Recognizing the valuable role mentors play in guiding new lawyers, Seattle University School of Law honored Judge Beth M. Andrus as Woman of the Year for 2017.
Andrus, the chief civil judge for King County Superior Court, has counseled and coached many of Seattle U's female law students, encouraging them to seek leadership positions in a field that's still heavily dominated by men.
"I know how significant a legal education can be for a woman," she said. "Law school allowed me to witness the women of my generation not just casting ballots, but putting their names on the ballots."
Judge Andrus earned her JD from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1988 and her Masters in Judicial Studies in December 2016 from the University of Nevada, Reno.
At the law school's annual Woman of the Year luncheon, hosted by the law school and the Seattle University Women's Law Caucus, Dean Annette Clark '89 praised Judge Andrus for her "extraordinary commitment" to mentoring new attorneys. (See our photo gallery on Flickr.)
"Our law school's mission is to educate powerful advocates for justice," she said. "Judge Andrus is someone who knows that powerful advocates for justice aren't born that way. They need to be nurtured, supported, encouraged, and molded into leaders for their communities."
Judge Andrus was appointed to the King County Superior Court bench in 2010 by Gov. Christine Gregoire. She started her legal career as a law clerk to federal Judge Gerald W. Heaney of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. She then practiced commercial, employment, intellectual property, and construction law in private practice for over 20 years.
For the last 15 years of her practice, Judge Andrus worked with lawyers at the law firm of Skellenger Bender, where she became a partner and was elected by her colleagues to act as managing partner.
While in private practice, Judge Andrus was active in the community by volunteering in neighborhood free legal clinics, and working with bar associations, civil rights organizations, and construction trade groups. As a judicial officer, she has been appointed as a member of the WSBA Council on Public Defense and has served on the King County Superior Court Executive and Budget Committees.