Black Law Student Association honors alumni, friends

January 30, 2014

A federal judge devoted to enriching the lives and careers of students. A corporate lawyer working to improve labor relations. An administrative law judge building ties to South Africa. And a public defender who's spent considerable time giving back to her law school.

These are the people who will be honored as Seattle University School of Law's Black Law Student Association celebrates alumni and friends of the school with a reception on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Sullivan Hall's Second Floor Gallery.

Judge Richard JonesThe Honorable Richard Jones will receive the Amicus Award. Formerly a King County Superior Court judge, Jones has served in his current position as a U.S. District Court judge since 2007. During his career, he has received Outstanding Judge Awards from the Washington State Bar Association, Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, Asian Bar Association of Washington State, and King County Bar Association.  Most recently, the King County Chapter of the Washington Women Lawyers awarded him their 2013 President's Award.

He has served on many boards and committees over the years, including a stint of more than 20 years with the YMCA of Greater Seattle. He currently also serves on the YMCA's National Board.

He co-founded two Seattle area law student programs: the Northwest Minority Job Fair and the First Year Minority Clerkship Program. 

Jones received a bachelor's degree in public affairs from Seattle University in 1972 and his J.D. from the University of Washington Law School. In 2004, he received the Alumnus of the Year Award from Seattle University and was honored with Seattle University School of Law Access to Justice Institute's Award of Distinction in Public Service in 2006. 

Marilyn Sherron '80 and the Honorable Ruperta Alexis '81 will both receive BLSA's Leadership Award.

Marilyn SherronSherron specializes in labor and employment law and is currently the in-house labor and employment expert for 10 states for AT&T Wireless. Sherron provides legal counsel to human resources, the labor relations team, and staffing specialists.  Additionally, she responds to and represents the company in employment claims filed with state and federal agencies and provides oversight on employment litigation filed in state and federal courts against AT&T.

Prior to joining AT&T, Sherron worked with the Seattle City Attorney's Office, where she eventually served as director of the Employment Section.

Sherron is active in community organizations and has served on the boards of Girl Scouts of Western Washington, Housing Resources Group, Washington Women Lawyers, and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. 

Judge Ruperta AlexisJudge Ruperta Alexis has served as a federal Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration for 19 years. Before that, she served as a state Administrative Law Judge and Hearing Office Chief Administrative Law Judge. Over the course of her career, Alexis has decided cases for the Department of Social and Health Services, heard vehicle forfeiture appeals for the Seattle Police Department, and conducted arbitrations under the state's Lemon Law statutes. 

As a law student, she interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Public Defender Association. She was a founding member of the Third World Coalition at University of Puget Sound Law School (now Seattle University).

Judge Alexis has fulfilled her life-long interest in international affairs by traveling extensively and through her support and involvement in international programs. She was most honored to be a part of a judicial delegation to South Africa. She is very actively involved in the Seattle-Limbe Sister City Association. 

Twyla CarterTwyla Carter '07, a staff attorney handling felonies at The Defender Association Division of the newly formed King County Department of Public Defense, will receive the Alumni Award. Prior to her current assignment, Twyla represented youth charged with crimes in juvenile court, adults charged with domestic violence crimes in district court, and defendants who appealed their municipal and district court convictions.

In 2011, Carter won a published decision from the Court of Appeals, Division One, in State v. Green, which addressed due process requirements for trespass orders issued by public school districts.
While in law school, she served as the President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and under her leadership, Seattle University's BLSA chapter was recognized as the largest chapter in the western region and was named the region's Chapter of the Year. Twyla has maintained close ties to the law school, serving as a mentor, guest speaker, panelist, mock trial judge and evaluator, BLSA and ARC supporter, and donor.

Since graduating from law school, Twyla has continued to serve the community. She is a member of the Loren Miller Bar Association (LMBA), which awarded her the "Young Lawyer of the Year" award in 2008. Twyla was recently named to King County's Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, becoming the first public defender to join the 21-member committee.