Former prosecutors team to open new law office

Longtime Grays Harbor County deputy prosecutors Megan Valentine and Kraig Newman have a new gig and some new digs.

They have both left the public payroll and have teamed up to form Valentine Law Office, upstairs in the historic Telephone Building in downtown Montesano.

Valentine, who spent seven years as a prosecutor, and Newman, who spent 10, are bringing their knowledge of the local judicial system and the community to the fledgling firm.

“We both have different areas that we focus on, but between the two of us, we cover all the different areas,” said Valentine.

“It’s going to be nice because anybody who comes in is a potential client,” added Newman.

Valentine, 35, who graduated from Montesano High School in 1996 and earned her law degree from the Ivy League’s Cornell Law School, specializes in anything “involving kids” — adoptions, dependency, juvenile law and wills. She is a Title 26 guardian ad litem.

Newman, 41, who grew up in Pocatello, Idaho, and earned his law degree from the University of Idaho, specializes in bankruptcy (Chapter 7, 11 and 13), business law, corporations, contracts, litigation, real estate and wills and probate.

The firm won’t be handling criminal defense work, because Newman’s wife — Katie Svoboda — is still a stalwart of the prosecutor’s office. They also won’t handle personal-injury cases.

“There’s a lot of competition in that — and nobody needs another personal-injury attorney,” Newman said wryly.

Newman believes there will be a strong demand for his bankruptcy work.

“For us, we both came here after school and we’ve got a commitment to the community, so we really want to foster a hometown law firm,” said Valentine. “We want to be that local law firm that people who know the community and stay here in the community, they can come talk to us today, and we’re here, and in five or 10 years — when you have other issues and need an attorney — we’re still here, we’re still doing what we’re doing.”

Valentine and Newman said they plan to be that sort of community-minded firm with a long-term commitment to Grays Harbor. They will also serve Pacific and Mason County clients.

Newman and Valentine pointed out that Grays Harbor could have a shortage of local attorneys in years to come, as an older generation of lawyers is closing in on retirement.

“There’s definitely enough work to go around and a lot of the local law firms, there are a number of attorneys who are getting close to retirement, so we’re looking to be well-established as people find their lawyers retiring and they need to find someone new,” said Valentine.

“The need for more attorneys is going to be stark here,” added Newman. “We’re not getting a lot of young attorneys staying here. … I really do believe there’s going to be a deficit of attorneys in this county and it will be problematic. We need people who are dedicated to the community.”

Valentine Law Firm is located at 208 S. First St, Suite 3, in Montesano. The phone number is (360) 249-8426. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The firm offers in-office appointments and internet-based video appointments.