WSBA No. 28790
the Bar No. nd Beyond
My name is Jane Potter. My bio
is not one about a continued rise in the
legal field; instead, it’s about fighting to
regain so much that was suddenly lost,
and helping others who have been similarly affected. I was a partner at a firm
in Seattle, practicing biotech patent
law, when I became severely ill in 2007
from off-gassed chemicals in an office
remodel. I spent over five years battling
for workers’ compensation and during
that process, I was shocked to discover
that everything is stacked against the
chemically injured worker. I now work
from home as a patent attorney and I
help people with similar injuries.
;I became a lawyer because I wanted to apply my science background as a Ph.D. biochemist to patent law or environmental
law. Before law school, I was a research scientist at the Jackson
Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine.
;My greatest accomplishment as a lawyer is surprisingly unrelated
to my career in patent law, although it drew on my experience
of critically analyzing scientific publications. Instead, it was
researching and writing an extensive analysis of the legal and
medical aspects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) for my
own workers’ comp case, resulting in Washington court recognition of MCS as a medical condition, instead of dismissing it as
a cultural or psychological phenomenon. With an estimated 15
percent of the population suffering from MCS or heightened sensitivity to chemicals in the environment, more recognition is needed.
;My career has surprised me by taking a
detour requiring me to set up as a sole
practitioner and work from home.
;The most rewarding part of my job is helping clients understand and negotiate
the complex maze of obtaining a
;The worst part of my job is the accounting side.
;During my free time, I travel and hike.
;The most memorable trip I ever took: This
is a tie between a week-long sailing
trip to find elusive spirit bears in the islands north of Vancouver
Island and visiting the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
;My favorite place in the Pacific Northwest is Glass Beach near Port
Townsend for beach-combing with friends.
;This is on my bucket list: Completing the 117-mile Fife Coastal
Path in eastern Scotland.
;This makes me smile: Finding a treasure while beach-combing.
;My worst habit is chocolate.
;My best habit is vegetarianism. Science keeps finding more
evidence that it’s healthy.
;I am thankful that I have regained
my capacity to hike.
;If I had a time machine, I would travel
back in time to see Nijinsky dancing.
;If $100,000 fell into my lap, I would
use half and donate half to charity.
;If I could get free tickets to any event,
I would attend The Royal Ballet
performing Swan Lake.
;If I have learned one thing in life, it
is that regaining one’s health is a
worthwhile effort — never give up.
;I would like to learn to play piano
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