Seattle U Law dominates Super Lawyers, Rising Stars lists

August 17, 2022
Grad cap with writing

Seattle University School of Law has the highest number of alumni selected as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars of any law school in the Pacific Northwest.

Dean-Designate Tony Varona

“I am thrilled that our exceptionally talented alumni rank #1 in the Pacific Northwest in the prestigious Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists,” said Anthony E. Varona, dean and professor of law.

“Having come to know that our graduates are leaders in law who are champions of excellence, innovation, public service, and exceptional results for their clients, I am not surprised that Seattle University produces the most well-respected and successful attorneys in our region.”

As of 2022, Seattle U Law had a total of 1,133 alumni on the two lists of honorees, based on an online database from 2003 to the present day. 

The two lists, published annually for each state, are developed by Thomson Reuters based on 12 indicators of professional achievement and peer recognition in a process that involves nominations, independent research, and peer evaluations.

No more than 5 percent of a state’s lawyers are selected as Super Lawyers, and 2.5 percent are selected as Rising Stars (lawyers who are 40 or younger, or in practice for fewer than 10 years).

The selection represents all sizes of law firms and more than 70 practice areas, including business/corporate law, estate planning, and legal aid.

The Washington issue of Super Lawyers magazine for 2022 features alumna Kay Frank ’84 on its cover as one of six attorneys whose names have been on the list every year since it was first published 25 years ago.

In the article, Frank says the best part of practicing law in Seattle is the “broad legal community support of the social justice law bar.” Frank has been a member of MacDonald Hoague & Bayless since 1985 and specializes in immigration law and employment issues, among other areas.

The Washington magazine also shines a spotlight on Janice Langbehn ’18 and Paul Heer ’16, who are both included on the 2022 Rising Star list. 

Langbehn practices family law at Envision Family Law in Tacoma and won a Presidential Citizen’s Medal in 2011 for her activism on behalf of LGBTQ rights. Heer, a business attorney at Foster Garvey, was recognized for his pro bono work with the Seattle Clemency Project.

Seattle-based law firm Helsell Fetterman celebrated its nine attorneys on the Rising Stars list and 10 attorneys named as Super Lawyers, many of whom are Seattle U Law graduates. Of the 19 total, 10 are Seattle U Law alumni.

“Our firm is proud to see its attorneys recognized by this respected third-party source,” the firm announced in a blog post.

McKinley Irvin, the region’s preeminent family law firm, also celebrated its 22 attorneys named to the two lists. Of the 22, 11 graduated from Seattle U Law. The firm’s co-founders are both alumni as well.

“It is an honor to see our attorneys acknowledged year after year by their peers and the Super Lawyers organization. The recognition is a testament to their commitment to professional excellence and exceptional client service,” said Rita Herrera Irvin ’91, founder and CEO of McKinley Irvin.

The 2022 Rising Stars list includes two participants in our law school’s innovative Incubator Program – Fatima Dilek Dabagoglu ’14 and Brett Kobes ’19 – which helps recent graduates build solo or small practices.

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