Bar Number: 56
Robert Mussehl has over 55 years of experience as a trial lawyer in Seattle. He is a graduate and former class president of the American University Law School in Washington, D.C. Mussehl is also a sports lawyer/agent, having represented NBA players including Spencer Haywood, Fred Brown, Slick Watts, and Zaid Abdul Aziz (Don Smith) in extensive contract negotiations. He was also the majority owner and CEO of the Seattle Smashers, a co-ed, professional volleyball team that played at the Seattle Center Arena from 1976 to 1980. Mussehl served as a certified panel member of the American Arbitration Association for over 35 years and for many years as a mediator for the Settlement Now Program established in King County to reduce court congestion. He has served as a King County Superior Court judge pro tempore, and as a member of the ABA House of Delegates for 12 years.
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How did you become interested in your practice area?
After completing my first year of law school, I was academically near the top of my day division class at the American University law school. I was challenged financially, and paying all of my tuition, books, and school expenses personally. So I filed a special petition with the associate dean of the law school, asking the school to waive its rule stating that a full-time day student could only work 20 hours a week maximum. Thankfully, the school waived its rule as I requested. I had been offered a full-time position as a bodily injury adjuster with State Farm Insurance Company, which I was able to accept, as the company offered flexible working hours. I worked 30 months as a PI adjuster and gained invaluable experience in the area of personal injury law. After I began my legal career with the law firm that is now known as Betts, Patterson & Mines, my major focus was on personal injury auto cases. For the first 14 years of law practice, it was mainly insurance defense cases. I always wanted to have a portion of my law practice in the area of personal injury law, and I grew to prefer representing injured plaintiffs, working to obtain fair and just settlements and results at trial.
At the end of your career, how would you like to be remembered professionally?
As a lawyer who fought hard for justice for ALL persons, and for promoting the vital importance of establishing diversity.
What is your best piece of advice for someone who’s just entered law school?
Practice from your heart and soul. Always seek justice and fairness.
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If you had to give a 10-minute presentation on one topic other than the law, what would it be and why?
Heaven, and the afterlife that is indeed a reality. Many people today do not believe in heaven and hell, or that we are immortal souls who never die.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
A superfood smoothie that is 100 percent plant-based.
What is your favorite word?
What book have you read more than once?
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda—I have read this book 11 times. Steve Jobs said he read this amazing book at least 34 times.
What is the best fictional representation (TV, movie, book) of a lawyer?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, with Gregory Peck playing the defendant’s lawyer, Atticus Finch.
What is your best random fact that you would share with others at a party?
God is love and kindness.