King County Bar Association Honors Stoel Rives Attorneys for Pro Bono Work
Kathleen Sebastian, Marketing Manager - Seattle, 206.386.7513
Stoel Rives attorneys Maren Norton and Grant Wiens were recently named Volunteers of the Year by the King County Bar Association’s (KCBA) Kinship Care Solutions Project.
Norton and Wiens serve on a panel of attorneys who provide pro bono representation to low-income caregivers involved in nonparental custody cases. Kinship Care trains the volunteer attorneys, screens and assesses cases, and refers eligible clients directly to an attorney.
The KCBA selected Norton and Wiens as Volunteers of the Year because of their outstanding work and dedication in a particularly challenging trial. They shared the honor with attorneys Victoria Van Hof and L’Nayim Shuman-Austin, who had previously worked on the same case. They represented an aunt who raised a child from infancy. The child’s parents had a history of substance abuse and criminal activity. The mother filed a petition seeking to obtain immediate custody of the child, and the father separately petitioned for increased visitation rights. Both parents say they have overcome their earlier problems.
The case was hotly contested and complex, involving legal hurdles such as a recent appellate court decision that gives priority to biological parents’ custody rights. Nevertheless, Norton and Wiens persuaded the court to order a transition period for custody transfer, along with benchmarks the child’s mother must meet in order to gain full custody.
"We couldn’t be prouder of Maren and Grant," says Andrew Guy, Pro Bono Coordinator for Stoel Rives’ Seattle office. "They helped maintain a stable home environment for that child, and there’s no greater service to the community than protecting and nurturing the next generation."
Maren Norton is an associate in the Litigation practice group at Stoel Rives, where she focuses on general commercial litigation. In addition to her pro bono work, she is a volunteer with the Washington State Special Olympics. Norton received her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Grant Wiens is also an associate in the firm’s Litigation group. He handles trial and appellate litigation in a variety of complex commercial disputes. He co-founded and serves on the board of directors for the Grafton Street Fund, a charitable group that seeks out, promotes and supports innovative and successful nonprofit organizations, and he is an active volunteer for the Neighborhood Legal Clinics Program. Wiens received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
About Stoel Rives LLP: Stoel Rives is a business law firm providing counseling and litigation services to a wide range of clients throughout the western United States. The firm’s 350 attorneys operate out of nine offices in five states. Stoel Rives is regarded as a regional leader in energy, natural resources, environmental, litigation, corporate and intellectual property law. For more information, visit www.stoel.com.