Craig Sims: Answering his
Call to Law
Q & A with Alumni Relations Director Grace Greenwich
Craig Sims is currently a senior deputy prosecuting
attorney with the King County Prosecutor's Office, where
he has been employed for approximately 10 years. He has prosecuted
hundreds of cases, including several homicide and other high profile
cases. He will soon transition his career to civil practice working
for the plaintiff firm of Fury & Bailey. Craig is the current
president of the Loren Miller Bar Association, which is an organization
primarily dedicated to the professional development of African-American
attorneys and judges.
Craig is among our most active members of the
law school community. He continues to be a mentor and strong supporter
of students and the organizations on campus, including serving
on the advisory committee to the Black Student Law Student Association's
Alumni Reception Program. He is also an adjunct professor at Seattle
University School of Law, teaching Comprehensive Pre-trial Advocacy.
Since I joined the law school as director of alumni
relations in August, Craig has been among the core group of alumni
that I can count on for advice and support on programming. So,
I thought I would ask Craig to join me for an afternoon chat about
his memorable moments at the law school, his practice and what
inspires him. Craig's deep voice, infectious smile and laughter
were an added bonus to the conversation.
Craig, what are your most memorable moments
at the law school?
Craig Sims: Running for president of the Student
Bar Association (SBA) and winning was one of the most memorable
moments at the law school. No one thought that I'd be able
to win the election. Even my friends did not think they'd
(the student body) elect an African-American president because
it had never been done before. It was a great feeling to
win. It was also an honor to be able to represent the entire student
Do you see similarities to what you experienced,
albeit on a smaller scale to the Obama campaign?
He smiled, “absolutely.”
CS: The next most memorable
moment occurred in the second semester of my first year.
I told a classmate, Louise Wyatt, that I had run out of money
and would probably have to leave the law school. That weekend,
I had gone to Portland and when I returned, there were bags with
groceries and laundry detergent in the middle of the floor of
my studio apartment. As I looked on my kitchen counter, I saw
an envelope which contained a large amount of cash. It might as
well have been a million dollars, because that is what it felt
like it. The front of the envelope read, “Craig we love
you and you can lean on us anytime you need us. Love, ‘the
crew.’” I still have that envelope. I wouldn't
have graduated without that gift because it allowed me to pay
the rent and eat for months. To this day, I still don't
know everyone who contributed.
During my BLSA graduation, Judge Richard Jones
was the keynote speaker. He reminded us that we didn't get
here alone…There were many people that helped us along
the way and we need to remember to say thank you. At that same
program, I received the Student of the Year Award. I told everyone
the story (and pulled the envelope out of my pocket) and said
thank you to those unknown friends who helped me. There wasn't
a dry eye in the place.
Is that why you are so actively engaged
as a mentor to students?
CS: Definitely! That is why I am so dedicated
to students and helping them now as an alum of the school.
Why the law? Why become an attorney?
CS: It was a profession that was always well
respected. I remember being in the sixth grade and watching Perry
Mason. I just knew I wanted to be a lawyer after watching that
show. As I grew older, I saw how well respected attorneys were.
I felt as though I could somehow make a difference with the law.
What was your most challenging class?
CS: “Tax,” he says with laughter.
I had no financial background and the class began at 7 p.m. It
was not the most exciting class.
What was the class you enjoyed the most?
CS: Constitutional Law with Professor Wing. He
was a great professor.
What was so great about him?
CS: It was the way he presented. He was
exciting and he had an enthusiasm for issues. He brought
a fresh energy to the class which allowed us to engage in fantastic
CS: Yes, I teach. I love teaching. I teach
a section of comprehensive pre-trial advocacy. That class addresses
pre-trial strategies, depositions, interview skills and other
pre-trial legal issues.
Would you say your teaching style is like
He's a bit more serious as he answers, “at times.”
you the serious type?
CS: Yes, I'm serious at times. But,
I do my best to provide a comfortable atmosphere. I want to make
sure students understand the subject matter. I try to keep the
information interesting and convey the content in a way that creates
interaction with the students – so I know they understand
Craig, I have to ask you about some of
your most challenging times as a prosecutor, handling homicide
CS: Well, there is no training to deal
with what you'll experience the first time you arrive at
a homicide scene. When I first started, I responded to three homicides
in five days and slept very little during that time. My first
homicide scene investigation was the death of two children. When
I first walked in the home, everything seemed so surreal.
Both children had been bludgeoned in the head. What class can
you take to prepare you for that? The next few days, each time
I closed my eyes, I repeatedly saw that scene in my head. You
never get used to it, but you eventually learn to cope. Often
times, smells will trigger a memory back to the crime scene. Like
the smell of baked cookies, if someone was baking prior to the
What is the hardest aspect of working
CS: The hardest aspect of the job would
have to be watching the suffering of those left behind, knowing
there is nothing that you can do for them yourself. And then you
start to suffer a little bit yourself. You can't help but
become a part of the family of those dealing with something so
When I train younger deputy prosecutors, I tell
them our job is about more than just obtaining convictions, it's
about helping to heal souls, whether they are victims to crimes
or the family members who are suffering the loss of a loved one.
I remember quite a few years ago, Father Sullivan
said something like the practice of law is as much of a calling
as is the ministry and medicine. He said that many years ago,
and it has stuck with me. I believe that what we do is a ministry,
healing the human spirit.
What is in the future for Craig Sims?
CS: I will be doing similar work but in
the civil arena, focusing on wrongful death and serious bodily
injury cases. It still involves healing people and helping them
What will be your legacy? What do
you want people to say about you?
CS: When all is said and done, I want people
to say that Craig Sims was a genuine person.
Craig is a proud alumnus of the Academic Resource
Center program. His life motto is: “I am preparing my children
for the world while preparing the world for my children.”
As always, I look forward to seeing Craig on campus,
mentoring our students and educating outstanding lawyers to be
leaders for a just and humane world.