Focus: Tacoma WAMS

By: Diane McGaha | WAMS Director

As many clients know, Washington Arbitration & Mediation Service was founded in Seattle and maintained offices in Seattle and Spokane for many years. But in 1992, when the Spokane office closed and Diane McGaha was recruited back to WAMS as the Managing Attorney (after 3 years in private practice), the decision was made to open a satellite office in Tacoma.

The rationale for a Pierce County office was simple: Diane would only leave her law practice and return to the world of ADR administration if WAMS would allow her to open a Tacoma office.

The first WAMS office in Tacoma opened in 1992 in the old Norton Clapp Law Center in downtown Tacoma. The location was chosen because WAMS had historically collaborated with the University of Puget Sound law school (also in that building at the time) to allow students to observe hearings, participate in training opportunities and provide mentors and judges for negotiation competitions. With the sale and pending move of the law school to Seattle University, WAMS relocated from downtown to the Old Town area.

For ten years, the Tacoma WAMS office enjoyed a view of Commencement Bay and the Ruston Way waterfront, but WAMS eventually outgrew the space and relocated to the Proctor District. Although the convenience of Starbucks downstairs was a definite positive aspect to the Proctor location, ongoing problems with parking, security and the HVAC system required another move.

As of October 1, 2008, Tacoma WAMS has been located in the Port of Tacoma office building, formerly known as the World Trade Center and now the Fabulich Center. Ample parking, easy access from I-5 and close proximity to Pick-Quick burgers and Fife City Bar & Grill (two of the best eating establishments in the Puget Sound area) were important factors in the relocation decision. The new WAMS office offers free wi-fi to clients and has 7 conference rooms available, with an additional 3 rooms available in the building if needed.

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