    • Handled multi-million-dollar estate, involving multiple trusts and subtrusts and property in multiple jurisdictions
    • Settled guardianship cases involving claims of undue influence and where mental incapacity was disputed
    • Handled an action for partition of valuable real estate bequeathed to several children as tenants in common
    • As court commissioner, handled thousands of actions involving guardianships, probate and TEDRA disputes
    • Handled probate case resulting from an airline crash, involving heirship and creditor claims from foreign countries as well as allegations of fraud
  • Family Law
    • Settled and handled cases involving spousal maintenance, child support, disputed property characterization, valuation and division, including small business valuation, professional practice valuation, stock options, retirement benefits and public entitlements, as well as debt, tax, bankruptcy and discovery issues and attorneys’ fees
    • Settled and handled highly contested parenting plans, including allegations of domestic violence and child abuse, as well as proposed relocation issues
  • Insurance
    • Handled insurance claims involving major Internet travel company and multiple insurers, related to company’s claims of failure to represent
  • Personal Injury
    • Settled personal injury claims, including wrongful death, asbestos, slip and falls, automobile accident and negligent design
  • Professional Liability
    • Handled physician, nursing, massage practitioner and lawyer malpractice claims 
  • Real Estate
    • Handled landlord/tenant cases; handled various real estate cases, including claims against condominium associations for failure to repair 

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • King County Family Law Mediator for Family Law Volunteer Settlement Program, 2016–present
  • King County Municipal League, Committee Member, 2016–present
  • President, Glen Acres Division 2 Homeowners Association, 2015–present
  • Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section Judge of the Year, 2014
  • Washington State Supreme Court Access to Justice Board Champion of Justice Award, 2012
  • Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter Award, 2008
  • King County Elder Law Section Award, 2007
  • Volunteer Judge, State Moot Court and Civic Education Competitions, 2005–present
  • Trustee, Washington State Superior Court Judges Association
  • Chair, Washington State Superior Court Judges Association Civil Law and Rules Committee
  • Chair, Washington State Supreme Court Guardianship Board
  • Chair, Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section
  • Member, ABA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services
  • Co-Chair, WSBA Domestic Relations Implementation Committee
  • Co-Chair, King County Superior Court Unified Family Court Committee
  • Member, King County Superior Court Executive Committee
  • Served on drafting committee for 1987 Parenting Act, later codified as RCW 26.09
  • Represented Superior Court Judges Association in several key pieces of family law legislation, including amendments to third-party custody legislation, later codified at RCW 26.10 
  • Chaired Bench-Bar committee that completely rewrote King County Superior Court Family Law Rules; cochaired Bench-Bar committees that established family law facilitators statewide and Unified Family Court in King County 
  • Wrote chapters for WSBA Family Law Deskbook and State Domestic Violence Manual  
  • Served on ABA and State Supreme Court committees that promulgated new professional rules on “unbundled” legal services
  • Served as chief editor for rewrite of King County Probate Manual
  • Chaired Washington State Supreme Court Professional Guardianship Board, which regulated profession of professional guardians, including promulgating practice and disciplinary regulations, investigating complaints and certifying educational programs 
  • Taught guardianship law at Washington State Judicial College (initial training for new judges)
  • Chaired Superior Court Judges Association Civil Law and Rules Committee and, as such, commented and provided drafting assistance on proposed rules and statutes governing civil litigation

Background and Education

  • Judge Pro Tem, King County Superior Court, 2016–2017
  • King County Superior Court Judge, 2007–2015
    • Calendars included family law, civil (including guardianship, probate and TEDRA) and criminal)
  • King County Superior Court Commissioner, 1994–2007
    • Calendars included ex parte, probate, TEDRA, guardianship, family law, civil commitment and juvenile law
  • Law Office Of Kim Prochnau, 1993–1994
  • Evergreen Legal Services (Civil Legal Aid)
    • Managing Attorney,1987–1993
    • Attorney, 1982–1987
    • Paralegal, 1979–1982
  • J.D., Seattle University School Of Law, 1982
  • B.A. Psychology, University Of California, Berkeley, 1977

Disclaimer

This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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