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the Bar No. nd Beyond
I applied to law school because I was going to use a legal education to help me in business or politics. By my second year of
law school, I had developed a deep appreciation for the law and
wanted to practice. As a lawyer, I could help others and also
assist charitable organizations.
My greatest accomplishment as a lawyer is teaching and mentoring others. For 10 years after I graduated from UW School of
Law, I taught business law to upper division students at Seattle
Pacific University at 7: 30 a.m. while practicing law with Ryan,
Swanson & Cleveland. I still enjoy teaching paralegals and
attorneys at the firm, as well as participating as a panelist at
regional and national continuing legal education seminars.
The best advice I have for new lawyers is to listen to your client. Find
out what he/she really wants to accomplish before providing
your solutions. You should do less talking and more listening
during your initial client meetings.
The most rewarding part of my job is telling the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Service the stories of people who want to
work and to live. I have a chance to help give
“birth” to my client’s dreams of living in America.
The worst part of my job is the requirement to have a minimum
number of billable hours to log in each year. I have billed over
63,000 hours, often in the increments of tenths, which strains
The most memorable trip I ever took was during my first sabbatical
in 1989. For three months, I toured Europe with my family. I
recommend that everyone should have the experience of a sabbatical every seven years. When I was managing partner at the
firm, we instituted the sabbatical plan for everyone in the firm
so they could enjoy three months off as well.
My favorite place in the Pacific Northwest is Lake Sammamish. For
18 years, it was a wonderful playground for my children and
me, including swimming, sailing, and waterskiing. From various points, you have views of the Cascade Mountains and Mt.
Rainier. There is nothing like a 6 a.m. ski on absolutely flat water.
I would like to travel to all of the theme parks in the U.S. and ride
the tallest and fastest roller coasters. My first roller coaster ride
was in the first car on The Dipper at Playland in North Seattle
when I was 10 years old. My personal record on the Old Woody
at Playland in Vancouver, BC, is 26 times in three hours. Carl
Phare designed them both.
If I took one day off in the middle of the week, I would play a round
of golf at Indian Summer with Judge Swanson whom I clerked
with on the Court of Appeals.
My favorite musical artists are Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.
My first car was a 1953 Chevy, but I wanted to be driving a 1957
If $100,000 fell into my lap, I would invest it in Google stock.
If I could get free tickets to any event, I would want to go to the Celine Dion show in Las Vegas with my family.
My all-time favorite movie is The Mission, starring Robert De Niro
and Jeremy Irons.
If I have learned one thing in life, it is to remember who dug the well
My name is JOEL PAGE T. I was born at Seattle General Hospital
and raised in south Seattle. I graduated from Seattle Pacific
University, majoring in business and economics. I earned my
J. D. at the University of Washington School of Law. I clerked
a year on the Washington Court of Appeals and then went
to work for Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland in 1971. I practice
primarily U.S. immigration law. In addition, I practice estate
planning, probate, and tax law. I am married to Helen H.
Paget and we have a one-year-old daughter. I also have two
children by a prior marriage. I can be reached at paget@
ryanlaw.com or 206-654-2215.
Joel Paget with his son, Jeremy, at SuperBowl XLIX.
WSBA No. 2575
Joel H. Paget
Law School: University of Washington School of Law