Nancy Retsinas

I am seeking appointment to the Clark County Superior Court Bench, Department 1, and ask for your consideration in the CCBA Judicial Preference Poll.

In the nearly 30 years I have practiced law, a lot has changed — especially over these past 12 months. Our legal community has faced many challenges in a short period of time.

We interact with each other differently. Practice law differently. Even appear in Court differently - over Zoom on the net, equipped with a webcam and a computer.

As Officers of the Court and members of a legal community, we are shining a new light on our solemn responsibility to hold ourselves and our judicial system accountable to the ideals of justice, fairness, access, and equity.

My focus on serving our community as a Judge has only deepened, and I remain committed to presiding with patience, compassion, humility and respect towards all who appear before me.

And with these commitments, I pledge to:

  • Engage the public to build trust and confidence in the judiciary
  • Hear, internalize, and consciously cultivate racial, cultural, and socio-economic competency
  • Act intentionally to recognize and reduce disproportionality and bias in judicial decision-making
  • Foster transparency in the administration of justice to promote the highest standards of accountability 
  • Address inequities in the legal system and improve the system of justice to ensure true access and equitable treatment of all

 Thank you for your consideration.


Learn about my legal background


Key Attributes

Seasoned private practice lawyer with broad-based litigation experience

  • Domestic relations, civil litigation, criminal defense, guardianship, landlord-tenant, probate and trust law, real estate
  • Accepted indigent defense contract appointments for juvenile offender and adult felony matters over the first 10 years of practice
  • More than 1500 court appearances over nearly 30 years in practice; significant motion practice and bench trial experience

Dispute resolution neutral with solid command of due process

  • Superior Court Pro Tempore Commissioner
  • District Court Judge Pro Tempore 
  • Mediator
  • Guardian ad Litem, Title 11 and Title 26 (past)
  • Vancouver School District disciplinary hearings officer (past)

Legal professional with demonstrated commitment to equity and access to justice

  • Worked with countless self-represented litigants as an advocate, a neutral, and a pro tempore judicial officer
  • Conducted more than 100 volunteer advice clinics advising more than 500 self-represented individuals, including direct representation of more than 40 pro bono litigation clients
  • Volunteer attorney for CCVLP Housing Justice Project, Eviction Resolution Pilot Program 
  • Three-time CCVLP Volunteer Lawyer of the Year
  • Moderator, Clark County Listening Sessions on Systemic Racism

Highlighted public service involvement

  • Mentor, Joint Minority Mentorship Program
  • Contributing Author, Washington Practice Manual, Family Law
  • Service on numerous Ad Hoc Bench/Bar Committees over course of career
  • Frequent presenter, lecturer, and instructor on substantive law, ethics, practice development, dispute resolution
  • Nearly 30 years of continuous service on multiple community non-profit boards

Rated "Exceptionally Well Qualified" by multiple Minority Bar Associations

  • Washington Women Lawyers (WWL)
  • Latina/o Bar Association (LBAW)
  • The LGBTQ+ Bar Association of Washington (QLAW)


Detailed Curriculum Vitae

  • Work History

    Nancy Retsinas PC, dba Retsinas Collaborative Law Center  (Jan 2015–Present)

    • Solo practitioner
    • Family law representation and mediation, collaborative divorce, pre-nuptial agreements
    • More than 50 court appearances over this six-year period

    Nancy Retsinas PC, dba Retsinas Law Office  (Oct 2011–December 2014)

    • Solo practitioner
    • 70% of legal practice consisted of family law litigation; 15% collaborative law and mediation; 15% estate planning, guardianship, probate and trust law
    • More than 100 court appearances over this three-year period (about three court matters per week)

    Nellor Retsinas Crawford PLLC  (Jul 2005–Sept 2011)

    • Member of three-attorney law firm
    • 70% of legal practice consisted of family law litigation; 15% collaborative law and mediation; 15% estate planning, guardianship, probate and trust law (other lawyers practiced business and real estate law)
    • More than 300 court appearances over this six-year period (about four court matters per week)

    Law Office of Morse & Bratt, PC  (Oct 1991–June 2005)

    • Member of mid-sized general practice law firm
      • Associate Attorney, 1991 – 1996
      • Shareholder, 1997 – 2005
      • Vice President for Personnel Management, 1997 – 2005
    • General practitioner in civil litigation, criminal defense, domestic relations, estate planning, guardianship, juvenile, landlord-tenant, probate and trust law, and real estate (see "Matters Handled" section below for more detail)
    • 70% of law practice devoted to family law litigation, 1995 – 2005
    • 70% of law practice devoted to juvenile offender matters, 1992 – 1996; lead associate on juvenile offender contracts for approximately four years
    • Accepted appointments and/or assisted colleagues in indigent adult criminal defense appointments under law firm contracts for approximately ten years
    • More than 1000 court appearances over this 14-year period (more than six court matters per week)

    Judicial / Quasi – Judicial Roles

    Pro Tempore Commissioner, Clark County Superior Court  (2019–Present)

    • Presided over nearly 800 motions/petitions scheduled on nearly 100 dockets, such as; juvenile offender, protection orders (anti-harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, vulnerable adult), and family law (show cause, modification, Pro Se, child support)

    Pro Tempore Judge, Clark County Superior Court  (2001–2003)

    Part-Time Judge, Clark County District Court  (1998–2004 & March 2021–Present)

    • Presided over innumerable dockets between 1998 and 2004: non-support, criminal, small claims, traffic, collections, civil matters

    Hearings Officer for Suspensions and Expulsions, Vancouver School District  (1998–2001)

    • Presided over school suspension and expulsion appeals and issued written rulings with detailed findings

    Court-Appointed Roles

    Guardian ad Litem, Title 26 and Title 11  (1994–2000)

    Indigent Defense Counsel, Juvenile Offender and Adult Felony  (1992–2002)

  • Education & Licenses

    Washington State Bar Ass’n Lic. #21265  (1991)

    Oregon State Bar Lic. #921055 (1992)

    University of Oregon School of Law, JD  (1991)

    University of Portland, BA, Communications / Journalism  (1986)

  • Civic & Professional Leadership

    Women of Achievement Iris Award Recipient

    • Awarded, 2018
    • Presented in observation of International Women’s Day, this award celebrates women’s outstanding contributions to the community

    Collaborative Professionals of Washington

    • Board Director, 2017 – Present
    • Treasurer, 2018 – 2020
    • Vice-President / President-Elect, 2020 – 2022
    • Professional association focused on supporting professionals who provide services for non-court resolution of legal disputes

    Cappella Romana

    • Board Director, 2013 – Present
    • President, 2017 – 2019
    • Internationally recognized vocal ensemble based in Portland, OR focused on the exploration of ancient Eastern Orthodox Christian liturgical music
    • Led development of three-year strategic plan that included facilitating internal stakeholder consensus-building, and developing SMART goals, objectives, and tactics to support focus areas

    The Children’s Center

    • Board Director, 2002 – Present
    • President, 2007 – 2009
    • Mental health agency serving children and their families in SW Washington
    • Led multi-year strategic planning process that resulted in launch of successful Capital Campaign for new facility; co-led and co-wrote Facilities Feasibility Study for site selection process

    Two Rivers Institute for Dispute Resolution (now known as Two Rivers Collaborative Practice)

    • Founder / Lead Trainer, 2015 – 2019
    • Delivered consensual dispute resolution (CDR, also known as ADR) training to more than 60 local attorneys over a four-year period
    • Continue to maintain consumer-oriented directory of CDR legal professionals

    H-Roc PAC

    • Board Director, 2013 – 2017
    • Non-partisan political action committee that endorses and supports women seeking non-partisan political and community leadership roles in SW Washington
    • Co-Led development and execution of an H-ROC project called “Girls ROC” focused on promoting leadership in young girls and bringing attention to 2014 Day of the Girl

    Community Mediation Services

    • Steering Committee Member, established to form non-profit agency after losing government funding, 2007 – 2010
    • Founding Board Director, 2009 – 2010
    • Dispute Resolution Center providing mediation and conciliation services for a wide range of disputes, including neighbor-to-neighbor, landlord-tenant, consumer, small claims, public agency

    Clark County Emergency Medical Services Administrative Board

    • Vice Chair / Board Director, 2004 – 2014
    • Five-member advisory board appointed by the Clark County Board of Commissioners (now County Council) to provide oversight of emergency medical services contracts and related issues


    • Co-Chair / Moderator, 1999 – 2004
    • A grassroots organization that brought citizens together to discuss important issues affecting our community in a neutral forum promoting enlightened dialogue and the sharing of ideas

    Clark College Foundation

    • Board Director, 1999 – 2003
    • Committee work included funds allocation, student scholarships selection, gift acceptance

    Rotary International, Vancouver Rotary Club

    • Member, 1998 – 2015
    • Board Director, 2002 – 2004
    • Committee involvement included "Partners for Work Committee", a program providing guidance to local employers in support of their employment of adults with developmental disabilities

    SWIFT (Southwest Washington Independent Forward Thrust)

    • Member / Board Director, 1998 – 2003
    • President, 2001 – 2003
    • SWIFT was a grassroots organization providing grants to small non-profits in the SW Washington region

    Fair Campaign Practices Taskforce of the League of Women Voters of Clark County, Campaign Watch Committee

    • Co-created and led local Fair Campaign Practices Taskforce that created the Campaign Watch Committee; investigated complaints from citizens and candidates alleging violation of a candidate’s pledge, 1995 – 2003
    • Facilitated taskforce decision-making process, and wrote and delivered written opinions with findings

    League of Women Voters of Clark County

    • Member, 1994 – 2003
    • Board Director, 1994 – 2000
    • President, 1995 – 1999
    • Non-partisan organization that informs and educates the public regarding political issues and candidates
  • Associations

    Washington State Bar Association

    • Dispute Resolution Section
    • Family Law Section

    Oregon State Bar

    Clark County Bar Association (CCBA)

    CCBA Family Law Section

    • President, 1996 – 1997
    • Secretary, 1995 – 1996

    Washington Women Lawyers

    Collaborative Professionals of Washington

    • President-Elect, 2021 – 2022
    • Vice-President, 2019 – Present
    • Treasurer, 2017 – 2019
    • Board Director, 2017 – Present

    Academy of Professional Family Mediators

    American Bar Association

    • Dispute Resolution Section
    • Judicial Division Lawyers Conference

    Association for Conflict Resolution

    Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

    International Academy of Collaborative Professionals

  • Roles & Committees

    Mentor, 2021

    • Joint Minority Mentorship (JMM) Program (Sponsored by Foster Garvey and hosted by JABAW, MELAW, WADA, NIBA, WSBA-ILS, KABA, & WWL); this program pairs law students and new lawyers who self-identify as being from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups with mentor attorneys and allies as mentees prepare to enter and navigate their legal careers

    Author, 2016 – Present

    • Contributing Author – Washington Practice Manual, Family Law, Volumes 19-21, West Publishing (2016)
    • Co-Author – Commentary on Interdisciplinary Teamwork in Family Law Practice, Family Court Review, Vol. 56 No. 3, July 2018, pages 470-473 (2018)
    • Contributing Author – Building a Successful Collaborative Law Practice (Forrest Mosten and Adam Cordover) (2018)
    • Blog, 

    Chairperson / Member, Clark County Bench-Bar and Clark County Bar Association, 1996 – 2011

    • District Convener, YMCA Mock Trial Youth and Government Program
    • Chairperson, Family Court Mediation Steering Committee
      • An independent committee of community stakeholders, formed at the request of the CCBA Family Law Section and with the blessing of the Superior Court Bench, to develop a recommendation for a court-affiliated family mediation program
      • Facilitated consensus-building discussions with community stakeholders that led to development of vision, goals, work plan, and proposed charge
      • Researched, collected, synthesized, and analyzed data throughout the Washington Superior Court system; wrote and delivered Charge Request to Superior Court Bench and Court Administrator
    • Chairperson, Committee relating to development of standards for parenting coordination
    • Chairperson, Committee relating to the development of standards for visitation with under school-age children
    • Member, Committee related to standardizing discovery in family law matters
    • Member, Family Law Annex Committee
    • Member, CCBA Taskforce for Courthouse Improvement, relating to the development of a long-range strategy for improvement of court services and space
    • Member, Committee relating to the development of standards for Clark County Guardians Ad Litem in domestic relations matters

    Moderator, 2018 – Present, and 1996 – 2003

    • Clark County Council Listening Sessions on Systemic Racism, JulyAug 2020
    • As Judges and Commissioners See It: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make in Family Court, National Business Institute, Vancouver, WA, Nov 2018
    • Candidates' Forums, League of Women Voters of Clark County, numerous between 1996 – 2003

    Presenter, 2000 – Present

    • How to Lay a Foundation to Get Your Evidence Introduced, National Business Institute, Webinar (scheduled for June 25, 2021)
    • Domestic Relations Attorneys of Washington (DRAW), Impact of COVID on Family Law Issues, 2020 Virtual DRAW Conference, Co-Presenter
    • Clark County Bar Association (various dates beginning in 2000)
      • Putting a Halt to Legal Bullying: An Overview of our Newly Enacted Abusive Litigation Statute, Webinar (scheduled for June 9, 2021)
      • Managing Client Relationships: Establishing Rapport, Building Trust, and Earning Respect, Young Lawyers Section
      • Lawyer Ethics
      • Informed Consent
      • Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting
      • Navigating a Divorce Case from Initial Consultation to Decree
      • Mediation Advocacy
      • Interest-Based Mediation, Family Law Section
      • Conflict Resolution in Guardianship Matters, Guardianship Section
      • Collaborative Practice Primer
    • Oregon State Bar (OSB), Introduction to Collaborative Law, 2017 OSB Family Law Section Annual Conference, Bend, OR

    Trainer, 2008 – Present

    • American Bar Association, 2018 Practice Development Institute, Co-Trainer, Chicago, IL
    • Collaborative Practice Northwest, Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law 2-Day Training, multiple trainings in 2008 and 2009, Bend, OR and Vancouver, WA
    • Collaborative Professionals of Washington (CPW)
      • Inside-Out Washington: Bringing the Conflict Professionals' Experience into the Heat of the Conflict, 2020 CPW Fall Training, Webinar Series
      • Bridging the Gap: From Theory to Every Day Collaborative Practice, 2019 CPW Fall Training, Yakima, WA
      • Assessing Client Capacity, 2019 CPW Statewide Annual Conference, Vancouver, WA
      • Screening and Suitability for Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes, 2017 CPW Statewide Annual Conference, Lake Chelan, WA
    • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), Cultivating the Professional-Client Relationship, 2018 IACP Networking and Educational Forum, Seattle, WA
    • Mosten Divorce Mediation Training, Advanced Mediation Training, Associate Trainer, 2019, San Diego, CA
    • Two Rivers Institute for Dispute Resolution (now Two Rivers Collaborative Practice), Vancouver, WA
      • Dispute Resolution in the 21st Century: Cultivating a Satisfying Peacemaking Practice, Associate Trainer 2017
      • Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law 2-Day Training, Lead Trainer in multiple trainings in 2015 and 2016 
      • Lunch & Learns, multiple topics 2018-2019
      • Mastery Skills Trainings, multiple topics 2018-2019

    Volunteer Lawyer, 1992 – Present

    • Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program (CCVLP)
      • LatinX Outreach Legal Clinic
      • LawyerTalk Clinic
      • Monthly Family Law Advice Clinic
      • Housing Rights Project
      • Direct Representation
    • Conducted more than 100 advice clinics, advising more than 500 individuals who could not afford lawyers; represented approximately 40 Pro Bono litigation clients; devoted approximately 75 hours a year to advice clinics and Pro Bono family law representation
    • Volunteer of the Year 1996, 2002, 2006

    Volunteer Mediator, 2008 – Present

    • Community Mediation Services
    • Mediated at least 50 disputes involving more than 100 community members, ranging from neighbor-to-neighbor, small claims, landlord-tenant, small business, and public agency disputes
  • Matters Handled

    Civil causes of action include: adverse possession, breach of contract, collections, consumer protection, fraud & misrepresentation, mechanics’ & materialmans’ liens, partition, pre-judgment writs (attachment, habeas corpus, replevin), post-judgment collection (debtors' examination, garnishment, nonjudicial foreclosure), quiet title, suits in equity (estoppel, laches, specific performance, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, waiver)

    Title 11 actions (probate and trust law) include: claims against estates, guardianship, settlement of estates, TEDRA, trusts accounting

    Title 13 actions (juvenile courts) include: at-risk youth, emancipation, guardianship, juvenile offenders, juvenile dependency, termination of parental rights

    Title 26 actions (domestic relations) include: adoption, child support, custody, divorce and separation, interstate compact, modification, parentage, nonparental custody, relocation, restraining orders, UCCJEA

    Protection Orders handled: anti-harassment, domestic violence, no contact, sexual assault, stalking, vulnerable adult    

    Procedural issues include: consolidation, counterclaims, crossclaims, injunctions, interpleader, intervention, joinder, long-arm jurisdiction, multi-jurisdictional claims, stay of proceedings, reconsideration, relief from judgment

    Evidentiary and Discovery issues include: depositions and interrogatories/production of documents, expert witnesses, issuance and enforcement of subpoenas, protective orders, motions in limine, and evidentiary issues such as: admissibility, authentication, foundation, hearsay, opinion and expert witness testimony, privilege, relevancy

  • Judicial Evaluation Committee Ratings
  • Judicial Education Courses

    National Judicial College 

    • Taking the Bench, Online Course, 16 credit hours, February 5, 2021 – March 5, 2021

    WSBA CLE in association with District and Municipal Court Judges Association Diversity Committee 

    • Attorney Training for Service as Pro Tem Judge in District and Municipal Courts, Webinar Series, 9 credit hours, February 26, 2021 – March 12, 2021


Legal Background

After I finished law school in 1991, I came back home to Vancouver and joined a mid-sized general practice law firm. I began making multiple weekly court appearances on criminal, civil, and family law matters almost immediately, and throughout the years have gained solid experience in a wide array of practice areas. I’ve included a list of the types of civil legal actions, procedural issues, and discovery issues I have handled in my Detailed Curriculum Vitae under “Matters Handled.”

During the first ten years of my legal career, I handled indigent criminal defense matters in juvenile and adult felony court. I was appointed to represent individuals accused of offenses ranging from theft to sexual abuse, and handled all aspects of most cases from first appearance through plea or trial. This work is significant to me because it provided the setting upon which I learned, from a practical, day-to-day perspective, how to protect an individual's constitutionally guaranteed right to due process. And, as a new attorney, I gained invaluable experience managing a heavy docket load.

I eventually settled in to representing clients in all facets of domestic relations, which has been my primary practice area for about 20 years. My practical and broad-based early legal experience gave me the solid foundation needed to manage a multi-faceted domestic relations litigation practice, and then — after about 1500 court appearances and 40 bench trials later — a rewarding collaborative family law and mediation practice.

My diverse experience along the continuum of dispute resolution processes led me back to the courtroom as a Superior Court Pro Tempore Commissioner and District Court Pro Tempore Judge. Presiding in these roles has only strengthened my desire to step into public service as a Judge, and I would be honored to have an opportunity to impact our community in this way.