Hank Balson has devoted his legal career to helping individuals and groups challenge civil rights abuses by governments and corporations. He became of counsel to Budge & Heipt in 2017.

Following law school, Hank served as a staff attorney with a statewide legal services organization in Washington, where he litigated class actions and individual claims on behalf of prisoners challenging the conditions of their confinement. He represented clients in state and federal courts, at the trial and appellate levels, in cases aimed at securing constitutionally adequate medical care, eliminating gender and disability discrimination, obtaining basic and special education services, enforcing public disclosure laws, and opposing violations of other state and federal rights.

In 2007 Hank became a partner at a private civil rights firm in Seattle, where he continued to litigate constitutional claims on behalf of prisoners, including a major statewide class action brought by women who had been sexually abused by prison staff. He also represented individuals and groups challenging civil rights violations by their employers.

Hank has obtained favorable settlements and jury verdicts for numerous clients throughout his career. His work is driven by his staunch belief that the lives of prisoners and police detainees have the same value as the lives of free people. As a society, we entrust our police and prison officials with enormous power and serious responsibilities. And when government officials harm someone in their custody by abusing that power or ignoring those responsibilities, we must hold them accountable.

Hank is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington, in United States District Courts in Wisconsin and Tennessee, and before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He is a former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and currently serves as an ACLU cooperating attorney.

Federal Courtroom Experience

  • Significant civil rights litigation experience
  • Focus on prisoner and inmate rights cases involving denial of medical care
  • Favorable jury verdicts and settlements in civil rights cases
  • Federal court experience at trial court and appellate levels
  • Victories and favorable settlements against state and local entities

Litigation Focus

  • Wrongful death in jail and prison
  • Excessive force by police
  • Unconstitutional conditions of confinement
  • Sexual abuse of prisoners and inmates

If you or a loved one has been a victim of serious injury and/or death at the hands of police or in jail or prison, tell us about your case.