Joanna Boisen

Joanna Plichta Boisen

Joanna is chair of the firm’s Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations group and focuses her practice on the unique issues facing these entities, including qualification for tax exemption, maintaining tax-exempt status and navigating board governance issues. Her clients include a diverse range of foundations, public charities, and social service and arts organizations.

Joanna is also the firm’s Pro Bono Counsel and directs its nationally recognized and award-winning Pro Bono Practice, which she founded in 2005. She manages and oversees Foster Pepper’s wide-ranging pro bono matters and projects and is responsible for the firm’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.


Foster Pepper Summer Associate Recruiting Committee, Chair

Campaign for Equal Justice, Board of Directors, Vice President

Seattle University Law School Law Alumni Board

  • President-Elect, 2015-2016
  • Board of Directors, 2011-2014

United Way of King County, Legal Steering Committee, Member

King County Bar Association

  • Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, Supervising Attorney

Washington State Bar Association

  • Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee, Member

Federal Bar Association - WDWA, Secretary

  • Pro Bono Committee, Co-Chair
  • Communications and Website Committee, Member blog, City Brights Writer

National Association of Pro Bono Counsel, Publications and Communications Committee, Member

Washington Young Lawyers Division (WYLD), Member

Washington Women Lawyers, Member

Polish Home Association, Member

Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association, Member

QLAW, Member

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Washington STate Bar Association Ethics Deskbook

Editor, Pro Bono Chapter, 2019 Edition

Washington Nonprofit Handbook

Lead Editor, Advisory Committee and Author, 2018 Edition

How to Save a Life: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence in Court

Co-Author, NW Lawyer, Washington State Bar Association, Vol. 69, No. 4, June 2015

WSBA Bar News

Seattle Post-Intelligencer City Brights Online

KCBA Bar Bulletin

  • Five Ways to Make a Difference, November 2010
  • Forget Me Not: Holocaust Survivor Community, June 2010
  • Building Experience Through Pro Bono, January 2010
  • From the School of Hard Knocks to a Diploma, August 2009
  • Center Stage: New UW Law Dean Kellye Testy, August 2009
  • Bright Ideas, Big Plans: Native American Group Opens Eyes, March 2009
  • Polish Heroes: Shedding Light on a Dark Time, March 2009
  • Holocaust Reparations Project Launched, January 2009
  • Pro Bono a Profitable Plus for Firms, November 2008
  • Great Moments in Pro Bono History, June 2008
  • Profile on Starbuck's Lucy Helm: Filling the Pro Bono Cup, April 2008
  • Profile on David Soukup: Mi CASA Es Su CASA, March 2008
  • More Firms Leaping into Pro Bono, February 2008
  • Federal Bar Pro Bono Offers Easy Resolution, January 2008
  • Getting Past the Fear of Saying Pro Bono, October 2007
  • Giving A Voice to Native American Rights, July 2007
  • Pro Bono Making Corporate Inroads, May 2007

Foster Pepper News / Newsletter

Bright Ideas, Big Plans: Native American Group Opens Eyes

Joanna Plichta Boisen, KCBA Bar Bulletin - March 2009

Foster Pepper Pro Bono Annual Report

Advocating for the Native American Child: Comprehensive Overview of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Co-Editor with Lori Irwin, Native American Practice Group and CASA CLE Manual, November 2008

Advancing Women's Rights Through Breast Cancer Litigation

Author, King County Washington Women Lawyers Newsletter, August 2007

Putting It into Words: The Judicial Branch and the Four Corners of Freedom

Author, Judge's Journal, June 2006

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Women, Race and Age: The Role of Allies

Panelist, WSBA Diversity Series, June 2017

How to Make Pro Bono work in a For-Profit Firm

Panelist, WTL Pro Bono CLE, November 2016

Legal Instruments Designed to Protect Women & Children

Speaker, Association of Threat Assessment Professionals CLE, January 2015

Interviewing Legally and Effectively

Speaker, Foster Pepper Attorney Recruiting Committee CLE, August 2015

Effective Board Service Training

Speaker, Foster Pepper Professional Development Committee, July 2015

Thriving Through Legal Resilience

Speaker, Washington State Nonprofit Conference, May 2015

Protecting Native Intellectual Property

Speaker, Tribal Economic Development: Protecting the Rights of Native Americans Through Nonprofit and Intellectual Property Law, Foster Pepper PLLC, February 2013

Using Law and Policy to Fight Violence Against Women and Children

Speaker, University of Washington School of Law, February 2013

Advanced Legal Writing and Editing

Speaker, Foster Pepper Litigation Group Advocacy Series, October 2012

Lawyering for a Just & Humane World

Panelist, Seattle University Law School, March 2012

Integrating Pro Bono into Legal Practice

Speaker, WSBA Preadmission Program, October 2011

Meaningfully Incorporating Pro Bono into Your Practice

Speaker, ABA Young Lawyer's Division CLE, September 2011

Understanding Revisions and Litigating in the DVPO Context

Speaker, Seattle University School of Law, Ronald Peterson Legal Clinic, August 2011

Legal Elements of Ghetto Reparation, Reconsideration, and Appeals

Speaker, University of Washington School of Law, Social Justice Tuesdays, November 2010

Successfully Litigating Motions for Revision and Reconsideration

Speaker, Seattle University School of Law, Ronald Peterson Legal Clinic, September 2010

Pro Bono, Low Bono: Getting Legal Experience & Providing Access to Justice

Moderator, Washington Minority Bar Associations Collaboration Project and the Statewide Diversity Conference, June 2010

Dispute Resolution in the Tribal Context: Cultural Awareness and Strategic Planning

Program Chair, Nonprofit Law in Indian Country, March 2010

Community Economic Development Lawyering: Systematic Change Through Pro Bono

Panelist, Goldmark Conference, February 2010

ABA Celebrate Pro Bono: Hope and Help in Hard Times, CLE, October 2009

  • Program Chair, Serving Clients Respectfully Panel
  • Panelist, Pro Bono Nitty Gritty
  • Panelist, "Social Networking and the Volunteer 3Rs: Recruitment, Retention and Recognition"

The Pro Bono and Corporate Social Responsibility Landscape: Making a Difference in Challenging Times

Speaker, Washington State Paralegals Association Annual CLE, October 2009

Putting Your Best Case Forward in Court: Motion for Revision and DVPO Hearings

Speaker, Motion for Revision and Reconsideration/Domestic Violence Protection Order Team Training, June 2009

Yes You Can: Community Legal Services

Speaker, King County Bar Association CLE, March 2009

Corporate Social Responsibility and Pro Bono Publico Initiatives under RPC 6.1

Speaker, Foster Pepper PLLC Professional Development Committee CLE, October 2008

Protection Order Practice and Successfully Litigating a Motion for Revision

Speaker with Bill Braun, Seattle University School of Law Ronald Peterson Legal Clinic, September 2008

Comprehensive History of the Motion for Revision Project

Speaker, Domestic Violence Protection Order Motion for Revision CLE, March 2008

Representing Native Americans in Washington: An Indian and Tribal Law Primer CLE

Speaker, Washington State Bar Association CLE, February 2008

Making Community and Pro Bono a Comprehensive Part of Your Practice

Speaker, East King County Bar Association Pre-admission CLE, November 2007

 SU Law Days of Service Panel, Inaugural Year

Speaker, Seattle University School of Law, October 2007

Seattle University School of Law Public Interest Law Foundation, Social Justice Week Career Panel

Speaker, Successful Careers in Public Interest Law, October 2007

Pro Bono Partnerships and the Role of Public Service Organizations in Advancing Native American Rights

Speaker, An Introduction to Basic Indian Law and Tribal Courts Training and CLE, June 2007

History and Overview of the Motion for Revision Project and Team Mission

Speaker, Domestic Violence Protection Order Revision Squad Training and CLE, February 2007

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BusinessLitigation & Dispute ResolutionNonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations (Chair)


Tel: 206.447.5144Fax: 206.749.2168


Federal Bar Association, Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, 2016

University of Washington, Woman of Courage Award, 2016

King County Bar Association, Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award, 2015

Washington State Bar Association, Local Leader Award, 2015

Seattle Met, Light a Fire, "Extraordinary Pro Bono Contribution Award," 2014

Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” 2013 (article here )

The National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hot List, 2013

Washington State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, Thomas Neville Pro Bono Award, Recipient, 2011

Seattle University School of Law, Outstanding Recent Alumna, Recipient, 2010

Rising Star, Washington Super Lawyers list, 2010-2018

Foster Pepper PLLC Pro Bono Litigator of the Year Award, Recipient, 2008

The Lawyer Magazine, Featured, Outstanding Alumni 2006

“Seattle Youth Movement: Young lawyers find pro bono work its own reward,” Washington CEO magazine, Featured, 2007

King County Bar Association, Motion for Revision Volunteer of the Year Award, Recipient, 2007

First Annual Washington State Bar Association President’s Scholar Essay Contest Award, Recipient, 2006

Women’s Law Caucus, Kellye Testy Scholarship Award, Recipient, 2006

Access to Justice Institute’s Public Service Award of Distinction, Recipient, 2006

American Bar Association National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition Participant, 2006

Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Executive Editor, 2004-2006

CALI Legal Excellence for the Future Awards

  • Family Law, 2005
  • Child, Family and State, 2004

Fredric Cutner Tausend Moot Court Competition, Participant, 2004

University of Washington Honors Program, 1998-2002

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J.D., Seattle University School of Law, 2006

B.A., University of Washington, 2002

Bar Admissions

Washington, 2006

U.S. District Court

  • Western District of Washington, 2006

9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals


Foster Pepper PLLC

  • Member, 2015-Present
  • Pro Bono Partner, 2015-Present
  • Pro Bono Counsel, 2006-2013
  • Public Service Director, 2005
  • Summer Associate, 2005

Seattle University School of Law Fellowship, Access to Justice Institute, 2003-2005


It is Not 'OK'

Super Lawyers, 2016

Know Your Rights as a Renter

KING 5's New Day Northwest, January 11, 2011

Pro Bono Aid Increasing

Puget Sound Business Journal, August 27-September 2, 2010

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