Hugh McGavick Profile

Hugh McGavick

Mediation Attorney

A native Washingtonian, I was raised in Tacoma, and have had a residence or business in Thurston County since 1986. Since 1983, I’ve had an active federal and state court litigation practice in Pierce and Thurston counties, focused on civil rights and employment law, with some criminal defense, personal injury and consumer protection cases. I still handle select civil cases.

My very brief Education and Work Resume

University of Puget Sound in Tacoma (1976), BA, US history;
University of Oregon School of Law (1981) JD:
Admitted to the Washington State Bar (1981):
Law Clerk to US District Court Judge Jack E. Tanner in Tacoma (1981-1983); and
Self-employed attorney in Pierce and Thurston Counties (1983-present).

Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

I took Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center’s (DRC) 40-hour mediation training in 2009. As a senior certified mediator, I have volunteered for this outstanding organization ever since. In February 2017 I "discovered” Collaborative Divorce (CD), which is totally compatible with my peacemaker skills. I am actively engaged as a member of Collaborative Law Professionals of Pierce County (CLPPC), and in co-creating Thurston County Collaborative Professionals (TCCP), and as the liaison between the two groups. DRC’s 40-hour training was a basic prerequisite for my 2017 Collaborative Law certification.

If You Want to Learn, Teach (and Volunteer)

Winter Quarters since 2018, I have enjoyed teaching a six-week “Negotiation Skills”
course for the University of Washington Tacoma as part of their “Contract Management Certificate Program”.

Since October 2017, I have volunteered to teach multiple modules at most of the trainings presented by Thurston County DRC, with several more in the works, on topics such as “Negotiations”, “Communication Skills for Negotiations”, “Communication Skills for Gathering Information and Creating Forward Movement”, “Caucus”, “Agenda Building”, and “Law, Ethics and Mediation”. I will be co-teaching a two-day “Collaborative Negotiation Training” at DRC in September 2019.

I also love to learn: From February 2017 through July 2018, I took about 140 hours of CLE courses. (For perspective, the State Bar only requires 45 hours of CLE’s every three years.) I remain a CLE “frequent flyer”.

Besides training mediators and negotiators, my other active volunteer activities include:

Pierce County Center for Dialog and Resolution (CD&R) 4-hour settlement conferences of Superior Court family law cases, and 2-hour District Court civil cases. Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services (VLS) family law clinic, and pro bono client representation in litigation; Safe Place and VLS domestic violence legal clinic, and pro bono client representation in litigation seeking protection orders; and Thurston County DRC 2-hour mediations for family law, parenting plans, landlord-tenant, business-consumer, and employment cases since 2009; facilitating effective meetings; and mediating Thurston County District Court Small Claims court cases. I am also a (compensated) arbitrator for cases in Thurston County Superior Court under the Mandatory Arbitration Rules (MAR).


Both sides of my father’s Irish family settled in Pierce County in the 19th century. I am very fortunate to have four generations of family within 45 miles of my Thurston County home. In August 2017, 34 US McGavick clan members (14 from my father’s line) spent two weeks in Ireland with scores of Irish relatives at three separate reunion events, from Dublin to County Antrim on Ireland’s northeast coast. The Cushendall house my great- grandmother Rosetta went out the window to elope with my great-grandfather (Hugh “Fiddler” McGavick) in 1889 is still in the family, so of course we had a party there. ‘Twas the trip of a life time.

In 2017, I was blessed to spend 10 days with my mother, one-on-one. We recorded about 13 hours of her oral family history to preserve stories only she is left to tell. ‘Twas the best of times, as were additional recordings with her summer 2019.

Besides family time, I stay physically active and fit. You may run into me at Broadway shows, musicals and theater. (I saw Bruce Springsteen on Broadway in May 2018, and Hamilton in Seattle two months earlier: the two best shows I’ve ever seen.) I travel as my calendar allows, and visit family and friends in Ireland, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada and the US when able.

Representative Cases

Some representative cases I have tried:

Currier v. Northland Servs., Inc., 182 Wn. App. 733, 332 P.3d 1006, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 1895, 124 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 84, 2014 WL 3842954. (Retaliation for opposing perceived discriminatory acts under state law against discrimination.)

Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229, 63 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 1077, 17 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 181. (I was Thurston County Superior Court criminal defense trial counsel - requested and appointed to serve as public defender for Mr. Crawford because trial was anticipated - who made the record which led to the US Supreme Court’s significant, unanimous expansion of the 6th  Amendment right of confrontation.)

Frunz v. City of Tacoma, 468 F.3d 1141, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 28071 (9th  Circuit). (Federal 4th Amendment search and seizure violations, and excessive use of force case.)