Michael R. Caryl
Michael R. Caryl, P.S., Seattle
MICHAEL R. CARYL is a Seattle-based trial lawyer. With over 38 years of experience, he has tried more than 400 civil and criminal cases and arbitrations. Mike’s legal career began with criminal work in the early 70’s. He served 4 years active duty as an Army J.A.G., including a stint in the Airborne at Fort Bragg, where he tried several hundred courtsmartial, and later handled several hundred appeals before the Army Appellate Court and the Court of Military Appeals in Washington, D.C. Since his Seattle practice began in 1977, Mike has focused on civil trial work including personal injury, commercial and construction litigation, collection work and insurance litigation.Since 1995, the growing concentration of Mike’s practice has been on representing and counseling lawyers, law firms and clients in the area of attorney fee disputes. This practice developed out of his successful representation of Seattle attorney Fred Zeder and the Peterson Young Putra law firm. Zeder prevailed after a successful 5-day trial, an appeal to Division I and a petition to the Supreme Court. Taylor v. Shigaki, 84 Wn. App. 723 (1997), pet. den. 132 Wn.2d 1009 (1997) holds that a client cannot defeat a contingency fee agreement by terminating the lawyer who has substantially performed the contract.'
Mike has an active practice in representing both lay and lawyer clients in fee disputes. He is also active in making and defending fee shifting motions for awards of attorney fees to prevailing parties. He has an active practice in the foreclosure and quashing of attorney’s liens and has presented and written on this subject multiple times. This is the general subject of his presentation in this seminar. Mike also assists lawyers and firms with the legal implications of lawyers leaving their firms. These cases he terms “exit cases.” He also consults on both legal malpractice and attorney discipline issues involving attorneys fees and frequently serves as an expert witness in courts and arbitrations on attorney fee dispute matters, mostly relating to the reasonableness of attorney’s fees and lawyer billing practices.
Mike graduated from St. Lawrence University cum laude (1969) He received his J,D. from Georgetown University Law Center (1972) and his LL.M., with highest honors, from the National Law Center at George Washington University (1977). Mike was admitted to practice in Washington State, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Washington State Trial Lawyer’s Association, has taught Litigation for Paralegals at City University in Seattle, and has been an rated lawyer for over 26 years with the Martindale Hubbell law list, that organization’s highest rating. He is a frequent speaker and writer on fees and ethics issues. Mike is the editor/author of Chapter 3 on Attorney’s Fees of the WSBA Ethics Desk Book, which chapter was entirely re-written in 2008-09. His website dedicated to attorney’s fees and ethics issues is www.michaelcaryl.com.
Mike is married to Seattle employment lawyer Claire Cordon and they have three grown children. They enjoy travel, the mountains of Washington, the Arizona desert, Washington wine, and sushi.