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 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.