Get to know Melissa D. Carter
My background & credentials
I’ve never been willing to accept that some things just “aren’t fair,” or that “they are the way they are.” I’m driven to speak up when something isn’t just, to fight for what’s right and to fiercely protect the people I care for. This instinct is what led me to the law and now, as a mother and Partner at Adler Giersch, it’s a big part of what fuels me.
After graduating from UW and attending law school at Suffolk University in 1999, I was fired up to get into the courtroom, so I accepted a job as trial counsel for a prestigious insurance defense firm, defending large cases involving catastrophic injury, wrongful death and insurance coverage disputes. It was one of the best ways to build up courtroom experience, (something many attorneys don’t have), because we fought so many claims.
To succeed as an insurance attorney, I had to convince myself that every case I defended involved some level of fraud or exaggeration to justify my “win” for the insurance company (which always meant a loss to someone who was injured). I saw firsthand how insurance rules are stacked against victims. People who are hurt by someone else’s bad choices often get robbed of a fair shot because they simply don’t have the money and resources that the insurance companies do.
I took the advice of my hero Ani DiFranco who wisely said, “When you sit right down in the middle of yourself, you’re gonna wanna have a comfortable chair.” Then I took all that experience and knowledge of how insurance companies work and I switched sides. Almost instantly, I knew I was home.
How I care for my clients
Each case is unique with its own set of bends and curves, requiring that I rigorously prepare, that I guarantee accuracy in my legal analysis, and that I remain creative and open minded in my approach. What I can count on, and how I approach every case at the outset, is the understanding that every person who comes to me for help is incredibly vulnerable, often scared, grieving, broken and pained. They’re afraid of losing their homes, their jobs, their children, their independence. They never thought they’d need someone like me.
It’s hard to witness the grief, anger and frustration that my clients live with because of their injuries or loss. Knowing that good people have trusted me with their lives is the most cherished role I have, and when someone is counting on me, I won't ever let them down. I consider myself very lucky that I get to do what I love every day: stand up for people, ensure access to health care, hold wrongdoers accountable, and restore dignity. It gives me great joy to see the relief in my clients’ faces once they know that I have their back.
A few of the awards I’ve been honored to receive
Bright, compassionate, rigorously knowledge seeking, and makes you feel as though your case is her only case due to the attention she provides. I had a very difficult case to represent in that my primary injury was rare and not well understood even by most physicians. My settlement was both financially substantial and is aiding me in my emotional healing from the pain and suffering I have endured.
How I’m serving our community
I’m grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had, and make it a point to teach my children the importance of giving back. When I’m not at the office, I spend my time volunteering with my family at various community events hosted by the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington. I also spend a good deal of time working with rehabilitation organizations that research and treat spinal cord injury in the greater Seattle area.
I can also be found supporting my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, promoting the Rain City Rock Camp for Girls organization, and devoting time to advance women’s health rights at the local and national level.
When I’m not at work, you can find me...
As a native Seattleite, I feel it is my duty to attend as many local rock shows as possible. I particularly love attending all-ages shows with my three kids. My husband Mark and I are determined to have cool kids, whether they like it or not. When I’m not supporting local artists, I can be found walking Seattle’s sassiest bulldog, attending ultimate Frisbee games, supporting Seattle International Film Festival youth programs, and running long distance.