Founded in 1946, the law firm of Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP (formally Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP) is commemorating their 70th year providing quality legal services in our community and they sure are making a splash. Although the law firm has six attorneys and a wide variety of practice areas including family law, criminal defense, estate planning/probate and business/corporate law, it’s not hard to notice that partner’s Todd Rayan and Peter Abbarno have a vibrant and successful injury practice. Althauser Rayan Abbarno proves that when you get injured at work or in an automobile collision, you don’t need to go far to find lawyers that deliver results.
“There is this myth or perception that small town law firms don’t have the resources to represent catastrophic injury cases,” says Todd Rayan. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“When someone gets injured at work or in an automobile collision, I think there is a natural inclination to think that if the attorney is in Seattle or Tacoma, they are better educated or more well-equipped to handle any case, large or small,” Peter says. “But when you walk into our office – you are receiving more than 70 years of combined injury law experience at your doorstep. Each one of our conference rooms and each workstation is equipped with cloud-based programs and video conferencing capabilities to serve our clients from Florida to Washington and Spokane to Long Beach. We have clients all over the country and state. We have handled cases from the minor low impact rear-end collision to wrongful death and catastrophic brain injuries. We have handled defective highway design cases to complex workplace injuries resulting in permanent disfigurement and even death.”
Who They Are
In fact, their Centralia and Olympia offices are staffed with some of the most highly educated and experienced lawyers in the counties they serve. Founded in 1946, the current staff of lawyers has over 70 combined years of experience.
Take Todd Rayan, for example. He is one of the partners at Althauser Rayan Abbarno. He graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 2003. Since then, he has been a Secretary and Treasurer of the Lewis County Bar Association, has served as pro tem judge, an adjunct professor at Centralia College in the BASM program and is on the board of directors for the Historic Fox Theatre Restorations. In both 2012 and 2013, Todd was named by his peers as a Super Lawyer, the only attorney in Lewis County to be honored with this prestigious title.
Peter Abbarno, another partner, earned a Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School in 2008 and a Master of Laws in Taxation from University of Washington in 2009. Peter worked as a Deputy Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in King County and a staff attorney with the University of Washington’s Federal Tax Clinic before joining Althauser Rayan Abbarno. Peter has been president of the Lewis County Bar Association and currently is a Centralia City Councilman and serves on the board of directors for the Centralia College Foundation and Boys and Girls Club of Chehalis.
Both lawyers focus on providing above-and-beyond client service with large-firm resources and small-firm attention.
Todd and Peter are focused on providing access to justice and information. Their Facebook page includes useful and practical information about workplace injuries, automobile collisions, criminal defense issues and other information for the community. They even created a free glove box card to help victims of automobile collisions. They also post about their extensive community involvement, including the antics of their Centralia Youth Soccer team’s practice, which is coached by Peter’s wife, Holly.
Ahead of the Curve: Technology and Experts
Staying on top of the latest cases and information is only part of what sets Althauser Rayan Abbarno apart from other firms. Todd explains that they constantly upgrade their equipment to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies within the office, but their most important resources are the people that use technologies to help them win cases for clients. “We want to stay ahead of the technology curve to better serve our clients,” said Todd.
“We also employ experts, especially in our injury practices, who use technology. A good example are the forensic engineers who retrieve data from vehicle accidents”, Todd says. “Most firms either don’t understand this technology or they don’t have the contacts or resources to properly access it, something that is vitally important in some cases. When you represent a high number of workers compensation and personal injury clients like we do, you build a wealth of contacts and experts that other attorneys who ‘dabble’ in personal injury don’t have.”
Another aspect, especially in large cases, is to have the resources to secure the experts and materials required to prepare your case. “It is not uncommon to advance tens of thousands of dollars on a case before you ever see a penny in recovery,” Todd says. “It is hard to find firms able and willing to do so, we are.”
The Separation is in the Preparation: Equal Access to Justice
Althauser Rayan Abbarno’s mission statement is to provide equal access to justice and fairness. It is the people you hire to make your case for you – to fight your battles – that really matter. Althauser Rayan Abbarno proves that, in this case, local is better. Peter explains, “I get teased by some friends and called an ‘ambulance chaser.’ The reality is that when a person is injured by no fault of their own, they just want medical treatment and fair compensation. It is inherently inequitable when an innocent person has to negotiate with a multi-billion insurance company adjuster. Althauser Rayan Abbarno evens the playing field and fights for every right and benefit that person and their family deserves.”
Todd and Peter treat each case as if it is going to litigation. Our firm has settled numerous multi-million dollar cases throughout the years involving wrongful deaths and traumatic injuries. We are able to do that by preparing our cases early and knowing our clients. Although many personal injury cases are resolved prior to trial, Althauser Rayan Abbarno believes in going the extra mile to ensure that insurance companies know that they will fight for the rights and benefits of their clients.
“We want to prepare ourselves from day one,” Todd says. “For example, when we have a case on liability, we have already done this enough to where we know exactly what the jury instructions are for that kind of case. So, we start to build our case and our binders at the outset. So if it does have to go to litigation, we aren’t starting from scratch. We put in the legwork all along.”
Todd says that often, they get higher value for personal injury cases because the insurance companies recognize they are not afraid to take a case to trial. It also allows them to be immediately ready should it go to trial, thus moving the process along faster than if they had to go back and prepare after settlement negotiations break down. The firm wants to settle your case, but doesn’t want to settle for the sake of settlement. If settlement offers are not reasonable, they want to be ready to hit the ground running.
Although technically a small firm, Althauser Rayan Abbarno currently has six attorneys practicing in many areas, including personal injury, workers compensation, criminal defense, divorce/family law, estate planning and probate, contract law, business and corporate law, as well as others.
Each lawyer at the firm has a different concentration that they focus on. This, Peter and Todd say, was definitely by design. Todd and Peter focus their practices on injury law and offer free injury consultations to people injured at work or due to the negligence of others—like an automobile collision.
“We wanted to create a productive culture where we don’t compete with each other for cases,” says Peter. “If a divorce or custody case comes in or a criminal case comes in, two associates are not fighting over the case and receipts. We want to make sure that at the end of the day, we work well and play well together. We are a team, and like any team, we all row in the same direction. The law can be a very competitive field and we understand that, we don’t need to compete with ourselves.”
This camaraderie is important to clients. Althauser Rayan Abbarno prides itself on the small-town roots and wants to make sure clients can get an attorney on the phone or meet face to face. We want to get to know our clients and make sure they know we are fighting for them all the way.
The firm continues to grow without compromising their community focus. Last year they opened an office in Olympia, to better serve the needs of their clients in northern counties including Thurston, Pierce, King, and Snohomish. For more information about Todd Rayan, Peter Abbarno or any of the other attorneys in our firm visit Althauser Rayan Abbarno’s website or call their offices at 360-736-1301 (Centralia) and 360-352-1134 (Olympia).