Beyond the Bar Number – Jim Senescu

Jim Senescu

Jim Senescu


I am entering my 25th year practicing law: 10 years as a deputy prosecutor and the last 14 years as a civil attorney focusing on protecting vulnerable adults (mostly elders) from abuse and financial exploitation. I am married with a 16-year-old son and am an avid golfer.

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What is the most interesting case you have handled in your career so far and why? I tried a murder case to a jury exactly 59 days after the crime/arrest, as the 46-year-old defendant refused to waive a speedy trial. It involved the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl from the defendant’s neighborhood who attended the defendant’s underage parties. We were five days into the trial before we even got the DNA evidence results. The case involved every type of evidence possible: witness, DNA, fingerprint, cell tower records, alibi witnesses, handwriting exemplar, surveillance video, toxicology, autopsy, and over 50 minor-aged witnesses. This was my first murder trial and it was a doozy. Fortunately, this defendant will not be able to harm any more children for the remainder of his life.

How is being a lawyer different from the way you thought it would be? There is a lot more paperwork and non-legal-related minutiae involved in the practice of law. Sometimes it seems that only a small amount of my time involves arguing and trying the client’s case to a tribunal.

How did you become interested in your practice area? I prosecuted a criminal case involving the abuse of an elder by a family member. I realized that no civil law firm focused on combating this epidemic on the civil side. It is easy to get motivated to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

What is your best piece of advice for someone who’s just entered law school? Be nice. No matter who you encounter and under whatever circumstance. Just be nice and respectful to all. It will pay off.

If you had to give a 10-minute presentation on one topic other than the law, what would it be and why? Something food-related, like the best seafood or clam chowder in the Northwest.

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If you could go back in time, where/when would you go? Early 1800s on the Northwest coast.

What is one thing your colleagues may not know about you? I am a sucker for crime drama TV shows and movies.

What is your favorite word? Antidisestablishmentarianism.

What is your favorite podcast? What is a podcast?

What book have you read more than once? Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

What is the last thing you watched on TV? The Golf Channel.

What is the best fictional representation (TV, movie, book) of a lawyer? Jack McCoy from Law & Order (Sam Waterston).

What is your best random fact that you would share with others at a party? The official U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a real website devoted to “zombie preparedness.”

What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen? Biloxi Blues.

What did you think was cool when you were younger that makes you cringe to think about now? Break dancing.