Culp, Guterson & Grader

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Formation and early years

Egil Krogh disbarment fight

Jeffrey Dean embezzlement

Breakup in the 90s



Former partners

  • William Dwyer
  • Bruce Hilyer[3]
  • Charles Burdell[4]

Political connections

State and local government

See also


  1. New York Times, "THE SUCCESS OF THE 'PRESIDENT'S MEN'", 1986/07/13: "EGIL KROGH JR. "Bud" Krogh, the White House aide who headed the "plumbers" team and who was disbarred, fought for the right to practice law again and eventually won his case before the Washington State Supreme Court. In 1980, he joined the prestigious firm of Culp, Dwyer, Guterson & Grader in Seattle, where he now lives. Named a partner two years ago, the 46-year-old Mr. Krogh, who served four months in prison, works for such clients as the Washington State Convention Center and the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference. "He was hired on the merits of his character, intelligence and skills as a lawyer," said William L. Dwyer, the firm's senior partner, who had represented Mr. Krogh in his disbarment fight. "All of us believed he was a good man who had made a very serious mistake and atoned for it. We were entirely willing to accept him on his merits; our clients have been willing to do the same.""
  2. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "A voice from Initiative 502 goes on national TV at low octave", 2014/12/16: "Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., was once a crack Seattle trial lawyer with the Culp, Dwyer, Guterson & Grader law firm."
  3. King County Bar Association, "Profile / Bruce Hilyer: A Man for All Seasons" by Pete Ehrlichman, 2017/09/01: "In 1988, Bruce joined a bigger firm, Culp Gutterson & Grader, which had been founded by the legendary Bill Dwyer before he left to join the federal bench. It had 45 attorneys, which in those days was a “big” firm, and it allowed Bruce to work on some large cases with some great lawyers.

    That experience prepared Bruce to hit the ground running when he opened his own law office in 1994, emphasizing commercial, environmental liability and health law cases. One of his earliest passions was piloting small airplanes, and there was one two-year period when he flew his Mooney Rocket, single-engine airplane coast to coast for depositions and trial 18 times."
  4. Judicial Dispute Resolution LLC page for Charles S. Burdell Jr.: "Judge Burdell was appointed to the King County Superior court in November, 1987. Prior to his appointment, he was a Judge Pro Tem and Arbitrator in the King County District and Superior Courts, and a mediator in the United States District Court. From 1975 until 1987, he was a partner in the firm Culp, Dwyer, Guterson & Grader, serving as a managing partner from 1978-1983."

External links

  • Confirmed clients of CG&G
  • Gordon Culp background
    • Seattle Times, obituary for Gordon C. Culp, 2006/04/26: "Gordon Culp was born in Auburn, Washington on February 17, 1926. He attended public schools in Auburn through high school and was active in student life. [...] He served in the U.S. Navy as an Electronic Electrician's Mate from 1944 to 1946 and then graduated from the University of Washington where he majored in philosophy and economics. He was a proud and supportive member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Gordon served on the Law Review while earning a J.D. degree from the University of Washington Law School in 1952. After practicing law in Seattle for several years, he served as Counsel in Washington D.C. working for Senator Henry M. Jackson's Subcommittee on Territories and Interior Affairs. Gordon spent significant time crafting both the Alaska and Hawaii Statehood Acts. While in D.C., he met and married Joan Proctor. They were a devoted and happy couple for 42 years until Joan's death in 1996. [...] He worked for Senator Jackson in 1960 when "Scoop" was the Democratic National Chairman and served as the Senator's "advance man" during John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaign that year. In 1972, he worked for Senator Jackson's own presidential campaign. In 1957, Gordon co-founded the law firm of Culp, Dwyer, Guterson and Grader. He served this small but highly respected law firm for over 30 years, helping to shape the distinguished careers of its members, including several federal and state court judges. Over time, Gordon's special area of expertise was public power policy. He was one of the nation's leading and most sought- after attorneys in this field. What became nearly a thirty-year period of distinguished service to the University of Washington began in 1977 when he was appointed to the seven-member Board of Regents. During his two terms (twelve years) on the Board of Regents, he was President of the Board for two years and one of its most knowledgeable and effective members. [...] Shortly after leaving the Board of Regents in 1989, he agreed to join the prestigious Board of the UW Medical Center. This in turn led to his remarkable volunteer work for the rest of his life serving on the board, as well as Chairman, of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the UW Physicians Network (Neighborhood Clinics)."
  • Murray Guterson background
    • King County Bar Association, profile of Murray Guterson by Mike Frost, 1995/12: "In 1976-77 he was the president of the Seattle-King County Bar Association. [...] Despite the recent breakup of Culp, Guterson and Grader, Murray plans on staying right where he is."
    • Seattle Times, "Murray Guterson, revered defense attorney, dies at 83", 2013/10/08: "Mr. Guterson, one of Seattle’s most distinguished and beloved criminal defense attorneys, died Friday at 83, surrounded by his family, after a battle with Alzheimer’s. “He was a giant; he really was,” said Seattle attorney Pete Vial, who in 1975 went to work for Mr. Guterson at the legendary Seattle law firm Culp, Dwyer, Guterson & Grader. Mr. Guterson practiced at the firm, which disbanded in 1995, and its successor, McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren, for more than 50 years. [...] Murray Bernard Guterson was born in Seattle on Dec. 17, 1929. [...] After attending the University of Washington as an undergraduate and a law student, Mr. Guterson served as a King County deputy prosecutor and an assistant United States attorney in Seattle. In 1958, he joined a budding firm started by his former law-school classmates, William Dwyer, who as an attorney and federal judge became a towering figure in Northwest law, and Gordon Culp, a future University of Washington regent. They were later joined by George Grader, now the last living member from the nameplate of the firm, who on Tuesday recalled Guterson’s laughter, jokes, flamboyance, speaking ability and ubiquitous suspenders. [...] Mr. Guterson took pride in his family and was “a dad first and foremost,” said Vial, now of McNaul Ebel. Vial recalled that Mr. Guterson and a fellow attorney, David Gossard, would despair over the financial prospects of their “artistic offspring” sons. They were talking about David Guterson, the now-acclaimed Bainbridge Island author who wrote “Snow Falling on Cedars,” and eventual Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. [...] David Guterson recalled on Tuesday the time police with a metal detector came to the family’s North Seattle home because of a bomb threat related to his father’s defense of a client accused of spying for the Soviet Union during the Cold War."
  • George Grader background
    • Seattle Times, obituary for George L. Grader, 2016/07/27: "His student days at the University of Washington between 1946 and 1949 were interrupted by an 18-month tour of duty in the Army. While at the University he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and worked under the venerable golf pro, William Jefferson, Sr., at the then University Golf Course. Off to Spokane in 1949, he spent four years at Gonzaga Law School, graduating with honors in 1953. He moved to Olympia to clerk for Justice Mallery of the Washington State Supreme Court, but wound up accepting a position with the then Department of Institutions, eventually becoming administrative assistant to the Director. He was instrumental in the founding of the Washington State Employees Credit Union, now one of the largest credit unions in the state. In 1962-out of law school eight years, married and the father of two children, and 34 years of age-George made the wrenching decision to change careers and to practice law. To gain trial experience he spent two years as an Assistant Attorney General under John O'Connell, trying cases throughout the state. His entry into private practice came with an offer from Culp, Dwyer, Guterson and Edwards, a young and up-coming Seattle firm in the Hoge Building. That was 1964 and the beginning of a long, enjoyable and rewarding practice, primarily in litigation. He retired as a senior partner in Culp, Dwyer, Guterson and Grader." - note that John J. O'Connell, the Washington Attorney General from 1956 to 1968, later defended Ted Bundy in the Carol DaRonch kidnapping trial in Utah
  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. background (TODO: Make its own page)
  • Matt Menzer background
    • Menzer Law bio of Matthew Menzer - was an attorney at Culp, Guterson, and Grader from 1992 to 1996, a partner at McNaul Ebel Nawrot Helgren & Vance from 1996 to 2002, and the owner of the Menzer Law Firm from 2002 onwards
  • Seattle corruption
    • Black Box Voting, "Elections Programmer Jeff Dean worked for same firm as former Watergate attorney", 2006/01/27: "One of CG&G's clients was King County. A CG&G attorney, Bruce Hilyer, had been a King County deputy prosecutor and legal counsel to the mayor. Another attorney for the firm, Ann Schindler, later became senior deputy prosecutor for King County and a King County Superior Court judge. Cyrus Vance Jr., son of the former US secretary of state, was named a partner of CG&G in 1988.

      A month before Jeffrey Dean's Aug. 1995 release from prison, the law firm Dean says he "received money" from and "took the fall for" split up.
      - Egil Krogh formed a law firm with Thomas Erlichman, son of Watergate figure John Erlichman.
      - Two CG&G attorneys took positions in B.C. (Canada).
      - Pete Vial, one of the supposed signers of checks written to Dean, later represented Susan Barnes in an investigation connected with now-Governor Christine Gregoire
      - The other signature Dean was accused of forging belonged to Robert Stewart, who is now with McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren, the successor firm to CG&G."
    • 2018/08/05 comment by Bev Harris in the Black Box Voting group on Facebook: "Well I can't tell if Dean and Krogh knew each other. I spent a lot of time looking at this firm. What is apparent is that its partners were factionalized and after Dean was arrested the firm split into 3 different firms. Also, the firm was heavily involved in establishing the nuclear power industry. It was a national force in nuclear power lobbying. It also lobbied for the waste management industry, representing a client that was not squeaky clean, and I mean that in the corruption sense. They had tight connections to Seattle and King County and Washington state Democratic politics. One of the most colorful stories involved the girlfriend or wife of a partner; she took over a labor union after the former union boss, her former lover, was found dead in a bathtub sprinkled with parmesan cheese. During the time Jeff Dean was working for the firm, the Republicans had a juggernaut vote by mail system going in Washington state. Jeffrey Dean, his brother, and his wife all were involved in vote by mail work while working for the law firm and afterwards. Jeff Dean's bankruptcy affidavit contests the idea that he embezzled money, saying it was actually an under the table payment for an investment or p!an of some sort he was working on with some of the partners, that other partners didn't know about. Interesting because in my corruption research i have now learned of at least two companies involved in bribery, bid rigging etc that hid payoffs to fixers by calling them embezzlements."
    • Twitter thread by Bev Harris on 2020/08/01 about the history of Washington's vote-by-mail system
    • Mario Vaccarino murder - his former girlfriend Rhonda Hilyer was married to CG&G partner Bruce Hilyer
      • Associated Press, "Slain Seattle Labor Leader’s Death Leaves Many Questions", 1985/12/15: "Seven weeks after the killing of a union leader with a tough reputation, whose body was sprinkled with cheese and left face down in an overflowing bathtub, police have found few clues to the identity of his killer. Mario Vaccarino, 61, was business manager of Local 8 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, a union described last year by the U.S. Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations as plagued by mob corruption. Vaccarino had organizational ties to the union’s national leadership, but the subcommittee report did not implicate him or the local. [...] Vaccarino’s body was found Oct. 25 when a maid arrived at his home, found it ransacked and heard water running in the bathroom. [...] Vaccarino earned more than $80,000 last year as business manager of Local 8 and as an administrative assistant to Edward Hanley, general president of the international union. He also was a trustee of the international union’s welfare fund, which included a dental plan for hotel workers Local 54 in Atlantic City, N.J. At the time of his death, he was a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Labor Department over alleged irregularities in the dental plan. Vaccarino’s death left the local in the hands of Rhonda Hilyer, 35, his former girlfriend. She was appointed after the local’s executive board asked the international union to place it in trusteeship."
      • Puget Sound Business Journal, "Minimizing clashes in communication", 1998/09/06: "After years as a labor negotiator, Rhonda Hilyer was struck with the revelation that disagreements often occur not because of issues but because of inherent clashes between distinct personality styles. She used that revelation as a basis for forming Agreement Dynamics, her own Seattle-based consultancy. Hilyer has parlayed that revelation into one of the area's hottest seminar businesses. In Washington alone, Agreement Dynamics expects to generate revenues of $600,000 to $700,000 this year. The firm also has affiliate branches at Moraine Park College in Fond du Lac, Wis., and in Edmonton, Canada. And this spring, despite Hilyer's initial misgivings, the firm opened a branch in Glasgow, Scotland, which figures to be a beach head for further expansion into Europe. [...] Hilyer and her staff have conducted conflict resolution and team-building seminars for many local companies and organizations, including Alaska Airlines, the Weyerhaeuser Co., Highline Hospital, Todd Pacific Shipyards, the Port of Seattle and the cities of Kent, Kirkland and Mercer Island. [...] Currently, she has more travel obligations than she's comfortable with, but plans to cut back so that she can spend more time with her husband, trial lawyer Bruce Hilyer, and her three children. [...] The color-style seminar marketed so successfully by Hilyer is the creation of North Seattle psychologist Stefan Neilson and illustrator and educator Shay Thoelke. The two provide the color cards and training materials that Hilyer uses and she, in turn, pays them a royalty. Neilson and Thoelke also have a seminar business of their own called Aeon Inc., which trains the instructors who bring the seminars into their respective workplace and educational institutions."