Oldest Eastside law firm celebrates 75 years in Kirkland

Last week, a Kirkland firm celebrated its 75th anniversary.  You may have seen the office, overlooking Central Way and Lake Street.  Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog is the oldest law firm on the Eastside and has been meeting the legal needs of area residents, businesses and institutions since the Great Depression.  The anniversary celebration was held last Wednesday afternoon in another Kirkland institution, Heritage Hall, under delightfully clear skies.

Since its establishment in 1935, when freshly-minted attorney Maury Powell crossed Lake Washington by ferry to open an office at the corner of Lake Street and Kirkland Avenue, the law firm and its members have played important roles in the Kirkland and the surrounding communities.  Powell was instrumental in Kirkland’s acquisition of Marina Park, buying the park land on behalf of the city at a Depression-era sale on the steps of the old King County Court House for $350.  In 1952, Gordon Livengood joined the firm, then named Powell & Johnson.  Livengood continued to practice with the firm until his death in 2001, forging many ongoing relationships with Kirkland companies and residents.  As lawyers such as Grant Silvernale, Phil Carter and Bob Tjossem worked with and retired from the firm, its name changed over the years.  Silvernale, Carter and Tjossem were all present for the 75th Anniversary celebration.  The current name continues to honor the contribution Livengood made to the firm and the region.

Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog has long-standing ties to many local businesses.  For 75 years, it has represented Lee Johnson Chevrolet, which the firm counts as its longest continuous client.  Tod Johnson, president of Lee Johnson Chevrolet said, “The Livengood firm has been a valued counselor to our company for many years.  We are grateful not only for their skill, but also a shared commitment with the Lee Johnson family to making Kirkland a better place to live and do business.”

The law firm’s past members have played important roles in the life of Eastside residents, without fanfare.  A few of the many initiatives with which the firm has been involved include its founder, Maury Powell working behind the scenes to bring the Albert D. Rossellini Bridge (Highway 520) across Lake Washington in the 1950s.  In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the firms’ attorneys helped establish a hospital district to meet the growing healthcare needs of Eastside residents.  Evergreen Hospital Medical Center was the result, and the firm has served as general counsel to the hospital since its inception.  “The Livengood Firm has been instrumental in helping Evergreen become the wonderful healthcare institution it is today,” said Al DeYoung, a member of the Evergreen Board of Commissioners since 1980 and its current chair.

Lake Washington School District deputy superintendent Janene Fogard also attended, and spoke of Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog’s service as general counsel to LWSD.  “We’ve worked closely with the lawyers from the firm for many years.  When I joined LWSD, Bob Tjossem was always there when the school district needed help.  Now LWSD looks to another generation of the firm’s lawyers, David Alskog and David Seeley, to help us navigate ever-more-complicated issues facing schools.” The firm also helped create the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting area schools.

Guests at the anniversary party heard a brief history of the firm by Senior Partner Jim Fitzgerald and Managing Partner David Alskog, and many renewed acquaintances stretching back decades, both with each other and the law firm.  Former mayor Bill Woods and current Mayor Joan McBride joined the festivities, as did many other dignitaries, clients and friends of the firm.

As Alskog noted, while 75 years may not be a long time by European standards, it is quite a long time for a law firm to be continuously operating here on the Eastside.  The firm is proud to be celebrating its 75th anniversary and looks forward to providing quality legal services for many years to come.  Fitzgerald thanked the community and the firm’s clients for the opportunity to have been of service and to share in the growth and development of Kirkland.