Attorney Profile: Michael Ballnik
Michael joined Phinney Estate Law in 2009 as a way to use the legal drafting expertise he had developed in his prior legal experience working with corporations to help individuals and families and to pursue a legal practice that would allow him to spend more time with his own family.
At Phinney Estate Law, Michael serves as the Drafting Partner. In this position, he utilizes the skills he developed while interpreting and drafting complex insurance agreements and settlement documents for large commercial entities to draft trust agreements, LLC agreements, and other estate planning vehicles for Phinney Estate Law clients.
Prior to joining Phinney Estate Law, Michael worked in the Seattle office of international law firm Cozen O’Connor as a litigation partner. Michael has also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington. In that capacity, he represented the Washington Department of Corrections in civil litigation and appeals and argued before the Washington Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Michael was named a 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 Rising Star attorney by Washington Law & Politics magazine. Michael received a Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation from the Washington State Bar Association in 2004. Along with the Seattle office of Cozen O’Connor, Michael also received the 2005 Amicus Award from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project due to ongoing pro bono efforts on behalf of immigration and asylum clients.
Michael received his bachelor of arts degree in Criminology from the University of Manitoba in 1993 and earned his law degree, with distinction, from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1997, where he was a member of the North Dakota Law Review.
When not working or spending time with family, Michael is usually either playing or watching hockey.
Michael is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and King County Bar Association.
University of North Dakota School of Law, JD, 1997
University of Manitoba, BA Criminology, 1993
Honors & Awards
Washington Law & Politics Magazine Rising Star 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2008
Cozen O'Connor Pro Bono Honor Roll 2003 & 2007
NWIRP Amicus Award 2005
WSBA Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation 2004
North Dakota Law Review 1996-1997
Champion UND Moot Court Best Petitioner Brief Award 1995