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Practice Areas Overview

The main theme connecting the practice areas at the Albany law office of Kent Hickam, P.C. is helping people. We are a small-town practice, headed by a lawyer who regularly participates in trials, on both the criminal side and civil side, to vindicate the rights and interests of our clients in need of help or protection from our legal system.

Below is a brief description of the major areas in which we commonly practice. If you have a need for experienced, effective legal representation in any civil or criminal law matter in Albany, Corvallis, or nearby areas in Oregon's Willamette Valley, contact Kent Hickam, P.C.

Criminal Defense

We handle all misdemeanor and felony cases, from Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) to "Measure 11" offenses carrying mandatory minimum prison sentences. Any criminal charge should be taken seriously, and our office provides a strong, effective defense no matter what the charge. Where plea negotiations may lead to a better outcome, such as alternative sentencing, we will advise you on your options and help you make the best decision in your particular case.

Our criminal law practice also includes post-conviction matters such as probation violations. A probation violation can result in harsh penalties that were otherwise avoided in the original proceeding and should be as vigorously defended as any other criminal law matter.

Civil Lawsuits

Civil matters, as opposed to criminal law, include a wide range of legal areas, from personal injury and wrongful death to landlord/tenant law, business law and real estate. Civil cases may involve a breach of duty or negligent act which causes legal damages to another, or they may entail a breach of contract dispute. In either case, litigation is often required to resolve the matter and obtain compensation to the injured party for the damages caused.

Most people and businesses are insured against liability claims, which means when you pursue a claim against a party for negligence or breach of contract, you are often up against a large insurance company with its own in-house legal department or the financial resources to hire a huge law firm to defend the claim. My three decades in practice and abundant actual trial experience tell the insurance company that we know the value of our client's claim and are both qualified and willing to take the matter to trial if necessary. Given these facts, the defendant's insurer is much more likely to settle for a reasonable amount without the need for trial. If they refuse to settle reasonably, we have the knowledge and skills necessary to litigate the matter.

Family Law

Obtaining a dissolution of marriage under Oregon law is not of itself a difficult matter. Like most other states, Oregon recognizes no-fault divorce, and if the divorce is uncontested, then it is mostly a matter of filling out the proper paperwork and following court procedures. However, in many cases issues such as property division, the payment of spousal support (alimony) and child support, and child custody are contested, meaning that the parties do not agree how these matters will be settled. These issues are often resolved in a trial. Being represented by an able and experienced civil litigator is essential to making sure you are not taken advantage of and that your rights and interests are fully represented.

Sometimes circumstances change and it is necessary to seek a modification or change of the custody ruling or parenting plan. We have much experience successfully handling these for our clients.

Our firm handles other family law matters, such as adoptions and guardianships sought by grandparents, siblings or other family members when the parents are deceased, incarcerated or otherwise unable to care for their children. If these matters are contested, it is essential to obtain legal representation from a strong, effective advocate who can successfully promote your position in the courtroom.

Estate Planning

Putting together an effective estate plan requires common sense and experience. Sometimes a simple will is adequate together with a durable power of attorney and an advance medical directive. A trust is often beneficial in other situations. We have done this for our clients for over 35 years. Occasionally, disputes among heirs or beneficiaries will arise and in some instances litigation occurs. We have experience helping our clients navigate through these stressful cases with patience and understanding.

By the time will or trust litigation arises, the person who created the instrument is often deceased. The difficulty in these cases is that many issues must be proved by circumstantial evidence, requiring a thorough understanding of the rules of evidence, and how to gather and present evidence in a persuasive manner to the judge or jury. With three decades of legal experience, Kent Hickam, P.C. has the depth of knowledge and experience to prepare and present effective cases for positive results.