Beyond the Bar Number – Scott A. Volyn

Scott A. Volyn

Bar Number: 21829

Scott Volyn is a trial attorney, superior court commissioner pro tem, and college/university professor. Always active in recreationally rich North Central Washington, Volyn is often found running the extensive trail system, open-water swimming in the Columbia and Lake Chelan, and skiing Mission Ridge and the local skate ski trails. A seminary dropout, he has not lost faith. 

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If you could change one thing about the legal system, what would you change? So much of the tragic turmoil and difficulty in people’s lives, played out in our courtrooms—especially in criminal cases—are rooted in the failure to properly diagnose and treat mental health issues. If as a state and a society we committed to properly investigating, diagnosing, and providing treatment for those afflicted, the burden of criminal cases in our adult and juvenile courts would be greatly diminished, our jails would be substantially smaller, the overall cost on society considerably lessened. More importantly, the daily struggle of those with issues of mental illness would be alleviated to some extent—and to those suffering, even the smallest amount of relief is deeply felt. 

How do you define success as a lawyer? Does the bench respect you and know you will zealously advocate within the bounds of the law? Do juries find you compelling, even when they do not agree with your argument? Is your word your bond, and can be counted upon by other lawyers? Did you put your clients ahead of self-interest? If you can answer yes to these questions, I count that as success as a lawyer. 

At the end of your career, how would you like to be remembered professionally? A lawyer who was not fearful of the outcome, and who relished the adversarial process. Someone who consistently held to the belief that equal justice was possible but must be pursued relentlessly. Finally, someone who realized the law was my profession, but not my identity. 

If you had to give a 10-minute presentation on one topic other than the law, what would it be? Why the development of recreational trail access is a civil rights issue. 

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If you could go back in time, where/when would you go? A self-confessed Hamilton nerd, to the discussions leading to the Federalist Papers. 

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Intermittent fasting—no breakfast. 

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal that you’re slightly embarrassed to buy? Cocoa Puffs—no contest. 

What is one thing your colleagues may not know about you? I’m pretty good at Bulgarian split squats. 

What is your favorite smell? My kids—as infants, not teenagers. 

What is your favorite word? Thanks. 

What is your favorite podcast? Revisionist History

What book have you read more than once? A Confederacy of Dunces

What is the last thing you watched on television? Billions

What is the best fictional representation (TV, movie, book) of a lawyer? Robert Duvall as Jerry Facher—A Civil Action

What did you think was cool when you were younger that makes you cringe to think about now? The Bay City Rollers.