Business partnership split

partnership splitIs your business partnership showing signs of fraying? Check out “How to break up with your business partner the right way” for cues to how to handle the split. The author, John Boitnott, cites three issues to look for. They include partners failing to carry their weight, fundamental issues that you can’t resolve and discordant work style issues.

The author focuses on the practical and psychological but also advises consulting a lawyer. Our 3-lawyer team for businesses can help you plan and negotiate your split, including tax, contracts, restructuring and estate planning.

Criminal Defense Attorney featured Yukon Do It! Runner

Check out this spotlight on Michele Taylor, GSJones criminal defense attorney. Join her in signing up for the July 7th  Yukon Do It! Marathon. Interviewer Ginger Johnson, runs the marathon organization, Run Amok Racing, Inc. and is on our staff.


Michele Taylor! Can I tell you how inspiring this lady is to me? She has taken her life and told it who’s boss! You need someone to tell you to stop complaining and get off your butt and do the work? This is your woman.

When did you begin running and why?

I started running in College…mostly for the health and stress relief benefits and then when I moved to NOLA it was a great way to get to know the city. Running the Neutral Ground or the levee in New Orleans was a favorite of mine.

At what age did you run your first half or full marathon?

37 – it was the Rock and Roll ½ Marathon in 2009.

What is the toughest run or race you’ve participated in?

I wish I could remember the name of it…it was on Vashon Island, a 5K, but it was super hilly and the weather was awful…we had snow in April that race day! I will say my pace was awesome because the faster I went the warmer I stayed.

What’s the most important lesson running has taught you?

Patience – it isn’t about how far or how fast you go because in running you can get as many gains from slow and steady as from crushing it.

What is your favorite route in the area?

I love running along the waterfronts so either here in Port Orchard or along Ruston in Tacoma

What race day traditions do you have?

On the way to the race I always stop at Starbucks for a Triple Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte and, since getting my Peloton, I always wear Peloton gear to race in.

What’s your life like outside of running?

Busy…my son graduates from High School in June and I have three dogs that keep me busy and smiling. I also regularly participate in challenge groups for the Peloton Power Zone pack and am just starting a running challenge that runs through July (3 runs a week – one long endurance run, an Intervals run and alternating Tempo/hill run). I enjoy reading, fashion and hunting down great shoes. All this and work too – am I crazy??

What’s your best race day advice to a new runner?

Race day isn’t the time to try something new, stick to the tried and true!

Any parting comments?

Running is amazing – the runner’s high is a real thing, but it is also important to cross train. I have been amazed at how mixing up my running with cycling and strength training has actually made my running better.

Proud co-sponsor of the Yukon Do It! Marathons

Many in our Kitsap law firm participate in Port Orchard’s only marathon. We invite you to join us for the July 7th half and full Yukon Do It! marathons.

Run Amok Racing, Inc. organizes the marathons, led by Ginger Johnson, GSJones legal assistant for personal injury and employment litigation.

Run Amok Racing donates a portion of all runner’s entry’s fees to Kitsap Humane Society this summer. The donation will help Kitsap Humane Society care for the more than 6,500 homeless and abandoned animals they take in annually.

Our staff at the races

Our legal team for criminal law and immigration visas, Cassie Close (left) and Michele Taylor (middle) are ready to run.

Ginger and husband and GSJones personal injury and employment law attorney, Chalmers Johnson, run an earlier Yukon Do It! These days Chalmers serves as Ginger’s second in command on race day.

You may need an estate planning lawyer if…

An estate planning lawyer is not just for the wealthy and elderly. You may need an estate planning lawyer if…..

You become a parent.

Parents want to make arrangements for the best life possible for their children if they die. Who do you want to care for your children? How can you guard against family struggles around custody that will further add to your child’s trauma? What financial arrangements will be best? Even if you have made the arrangements for existing children, return to your lawyer. The addition of another child calls for rethinking and talking with existing guardians.

You marry or plan to marry.

They say disagreement about finances is one of the leading causes of divorce. Making an appointment with an estate planning attorney gives you both a reason to talk through your ideas about handling finances with your spouse. In addition, you will look at how your financial plans dovetail and how they need changes.

You become single.

Losing a spouse requires that you reorganize your finances and make new plans. Not only is working with an estate planning lawyer good for your financial health, it also encourages you to look to the future.

You become ill.

We all know we need a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney but how many of us take care of it when we are healthy? Whether you just having routine surgery or develop a chronic illness, use this as a sign to execute these important documents.

One of our estate planning attorneys is here for you.

Many of our estate planning clients are either elderly or wealthy, but many are neither. Estate planning attorneys are happy to talk with you about your needs, dreams, and plans. They then draw together the legal documents that best support you plans and wishes, including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. A consultation is just $50. Call 360-876-9221 for an appointment at either our main Port Orchard office or the new Bainbridge Island office.


Business structure

The business structure right for you

Choosing the business structure that is right for you is not simply a matter of knowing the law. It is also a matter of knowing yourself. A good tax and business attorney can help you determine the best business structure based on taxation and liability. They must, however, know a lot about you and your vision for your business. Before you set up a consultation here are some questions to ask yourself.

  1. What is my vision for my business? Do I want to conquer the world or be a great local business? How about outside funding so that I can grow quickly? Or am I content with slow steady growth using my own funds and reinvesting profits?
  2. How much administration am I comfortable with? Do I need to plan for co-owners, or hiring several employees quickly? Finally, how much paperwork can I tolerate?
  3. Crucially, how comfortable am I with risking my personal assets? Some business structures leave your personal assets open to lawsuits against the business or open to process to satisfy business debts.

Let our business law team help you choose the business structure for you

As with many things in life, your choice of a business structure may be the result of trade-offs. As an example, some business structures that protect your personal property involve complexity and more paperwork. If you understand your own dream well and add to that your personal quirks we can advise you more effectively.

Our business law team offer diverse and extensive experience. Norman Short with 25 years experience in tax and business law also obtained an advanced legal degree in taxation. Kim Hammit focuses on small businesses and for more than 20 years Chalmers Johnson has helped both business owners and employees with employment law issues. For business owners, he can help establish personnel policies and investigate personnel situations and resolve them.

Let us help you make your dream a success by your own standards. Set up a consultation today at either our Port Orchard or Bainbridge Island office.


Divorce doesn't mean failure

Divorce doesn’t mean failure

Divorce doesn’t mean failure. In fact, divorce may be the mark of a successful marriage concludes Shana Lebowitz in a story titled, “Divorce isn’t a failure, therapists say. In fact, it could mean the marriage was a success.” For the article, she interviewed several marriage therapists. Here are some quotes to consider.

“Your marriage has one goal,” Hal Runkel said. “Marriage has evolved into a people-growing machine.”

Runkel says that it highlights the areas where you need to grow and change. As Laura Markham puts it, disagreements are opportunities to “grow yourself.”

According to therapist Rachel Zamore satisfaction in relationships depend on our attitudes toward change. We need to embrace our experiences as opportunities for growth. Too often we rate experiences based solely on whether it makes us happy or not.

And sometimes you change to the point that you see your marriage differently and understand that it is time to leave. Even if you did not initiate the divorce, you will have a much better experience during and after divorce if you look at it with a learning and growing lens.

Your attitude to your marriage breakup will help you make sounder decisions

You are also much more likely to make sound decisions during the process, our three family law attorneys say. Feelings of failure and rejection work against good decisions and strong recovery. David Jones, John Groseclose, and Larry Lofgren are careful to explain the pros and cons of each decision to clients. Clients, however, must make crucial decisions in divorces. You can help ensure sound decisions with a more realistic look at your marriage and the breakup.

community service

Legal community honors GSJones Law Group

Recently the Kitsap County Bar Association awarded GSJones Law Group with the Humanitarian Award for community service. The award recognizes more than 400 hours of volunteer labor to support our community in 2018.  In introducing the award, Bar Association Trustee Ron Richmond, a former GSJones Law Group attorney, said, “GSJones Law Group is where I learned what law was all about. Where I learned that justice is not justice unless it is accessible. And where I personally watched tonight’s recipients dedicate countless hours to the advancement of better communities, a better legal system, and a better tomorrow through volunteerism.”

The partners and most of the staff, pictured above, were on hand at the annual celebration. The volunteer work has been ongoing for many years through Kitsap Legal Services, Northwest Justice Project and the Rotary Club of South Kitsap. We are so honored by this recognition from the legal community filled with attorneys who also have impressive community service records. And Ron’s words warmed our hearts. We are very proud of our “graduate.”

Humanitarian Award

Managing Partner David Jones holds plaque at Kitsap Bar Association annual celebration.

Legal Services

Partner John Groseclose and legal assistant Cassie Close both serve on the board of Kitsap Legal Services. In addition, John serves as president. Sara Humphries received the Humanitarian Award in 2014, partially in honor of her work with KLS where she continues to volunteer. At the time she served on the board. At KLS attorneys, paralegals and other volunteers provide information, advice and representation for Kitsap residents who cannot afford attorneys.

Attorney Larry Lofgren volunteers regularly at the Spanish language family law clinic. In addition to her work for KLS, Cassie serves as a CASA volunteer representing the interests of children in Juvenile Court and submitting reports to the court.

The Weekly Tenant Clinic, started by, among others, John Groseclose, meets every Friday morning from 8:30 to 10:30 in room 250 at the Kitsap County Superior Court. It is a walk-in clinic, no appointment necessary. Bring any paperwork, including leases and payment information.

For help with other non-criminal legal issues make an appointment through the Northwest Justice Project by calling 800-621-4636. In addition, check out the excellent legal guides and forms.

Rotary Club of South Kitsap

Managing Partner David Jones is currently the president of the Rotary board and has been an active volunteer for many years. Port Orchard and other residents of South Kitsap know all the good work that the Rotary Club of South Kitsap does for the community, including scholarships, help for struggling families and community betterment. Larry Lofgren is also active in the Bainbridge Island Rotary Club.

Humanitarian Award Speech

On behalf of the bar association Ron Richmond said:

We take the unusual step tonight of presenting this award not to an individual, but to a group. To a team. To a collective that adopts as one of their core tenets that they take action to help solve social problems and … they may do it to excess.

This group, a firm of attorneys and their assistants, is a close-knit team that takes a lead role in volunteerism from community assistance to legal aid. They host regular volunteer clinics at their office. And then, they follow up with those who come to clinics, as well as facilitate CLEs to help others volunteer.

Two of them serve on the board of Kitsap Legal Services, one as its president; one of them is the President of a local Rotary club and leads the coordination of their events. In addition, they regularly contract with the Northwest Justice Project to provide legal services at vastly discounted rates.

$75,000 in donated time

Many of you know my enjoyment of auditing numbers. I talked with one of the Group earlier this week to get some official numbers about their service, and their conservative estimate, between attorneys and staff, is close to 400 hours of volunteer work and leadership in 2018. At least four hundred hours, and this is an understated number.

When we look at the hourly value of the time in our profession, for attorneys and staff, my math says that this volunteer investment into the community has a value of over $75,000.00 worth of time that they have donated.

For those of you who may not yet have guessed our recipient this year, the final clue is that about a decade ago, they took in a disabled attorney brand new to the profession. They made every accommodation needed to allow that disabled person to thrive and grow in a law practice – that attorney was me.

GSJones Law Group is where I learned what law was all about. Where I learned that justice is not justice unless it is accessible. And where I personally watched tonight’s recipients dedicate countless hours to the advancement of better communities, a better legal system, and a better tomorrow through volunteerism.



free consultation

For our neighbors: Free legal consultation

Many of our neighbors were hit hard by a tornado yesterday. We are just north of you on Bethel next to the Post Office. You face all kinds of headaches in this holiday season. Some of them may be legal and we are here to help. We are happy to meet with you at no charge for your initial consultation.

Among our eight attorneys are people with experience dealing with insurance companies, landlords and tenants, contracts and contractors, estates, taxes and almost any other legal problem the tornado may have brought you.

When you call 360-876-9221 to set up an appointment, just tell the receptionist that you want the free consultation for tornado survivors.

Welcome Larry Lofgren family law, bankruptcy attorney

Welcome Larry Lofgren

We are proud to welcome Larry Lofgren as our newest Associate, focusing on family law and bankruptcy. GSJones Law Group is also excited to offer family law and bankruptcy clients a new Bainbridge Island location. Larry comes to us from a solo practice on Bainbridge Island. You can schedule appointments with Larry at either our main office in Port Orchard or on Bainbridge Island. With additional experience in estate planning law and real estate, he will also strengthen those teams at GSJones Law Group.

Larry remarks on his roots here, “As someone with deep family roots in Kitsap County, I am excited to join GSJones Law Group. My parents grew up in Bremerton and I was born in Tacoma.”

He looks forward to helping clients navigate the unfamiliar and challenging family court system during emotional times.  “My approach is to get into court quickly, firmly and decisively when appropriate. And yet keep in mind the long-term plans of my clients and the need for healing.”

Though Larry grew up in Illinois, he spent summers with his grandparents in Bremerton. After practicing law in Chicago for over ten years, he moved to Seattle with his family in 2003. He and his teenage son moved to Bainbridge Island in 2013.

Drawn to serving people and the public good, fluent in Spanish

Larry’s first legal job was with a public interest law organization. Upon moving to Kitsap County he quickly became active in the Kitsap Bar Association. He uses his fluent Spanish volunteering regularly with Kitsap Legal Services. He has served as a Guardian ad litem. Currently, he uses that experience to better serve clients in family court.

He and his son are active in their Bainbridge Island community. Larry’s many community activities include the local Rotary Club, the Beacon Food Forest, and Friends of Bainbridge Island Farms (board member). He and his son enjoy biking, traveling, backpacking, skiing and playing clarinet and saxophone.

gender discrimination

Gender Discrimination: Equal time for Dads


Dads should have equal time to bond with their new children, according to a $1.1 million settlement in a gender discrimination lawsuit. Estee Lauder’s parental leave policy gave new moms six weeks paid leave. And yet, it awarded dads only two weeks leave. In addition, dads did not have the same flexible schedule benefits after returning to work. Best of all, Estee Lauder agreed to up to 20 weeks of paid leave for all new parents and six weeks flexible schedule.

Parental leave is a separate benefit from medical leave for childbirth. Although there is no federal law that requires parental leave. Yet, when an employer offers it, they must not discriminate based on gender. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of 210 new fathers.

Personnel policies need careful legal review

This lawsuit is an example of how expensive personnel policies can be when not carefully thought through.  “This settlement ensures that Estee Lauder will provide equal opportunities for time off to new dads and new moms, which …  makes sense for families,” said Mindy E. Weinstein, acting director of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office. The EEOC trial attorney Thomas Rethage added, “Parental leave policies should not reflect presumptions or stereotypes about gender roles.”

GSJones Law Group helps employers with policies

When you think of gender discrimination, do you think only about discrimination against women? Avoiding lawsuits like this one demands broad experience in employment law. For 22 years our employment law attorney, Chalmers Johnson, has worked with employers to create policies that are lawful. In addition, he creates policies that are fair and create good employee relations. He can review existing policies, employee handbooks, and other personnel materials. Or, he can start from scratch.

Chalmers Johnson cut his legal teeth representing employees

If your employer is not treating you fairly, you want to meet with Chalmers. He can assess the situation and help you decide what will work best. Some options include coaching you in how to deal with your boss; representing you directly with a complaint; and representing you in a lawsuit.

More information on employment law services is here.