“I was both scared and confused… Janel gave me the legal guidance I was looking for and the words of comfort I so desperately needed.”
“Janel was knowledgeable, kind, and quick to respond to my questions. She worked with me to provide me options and how to handle the unfolding saga of my life…. [I]n the end I was able to walk out with my head held high, my dignity intact, and a new life to unfold in front of me.”
“I would definitely recommend her to anyone who needs a good lawyer. Her services have been invaluable!”
“Compassion and knowledge are key, and that is what you will get with Janel Ostrem.”
Every client that I meet comes with their own history, their own unique set of circumstances, and their own hopes and fears. Many have never been through a court process before and need help understanding the framework. Others are concerned about how to make the best decisions for the next chapter of their lives or the lives of their children. Most importantly, they need a strong advocate to present their story, argue the law, and negotiate on their behalf when needed.
No two clients are alike and no two cases are alike. For every client, whether or not their legal issues are difficult or complicated, my goal is to help them understand the process and the law as it applies to the facts of their case. I have found that clarifying the process and allowing clients to be in control of their own case helps to minimize stress. Once we both understand the foundation of their case, we can work together to move through the conflict toward a final resolution.
My personal philosophy is to never add conflict to a family law case. The parties involved have often had difficulty with effective communication and I view it as part of my job to facilitate and even strengthen communications as the parties work toward a resolution. I believe civility can accomplish much more than bullying. To that end, I prefer to negotiate when I can. When we can negotiate, we can create solutions that are more closely tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. However, when negotiation doesn’t produce the results we need, then I work closely with you to prepare your case for presentation to the court. When court is necessary, in addition to arguing the case and clearly presenting the facts and evidence to the court, I act as a calm presence supporting my client.
For me, life is about the relationships we have with one another. The relationships we have with our family members, even after a separation or divorce, will persist for years or even decades. The relationships we have with our children need to be protected and cherished. The same is true for me in my approach to practicing law. I make my relationships with clients a priority. In order to be an effective advocate, developing a trusting and honest connection is crucial. I have found that thoughtful analysis, combined with respectful communications with the other side, can often resolve even the most difficult situations.
Collaboration: Collaboration, a noncourt conflict management option, can be good for couples who want to work out their own best solutions with the help of a professional support team. Your collaborative attorneys will work tightly with each other and the rest of the team to guide you through the steps of the decision-making process. Let me know if you would like to explore whether this option might work for you.
Mediation: For simpler cases where the clients need less professional support, I also offer mediation services. You will still need attorneys to answer your legal questions and prepare the divorce paperwork, but they will generally not be attending the mediation sessions. Let me know if you would like to discuss mediation further.
Litigation: Litigation is the process of representing a client in a contested matter. It includes advising the client, collecting and developing evidence, analyzing the facts and law, negotiating with the opposing counsel, and presenting the best case possible in court. Litigation is often the best option for clients with uncooperative or difficult spouses, or when domestic violence or substance abuse issues are concerns.
Cooperative litigation: When possible, I prefer working with the opposing counsel in a cooperative manner to reduce conflict and expense. Cooperation means being solution-oriented rather than an obstructionist. It may include agreeing to voluntarily exchange documents and other materials rather than having to engage in formal discovery, trying to resolve issues through negotiation before resorting to court, and not engaging in bullying behaviors.
You can contact Janel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janel Ostrem received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her law degree from the University of Washington, where she served as a Notes and Comments editor for the Washington Law Review. Janel began her law practice by representing individuals in South King County, later relocating her work to the Seattle area when joining Seattle Divorce Services. Janel currently serves on the board of directors for Solid Ground, a local nonprofit working to end poverty in our community.