Beyond the Bar Number – Allison Foreman

Allison Foreman

Allison Foreman


A Tacoma native, Foreman studied economics at Harvard College and attended Harvard Law School before returning home to clerk for Justice James M. Johnson of the Washington Supreme Court. She lives in Wenatchee with her husband, James, a fellow Harvard grad who grows tree fruit, and their five lively children. Foreman earned an LLM in tax from the University of Washington School of Law while building her diverse practice, which includes trusts and estates, probate, TEDRA litigation, business advising, tax, and civil litigation.

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What is the most interesting case you have handled in your career so far and why? One recent case involved a will contest that included expert testimony from a forensic document examiner trained at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. His testimony was incredible; I know more about handwriting analysis now than I ever thought possible. The court revoked the counterfeit will, but interestingly, the will actually disinherited the forger. Most forgers try to increase their share of the estate by falsifying testamentary documents, not the other way around. (This forger wanted her son to inherit everything.)

If you could change one thing about the legal system, what would you change? I would make things move more quickly in the court system. Many clients are frustrated when it takes months or years to have their day in court due to scheduling backlogs, and often justice delayed is justice denied. Statutes with streamlined procedures like TEDRA certainly help, but not if the judge has no openings in her calendar until next year.

How is being a lawyer different from the way you thought it would be? Being a lawyer is much more collaborative than I thought it would be. Not everything in the law is adversarial. My local bar association in Chelan County is small and collegial, and the rapport and cooperation that I have experienced in our legal community, even in hotly disputed matters, makes it a pleasure to practice law here.

How did you become interested in your practice area? I started with a transactional practice focused on trusts and estates, business advising, and tax. But contested probates kept coming up in my practice, and I now do a lot of civil litigation and TEDRA work. I love the challenge of building the case; moving the chess pieces; seeking compromise; and, if that fails, arguing for my clients at trial. The thrill of the courtroom is hard to beat.

What is your best piece of advice for someone who’s just entered law school? Study hard, of course. Try to get to know one or two professors really well who can recommend you for jobs, clerkships, fellowships, and post-graduate work. Participate in moot court to learn oral advocacy and trial skills. Take time to build friendships with your classmates; they are the beginning of your professional network. Spend as much time as possible working at legal clinics with real clients. There’s no better way to learn the law than by doing it.


What are a few of your hobbies or passions in life, outside of work? My five kids (!), cabin life in Mazama, running, reading, knitting, and anything Norwegian—especially if it means I can wear my bunad, Norway’s national costume.

What is one thing your colleagues may not know about you? I hate snakes. It’s a full-fledged phobia. I can’t even look at a picture of one.

If you had to give a 10-minute presentation on one topic other than the law, what would it be and why? Norway. My family emigrated from Norway in the early 20th century and I have been obsessed with all things Norwegian since childhood.

What is your favorite smell? Lilacs in spring. Pine trees in winter.

What book have you read more than once? Atlas Shrugged.

What is your best random fact that you would share with others at a party? I gave birth in a car.

What did you think was cool when you were younger that makes you cringe to think about now? Lisa Frank school supplies. The Macarena. Beanie Babies. Everything in the Delia’s catalog. Puka shell necklaces. Having a pager.

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