John Groen has extensive experience in public interest litigation before all levels of federal and state courts. He began his law career with Pacific Legal Foundation in 1987 and launched the PLF Bellevue office in 1992. After nine years on staff, he shifted to private practice and formed Groen, Stephens & Klinge LLP in Bellevue, Washington, where he litigated land use issues and takings claims arising from government regulation of private property. Many of his cases are now leading appellate decisions that have shaped significant aspects of land use law in Washington.
In 2006, John campaigned statewide challenging the incumbent Chief Justice for election to the Washington Supreme Court. Although he lost a very close election, the experience was invaluable. In particular, John appreciated the many volunteers and new friends he made during the campaign.
After 19 years in private practice, and two years as a Trustee on the PLF Board of Trustees, John realized it was time to return to his passion for public interest law in support of private property rights. In 2015, he resigned from his law practice and began his second tour as a PLF litigator. Two years later, on behalf of the Murr family, he argued Murr v. Wisconsin before the United States Supreme Court.
John lives in Leavenworth, Washington, which is a small “Bavarian themed” tourist town on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains. He enjoys the tourists, but refuses to wear lederhosen. John admits he is a bit of a golf addict. Despite a marginal handicap that never improves, he says there is nothing quite like a walk on a beautiful course, whether solitary or with friends.
John is a 1981 graduate of Claremont McKenna College and received his law degree from McGeorge School of Law. As he looks to the future, John is particularly excited about seeing young PLF attorneys embracing the cause for liberty. He says their dedication and exceptional talent will ensure that PLF’s mission to defend constitutional rights and liberty will thrive.