Paula Lustbader, J.D.

Paula Lustbader

Paula Lustbader, J.D.

President/Executive Director, Civility Fund
President/Executive Director, Alfie Scholars at Seattle University
President/Executive Director, Civility Center for Law at Seattle University
President/Executive Director, Alfie’s Fund
Professor Emerita, Seattle University School of Law

Known for her energy and passion for promoting diversity and civility, Professor Paula Lustbader is an internationally recognized leader, scholar, and speaker on undergraduate and law school teaching and learning theory, academic support programs, diversity, and civility.

As a law professor, she co-founded and directed the Academic Resource Center and its Access Admissions program at Seattle University School of Law. For 28 years, she provided instruction, support, and mentorship to law students from under-represented groups and, in the process, was and continues to be instrumental in increasing the diversity of the legal profession. She touched the lives of more than 1,000 law students who, on graduation, have gone on to impact the lives of literally thousands of clients and fellow citizens in Washington and across the country.

In addition to providing countless faculty development trainings, Professor Lustbader helped found the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law School Academic Support, the Law School Admission Council Academic Support Institute, and the Center for Teaching and Learning at Seattle University. She retired from Seattle University School of Law in 2015. Between 2010 and 2015, Professor Lustbader began phased retirement from the Law School in order to enable her to shift her focus to her work as president of Robert’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering civility in the legal profession. In that role, she has undertaken a variety of initiatives. In addition to writing articles about civility, she is developing curriculum, programs, and seminars to promote civility; she is facilitating conversations on civility with focus groups; and she is making multiple presentations and providing consulting to law firms and other legal professional organizations.

Professor Lustbader retired from Seattle University School of Law in 2015. Her contribution to the academy nationally was acknowledged in 2015, when she was given the Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support Award for Excellence in Legal Education. The Washington State Bar Association recognized Professor Lustbader’s outstanding contributions by naming her co-recipient of the organization’s Award for Excellence in Diversity (2006). In 2010, the Loren Miller Bar Association, the Washington affiliate of National Bar Association, the largest organization of African-American attorneys in the U.S., gave her its President’s Award for her role in increasing the diversity in the legal profession.

Between 2010 and 2015, Professor Lustbader, while in phased retirement from the Law School, founded Robert’s Fund, dedicated to fostering civility in the legal profession, now known as the Civility Center for Law at Seattle University School of Law. In addition to writing about civility, she develops curriculum, programs, and continuing legal education seminars to promote civility; she facilitates conversations on civility with focus groups; and she makes presentations and provides consulting to law firms and other legal professional organizations.

In 2015, combining her passion for diversity and civility, Professor Lustbader founded the Alfie Scholars Program at Seattle University, dedicated to help make the dream of a bachelor’s degree achievable for diverse transfer students who are committed to fostering civility. This program provides scholarships, supports academic excellence, and cultivates leaders for civility on campus and in the professions. Professor Lustbader designed the program, leads a team of faculty and staff, and teaches the Alfie Scholars signature programing to each cohort.

In 2014, Professor Lustbader founded Alfie’s Fund, dedicated to providing philanthropic support to help change a life.

View Professor Lustbader's CV

Genevieve Williams Geiger, M.P.A.

Genevieve Williams Geiger

Program Manager, Civility Center for Law

Genevieve Williams Geiger earned her BA in Government from Lawrence University, and she earned her MPA with an emphasis in Non-Profit Management from Seattle University. As part of her work in the non-profit arena, Ms. Geiger worked on several capital campaigns and initiatives, including a $15 million campaign with Overlake Hospital Foundation and helping to raise corporate donations for Girls on the Run of Puget Sound. Ms. Geiger brings substantial international experience, having studied, taught and managed educational programs and special projects in Honduras, Japan, and the Czech Republic. Ms. Geiger is a Seattle-area native and spends many weekends adventuring with her husband and son in their camper van.

Scott Petit, M.A., LMHC

Paula Lustbader

Senior Director of the Psychology of Civility Curriculum and Program Development

Scott Petit brings his 25 years working as a psychotherapist to The Civility Fund. His work with individuals and couples has provided him with a unique perspective and skill-set that helps people gain self-awareness and psychological health, and develop effective ways of relating with others. These are critical aspects to foster civility. Scott works with the Fund’s two main programs: The Civility Center for the Law and Alfie Scholars. As the Associate Director of the Fund, he is responsible for developing the curricula on the Psychology of Civility and on the Fundamentals of Civil Communication. This work combines compassionate self-awareness and effective communication skills, with the goal of cultivating ambassadors and leaders for civility who can inspire and teach others.

Scott’s work has been highly influenced by the work of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. As a result, he embraces both the personal and mythological dimensions of the human experience. With regard to the psychology of the individual, Scott’s focus is on cultivating radical self-acceptance – the ability to meet every aspect of ourselves with the same kind of unconditional regard that healthy, loving parents have for all of their children.

He also sees built into the very nature of human existence the path of the mythological hero: Are we going to proceed in life in a half-asleep state, based on our programming and wounding since birth; or are we going to choose to awaken, face the dragons of fear and self-doubt, and embrace the destinies with which we were born?

In his work with the Alfie Scholars specifically, Scott incorporates these dimensions to help the scholars learn psychological tools for self-awareness, self-investigation and self-regulation, while at the same time, helping them to see their story as part of the larger, hero’s-journey story that has been with us throughout time – the path of becoming an authentic human being.

Scott received his Masters of Arts in Counseling from the Leadership Institute of Seattle in 1993.

Ricardo Ibarra, B.S.

Ricardo Ibarra

Director of Marketing and Webmaster, Civility Center for Law

Ricardo Ibarra prides himself on crafting unique and compelling creative solutions for projects of all types. While earning his bachelor of science in biology at the University of Washington, Mr. Ibarra nurtured his love for creative work and honed an approach to design informed by his scientific background. Mr. Ibarra brings his decade of experience to the Civility Center by designing and delivering compelling print and digital messaging and media across multiple platforms.

William Galloway, J.D.

William Galloway

Editor at Large, Civility Center for Law

Bill Galloway is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, where he was Managing Editor of the Washington Law Review. He earned his B.A. in English literature from Williams College. After clerking at the Washington Court of Appeals, he worked as a consultant in Seattle before joining the faculty at Seattle University School of Law as a Legal Writing Professor for three years. Since 2002, Bill has lived on the west coast of Ireland, where he has worked in organic aquaculture, as a web designer, and as a musician.

Michael Djordjevich, CPA

Michael Djordjevich

Michael Djordjevich, Director and Accountant for the Civility Center for Law; Owner, Michael Djordjevich, CPA.

Michael Djordjevich graduated from the University of Southern California School of Business in 1976. He has been practicing public accounting as a CPA since then. Michael’s experiences range in a variety of industries: real estate, financial services, health care (many of which were not-for-profit hospitals), construction, and professional. As a business owner, developer, investor and concerned citizen Michael brings a unique perspective to the Civility Center for Law.

Hon. Benes Z. Aldana, J.D.

Learn more about Judge Aldana

The National Judicial College

President, The National Judicial College

Benes Z. Aldana became the ninth president of The National Judicial College on May 1, 2017. Before joining the NJC, he was on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard for over 22 years, retiring in the rank of captain and serving as chief trial judge during his last tour of duty. Prior to this assignment, he served as the chief legal officer for the 8th Coast Guard District in New Orleans, Louisiana, overseeing legal advice to Coast Guard operations spanning 26 states and the Gulf of Mexico. He was first appointed a military trial judge in 2005 and as an appellate judge in 2015.

Other notable assignments as a Coast Guard judge advocate included: chief counsel, Legal Engagements Division, U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany; deputy staff judge advocate, 13th Coast Guard District; special assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington; trial attorney at the Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division; legal advisor to the Department of Defense Criminal Investigation Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; deputy chief, Office of Environmental Law, U.S. Coast Guard; and appellate and trial counsel.  He also served as the commanding officer, personnel services and support unit, Seattle, and executive officer for Coast Guard Base Seattle. 

He is also a dedicated bar association leader and served as 2009 president of the Asian Bar Association of Washington. Although he grew up in the Seattle area, graduating from Seattle University and University of Washington School of Law, his career has taken him around the world.  Among his many other achievements and accomplishments, he served as 2012-2013 chair of the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division, which has approximately 20,000 members and is one of the largest entities in the ABA. He also served in the ABA House of Delegates and on the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Board, ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence, ABA Commission on Diversity and Inclusion 360, and as the assembly speaker of the ABA Young Lawyers Division. He recently concluded his service as a member of the ABA Law and National Security Advisory Committee. 

His military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, four Coast Guard Commendation Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, and two Commandant’s Letters of Commendation, as well as various team and unit awards.  Non-military awards include the DHS General Counsel’s Award of Excellence, the NAPABA Daniel Inouye Trailblazer Award, ABAW Judge of the Year, ABA Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award, NAPABA's "Best Lawyer Under 40,” and the American Bar Foundation Fellows Outstanding Chair Award.

President Aldana and his wife, Rowena, have a son, Ehrik, who is a senior at Yale University.  

G. Andrew H. Benjamin, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP

Director, Parenting Evaluation/Training Program (PETP), Clinical Professor of Psychology, and Affiliate Professor of Law at University of Washington School of Law

G. Andrew H. Benjamin was named "Professional of the Year" by the Washington State Bar Association's Family Law Section while working with families engaged in high-conflict litigation and lawyer suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems. He was elected to serve as President of the Washington State Psychological Association; his colleagues created an award named after him for "outstanding and tireless contributions." He was honored by the Puyallup Indian Nation's Health Authority for serving as a "modern day warrior fighting the mental illnesses, drug-alcohol addictions" of those served by the Nation's program. He has published 63 peer reviewed articles in Psychology, Law, and Psychiatry journals and he is the coauthor of five books published by APA and one book published by Sage.

David Boerner, J.D.

Professor Emeritus, Seattle University School of Law

Professor Boerner is one of Washington State's leading experts on professional ethics. He currently serves as chair of the Board for Court Education, chair of the Washington Supreme Court’s Time for Trial Task Force, as well as serving as a member of the Washington Supreme Court's Jury Instruction Committee. He has also chaired the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee of the Washington State Bar Association. In addition, he lectures frequently for groups such as the Washington Criminal Justice Institute, Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Federal Bar Association.

Lisa Brodoff, J.D.

Lisa Brodoff

Director, Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic, and Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law

Professor Brodoff served as chief review judge in the Office of Appeals for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services and was appointed chief administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings. She has also worked as an attorney for the Puget Sound Legal Assistance Foundation and as legislative staff counsel to the Washington Senate. She joined the faculty in 1997.

Professor Brodoff has engaged in both scholarly work and impact litigation/legislative advocacy while teaching at Seattle University. Her areas of expertise are in the rights of gay and lesbian individuals and couples, people with disabilities, the elderly, and public assistance applicants and recipients. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and continuing legal education programs on topics including the right to counsel in civil matters (civil Gideon), end of life and disability planning, and the administrative hearing process. Professor Brodoff was instrumental in the passage of legislation in Washington State creating the Mental Health Advance Directive, a planning document for people with mental illness. Washington’s statute is now considered model legislation for states seeking to expand the rights and planning options for people with mental illness.

In addition to her scholarship, speaking, and impact work, Professor Brodoff has served on a number of committees and boards including the Coalition for Indigent Representation and Civil Legal Equality (CIRCLE), the Access to Justice Board Impediments Committee, and the Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington Board. She is also a tribal court judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System.

Giuseppe De Palo, M.S., J.D., LL.M.

Giuseppe De Palo

Learn more about Professor De Palo

ADR Center

Hamline University

JAMS International

Co-founder and President, ADR Center, Rome, Italy; Professor, Hamline University School of Law; and Director, JAMS International, London.

Professor De Palo is co-founder and President of the ADR Center, Italy’s first and largest private provider of mediation services; mediator of over 500 civil and commercial disputes; responsible for the company’s global development; and team leader/director of several international projects on four different continents. He also serves on the board of directors of JAMS International. Professor De Palo sponsors and teaches numerous professional development seminars, as well as law school courses at Hamline University School of Law in Negotiation, Advanced Negotiation, Cross-Cultural Negotiation, and Mediation.

Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, J.D.

Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, photo b  y Seattle Photography Inc.   

Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, photo by Seattle Photography Inc. 

Chief Justice, Washington State Supreme Court

Elected in 2002, Mary Fairhurst began serving as a justice on the Washington Supreme Court in 2003.  She felt she had come home because she started her legal career in the Supreme Court as a judicial clerk, working first with Chief Justice William H. Williams in 1984 and then with Justice William C. Goodloe until 1986.

In 2016, her colleagues elected her Chief Justice. As Chief Justice, she is the court’s chief spokesperson, presides over Supreme Court hearings and conferences, and co-chairs the State’s Board for Judicial Administration. She also chairs the Judicial Information System Committee and serves on the court’s Administrative Committee, Budget Committee and various other workgroups. As Chief Justice she represents the court at the Conference of Chief Justices and Bench-Bar-Press Committee. 

Before returning to the Temple of Justice, Justice Fairhurst served the citizens of the state of Washington in the Washington Attorney General’s Office for the preceding 16 years. She worked with Attorneys General Christine Gregoire and Ken Eikenberry. She specialized in the areas of criminal justice, transportation, revenue, and labor. When she left, she was serving as the Division Chief of the Revenue, Bankruptcy and Collections Division. In 1998, Attorney General Gregoire gave her Steward of Justice Award to Justice Fairhurst.

Justice Fairhurst also did work not related to her cases that made a difference to Washington citizens. She worked on the constitutional amendment to increase the rights of crime victims while still honoring the constitutional rights of the accused. She organized the first statewide conferences on domestic violence. She planned and facilitated a youth violence summit and organized and moderated conferences dealing with sex offenders in the community.

Justice Fairhurst is and has long been a leader in the legal profession.  She served as President of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA). She was the second woman and first public sector attorney to hold this position. She also served on the WSBA Board of Governors representing the Third Congressional District. She has served on many WSBA committees. The WSBA gave her its highest honor, the Award of Merit, in 2011.

Throughout her career, Justice Fairhurst has worked to enhance the opportunities for women and minorities in the profession and to ensure access to justice for low-income individuals and families. She was president of Washington Women Lawyers (WWL) and served on its state board. She has served on the Supreme Court’s Gender and Justice Commission and Access to Justice Board committees. WWL has awarded her its President’s Award, the Betty B. Fletcher Judge of the Year Award, and the Passing the Torch Award. LEGALS, P.S. gave her its Allies for Justice Award.

Justice Fairhurst is committed to public legal education and is active working for children and youth. She is an ambassador of the iCivics program and is active with the YMCA Youth and Government Program and We the People. She served two years on the Girl Scouts Board of the Pacific Peaks Council. Justice Fairhurst speaks regularly to individuals and groups about the judiciary. The Council for Public Legal Education awarded her its Flame of Democracy Award and the Washington Judges’ Foundation awarded her the 2011 Judge William Nevins Award for distinguished service in public legal education.

Justice Fairhurst earned her law degree magna cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1984. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science cum laude from Gonzaga University in 1979. She also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Gonzaga University in 2006. She received the Distinguished Judicial Service Award and Myra Bradwell Award from Gonzaga Law School. She was a member and served as president of the Gonzaga Law School Board of Advisors and served as president of the Gonzaga Law School Alumni Association.

Seattle University School of Law honored her at the 2011 Red Mass and established a Public Interest Law Association grant in her name.

Tim Jaasko-Fisher, M.A., J.D.

Timothy Jaasko-Fisher

Founder and Principal Consultant
TJF Consulting

Tim works with people and organizations to build capacity to thrive in complexity. He catalyzes positive change on a strategic, systemic, and individual level. Through the use of Liberating Structures and other tools, he helps groups to meaningfully include everyone in exploring the complex challenges they face, and provides concrete, meaningful ways to unleash a groups full potential to maximize return on investment. Tim serves as the Director of Internal Capacity Building for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau’s Capacity Building Center for Courts, where he provides consulting, coaching, and advice to a team of national experts working to build courts’ capacity to respond to child abuse and neglect on a systemic level.

Tim served as the Senior Director of Curriculum and Program Development at the Civility Center for Law at Seattle University School of Law and was the founding director of the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) at the University of Washington School of Law. He was a member of the federal Quality Improvement Center on Youth Representation curriculum team. In 2010, he was awarded the Lee Ann Miller Individual Award for outstanding leadership in furthering the goals of the Washington State Children’s Justice Act, and he led the Court Improvement Training Academy to receive the Lee Ann Miller Team award in 2014.

Tim worked as an Assistant Attorney General for 11 years. He has litigated at all levels of the justice system in Washington State, including administrative tribunals, the Superior Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. He presents nationally and internationally on issues relating to leadership, civility, and engaging groups in complex problem-solving. 

To learn more about Tim’s work, visit

Stella Rabaut, M.A., J.D.

Stella Rabaut

Retired Attorney at Law

Stella Rabaut practiced law in corporate settings and private practice in Texas and Washington for over 25 years. During that time, she practiced as a sole practitioner, in-house counsel for an oil and gas company, and general counsel for a non-profit institution of higher education.

She served as chair of the Washington State Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee and as an officer on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. She headed up the Division of Committees of the Texas Bar Association that dealt with the public while chairing the Public Affairs Committee and the Citizen’s Legal Education Committee. She is a life fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation. Stella also served as president of the Houston Association of Women Attorneys.

Ms. Rabaut has consulted with the Fetzer Institute on its Healing and the Law Project and has facilitated retreats for lawyers and judges in various settings, including the Whidbey Institute. She taught at the Leadership Institute of Seattle, where she also served on the board of directors. She was adjunct faculty at Seattle University Law School, where she designed and taught a course titled, “Transforming the Legal Profession: Emerging Trends in the Practice of Law.” She was a frequent presenter for King County Bar Association, Washington State Bar Association, and Seattle University Law School continuing legal education programs.

Her particular interest is in sustaining the human spirit and well being while practicing law. Most recently she has focused on the challenge of civility in the context of the legal profession. Ms. Rabaut has been instrumental in helping to develop the vision and implementation of the Civility Center's initiatives to promote civility within the profession.

Craig Sims, J.D.

Craig sims

Trial Lawyer

Craig is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 20 years of litigation and leadership experience. His calling “to be of service to others” is what drew him to Schroeter Goldmark & Bender where he represents victims of asbestos exposure. Craig’s focus is to seek accountability while honoring the lives of his clients and their families.  Craig has a proven track record litigating cases including large verdict wins and settlements exceeding $20 million.  He has been the lead trial lawyer in multiple trials with successful settlements and plaintiff verdicts, including the largest asbestos jury award in the state of Oregon.

Craig’s focus on asbestos trial work began in late 2015.  Prior to his asbestos litigation practice, Craig served as the Criminal Division Chief in the Seattle Attorney’s Office where he led a team of more than sixty attorneys and staff.  Craig has also served as a Senior King County Prosecutor. While on assignment with the Most Dangerous Offender Program, he prosecuted a number of homicides and high-profile cases; seeking justice while advocating for those who’d been harmed.

Craig has taught as an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law and a visiting lecturer at the University of Washington Law School. He’s a member and past-president of the Loren Miller Bar Association, which gave him the Excellence in the Legal Profession award in 2013. Craig is also a member of the Washington State Bar Association, and a board member for the Washington State Bar Leadership Institute. The King County Bar Association designated him Mentor of the Year for the Young Lawyers Division in 2013.

Craig has traveled the country consulting on issues of diversity and equity.  He is often asked to speak at lawyer trainings on all aspects of trial presentations.  He also enjoys spending time with his family and barbequing year round.

Sumeer Singla, J.D.

Sumeer Singla

Assistant Seattle City Attorney

Sumeer Singla is currently assigned to the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct. Sumeer’s current practice involves providing advice on criminal and civil issues, including coordinating community outreach on behalf of SPD and the City Attorney’s Office.

Prior to joining the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Sumeer served as Policy Director for the Washington State Senate. He coordinated policy staff analysts and provided strategic policy and political advice to Washington State Senate Democrats. Sumeer served specifically as counsel to the Judiciary and Transportation Committees.

Sumeer also served as a King County Prosecutor, where he tried over thirty-five felony jury trials. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington State University and is a 2002 University of Washington School of Law graduate. After law school, Sumeer clerked for the Honorable Judge Elaine Houghton, Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, and worked for Preston Gates & Ellis (now K&L Gates).

Sumeer is a member of the Washington Appleseed Board and an Advisory Board Member to the Boyer Clinic.

Originally from India, Sumeer moved to a small immigrant town in Eastern Washington when he was 12 years old. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Suzanne, and his two young daughters, Asha and Amaya. His free time is spent with his family and friends.

Ronald R. Ward, J.D.

Ronald R. Ward

Attorney at Law, WardSmith

Ronald R. (Ron) Ward earned his juris doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He served as a Washington state assistant attorney general before entering private practice in Seattle. Mr. Ward was elected 2004-2005 President of the Washington State Bar Association, the first African-American and first person of color to serve as WSBA president in the association’s then 114-year history. Mr. Ward successfully founded and put into action the WSBA Leadership Institute (WLI), which now serves as a developmental program for young lawyers seeking leadership positions. The WLI pays particular attention to diverse groups of lawyers that would otherwise be traditionally underrepresented. Since his status as president of the WSBA in 2004, This WLI program has won national honors, including the American Bar Association Partnership Award (2005) and the LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell® Legal Fellowship (2006). Mr. Ward served as the president of the Washington State Bar Foundation from 2008 to 2011, and he became president of the Washington chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates in November of 2012. He has been a tireless and eloquent state-wide and national advocate for the preservation of the independence of the judiciary and for access to justice for disadvantaged citizens. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board for Judicial Administration (BJA)-Washington Supreme Court, and as a representative to the BJA Court Funding Task Force. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Washington Equal Justice Coalition for the support of legal services to deprived citizens.

Mr. Ward has received numerous awards including the Washington State Bar Association Award of Merit (the WSBA's highest honor), the Washington State Bar Association Excellence in Diversity Award, the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association President's Award, and the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Outstanding Plaintiff's Trial Lawyer Award. Since 2003, he has been included in Washington State’s Super Lawyers®

Debra Wiley, M.A., J.D.

deb wiley photo.jpg

Debra is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and has been associated with Roberts Fund and the Civility Center for Law Italy seminars since the inaugural class of 2011.

A graduate of Seattle University School of Law, Debra practiced briefly in Tacoma and was Executive Director of the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution before joining the U.S. Department of Education. She served as the first Federal Student Aid Ombudsman and later as Senior Advisor for Customer Experience, until leaving federal service in late 2012. Debra also holds an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was formerly with state higher education agencies in Colorado and Virginia and a coordinator of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). Known for her intense interest in conflict resolution, consumer issues, and end-user perspectives, Debra focuses on program and policy development to minimize conflict and maximize efficiency. She is also a licensed tour guide for the District of Columbia and is a member of the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC.   

Justice Mary I. Yu, M.A., J.D.

Justice, Washington State Supreme Court

Mary Yu was appointed to the Washington Supreme Court effective May 16, 2014, and subsequently elected for the remainder of a two-year term. Justice Yu joined the Supreme Court after more than 14 years as an accomplished trial court judge in King County Superior Court where she presided over a wide variety of criminal, civil, and juvenile cases, and presided over hundreds of adoptions and other family law matters. As a trial court judge, Justice Yu became known for treating everyone with respect and fairness, approaching each case with an open mind and understanding that each decision has an impact on an individual’s life.

Prior to becoming a judge, Justice Yu served as Deputy Chief of Staff to King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and as a deputy in the Criminal and Civil Divisions. Before attending law school, Justice Yu worked in the Peace and Justice Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago, first as staff and later appointed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin as Director of that Office.

Justice Yu has a deep record of service both on and off the bench, mentoring young attorneys, law clerks and students, co-chairing the Court’s Minority and Justice Commission, teaching at Seattle University School of Law and serving there as Jurist in Residence, co-chairing the Washington State Bar Association/University of Washington Law School Leadership Institute, serving on the board of FareStart and the advisory board for the University of Washington School of Law’s Gates Public Service Program. She is personally devoted to the Civility Project of the Robert’s Fund Foundation and to the Seattle Girls’ School Mock Trials, serving as their judge for the last eleven years.

Justice Yu was raised in Bridgeport, a south side neighborhood in Chicago, by immigrant parents; her mother came from Mexico and her father from China. She is the first in her family to graduate from college. She received her B.A. from Dominican University, M.A., Religious Studies, from Mundelein College of Loyola University in Chicago, and J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Justice Yu is the recipient of the following awards: 2015 Woman of the Year from the Seattle University School of Law and Women's Law Caucus; 2014 Judge of the Year from the Washington State Association for Justice; 2014 Betty B. Fletcher Judge of the Year Award from Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter; 2013 Public Official of the Year from the Municipal League Foundation; 2013 Latina/o Amicus Award from Seattle University School of Law Latina/o Law Student Association; 2012 President’s Award from the Asian Bar Association of Washington; 2012 Difference Makers Award from the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division; the 2011 Judge of the Year award from the Washington State Bar Association (shared with Justice Gonzalez); 2011 Seattle Girls’ School Grace Hopper Award; 2009 Norm Maleng Award from the Washington State Bar Association; 2008 Judge of the Year from the Asian Bar Association; 2008 President’s Award from Washington Women Lawyers; 2006 Model of Excellence Award from the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington; the 2005 Judge of the Year award from the American Board of Trial Advocates; and the 2005 Reah Whitehead Public Leadership Award from Seattle University School of Law.