Leader of Washington Supreme Court recognized for advancing equality for women
In recognition of her outstanding legal career and her efforts to help women build successful careers in the legal profession, Mary Fairhurst, chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court, has been named the 2018 Woman of the Year. Seattle University School of Law and the Women’s Law Caucus presented her with the award at a ceremony in early April.
"Receiving this award makes me feel honored and supported by groups and individuals who have been there for me throughout my career. Their encouragement and support contributed to my courage and confidence to make a difference, which I try to do every day in big and small ways,” Fairhurst said.
According to Annette Clark, dean of the law school, Fairhurst has shown an extraordinary commitment to mentoring new attorneys, especially women, and to reaching out, during her time in practice and now on the bench, to assist law students who are forging their own career paths.
“Justice Fairhurst challenges us, as women, to claim our power proudly and to be inspiring role models for those who will follow us as leaders in the legal profession,” Clark said.
Fairhurst, a graduate of Gonzaga University School of Law, became a Washington Supreme Court justice in 2003, and ascended to the role of chief justice last year. In this role, she is the court’s chief spokesperson, presides over the court’s hearings and conferences, and chairs the state Board for Judicial Administration. Before her election to the court, she was an assistant attorney general for more than 16 years and spent two years as a law clerk for the Washington Supreme Court.
The Woman of the Year award, given annually for the past 15 years, recognizes an accomplished leader who is committed to women’s issues and is a role model for future members of the legal profession in Washington state.