David Starks


Bellevue | Everett | Kirkland | Portland | Seattle

Download Profile Contact
Interesting notes about David:
First job: Lifeguard
Dream dinner guest: David Chang of Momofuku
Instruments played: Taylor Guitar
Publications & Presentations

About David Starks

Possessing a wide smile, engaging demeanor, quick wit, and a laser-sharp legal mind, David Starks is, as one colleague recently put it, Larger Than Life.

That personality has served him well over the years as he continues to carve out an impressive legal career rarely matched by attorneys twice his age: Diplomate, American College of Family Trial Lawyers; Fellow, International Academy of Family Lawyers; Top 100 Attorneys in Washington State; The Best Lawyers in America; Washington Super Lawyers, and most recently, Best Lawyers 2024 “Lawyer of the Year” for family law in the Seattle Metro Area.

Public rankings and recognitions aside, David is a strategic thinker, a gifted advocate, and a warm “people person” who insists that “law, even as an imperfect human creation, is capable of great things.” He proves that every day, representing clients in a wide range of divorce cases involving the protection, valuation, and distribution of significant assets or business interests, as well as other cutting-edge family law matters, including international divorce and child custody.

"Practicing family law is emotionally satisfying for me. I much prefer the personal connection that comes with protecting the rights of my clients and their families to the impersonal process of representing corporations. And I’ve done both."

Whether at the negotiating table or in the courtroom, David says he will “go the distance” to resolve each case in his clients’ interests. And he will do so with compassion and respect.

Admired around the office for his innate ability to connect with clients and for his willingness to share his expertise with younger lawyers, David Starks is the kind of professional who can handle with aplomb the toughest cases that come in the door.

"You wake up a little earlier than the other guy. You work a little later,” he explains. “And you make sure you’ve done everything you can to ensure the best possible outcomes. That’s what exceptional lawyering is all about. And that’s the standard we have set for ourselves at McKinley Irvin."

Next >>



  • National Liaison, Washington State Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
  • Faculty, National Family Law Trial Institute, 2021–present
  • Past President, Washington State Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 2017–2018
  • Past Newsletter Ex Officio, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
  • Executive Committee, International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL)
  • Section Advisor of the American Bar Association to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws’ Drafting Committee on the Implementation of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children
  • Past Co-Chair, American Bar Association, International Law Section Family Law Committee, 2010-2011


  • Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)
  • Fellow, International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML)
  • Member: American Bar Association, Washington State Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, Oregon State Bar, King County Bar Association
  • Member, King County Bar Association's Judicial Screening Committee
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association Professionalism Committee
Next >>


  • J.D., cum laude, Seattle University School of Law
  • B.A., English, cum laude University of Southern Indiana
Next >>

Publications & Presentations


  • Panelist, “Family Assessments: From Errors to Excellence,” Washington AFCC 9th Annual Conference, April 2024
  • Presenter, “Complex Assets: Finding, Valuing and Dividing,” Top Challenges in Washington Family Law, National Business Institute, November 2022
  • Presenter, Conclusion of Case, Final Pleadings, Trial Preparation, Dissolution from A-Z, King County Bar Association CLE (Seattle, 2017)
  • Presenter, Innovations, Breaking Boundaries in Custody Litigation, AAML / University of Texas (Austin, Texas, 2013)
  • Presenter, Equitable Distribution in Divorce, National Business Institute (2013)
  • Presenter, Unconventional Issues in Child Custody and Abduction Cases, American Bar Association (Anchorage, Alaska, 2013)
  • Presenter, Key Players in Cross Border Real Estate Investments, AIJA / American Bar Association (Cannes, France, 2013)
  • Panelist, Recognition of Foreign Court Orders and Conflicts of Laws, American Bar Association CLE (Washington D.C., 2012)
  • Presenter, For Better or Worse: International Issues in Marriage and Divorce, American Bar Association CLE (New York, 2012)
  • Presenter, Marital Misbehavior, the Chronically Noncompliant Party: Remedies, AAML CLE (Seattle, 2012)
  • Presenter, US Hague Cases and the UCCJEA, AAML CLE (Seattle, 2012)
  • Panelist, Saving a Stolen Childhood: How to Prevent and Resolve International Kidnapping Cases, American Bar Association CLE (Las Vegas, 2011)
  • Panelist, Family Enterprises in Distress: Issues to Consider, American Bar Association CLE (Dublin, Ireland 2011)
  • Presenter, Divorce Litigation, Start to Finish, National Business Institute CLE (Seattle, 2011)
  • Co-Author, International Family Law, Washington State Bar Association Family Law Desk Book (2010)
  • Presenter, Nuts and Bolts of Family Law, King County Bar Association (Seattle, 2010)
  • Presenter, Family Law Bootcamp, Washington State Bar Association, (Seattle, 2009)
  • Moderator, NBI Domestic Violence: A View from the Bench, National Business Institute CLE (Seattle, 2009)
  • Presenter, International Family Law - The Hague Convention, King County Bar Association CLE (Seattle, 2008)


In The News

  • Best Lawyers
  • Best Law Firms
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent
  • Puget Sound Business Journal Washington's Best Workplaces 2023
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers - Lawyer of the Year 2024
  • Avvo Rating 10.0
"Thanks for all the work for our family over the past year. We’re really glad you are on our side."
Read More