WWL Legacy Project

Washington Women Lawyers is pleased to share its Legacy Project. The Legacy Project was designed to honor our heritage, meaning to acknowledge and pay tribute to the contributions of founding members of WWL as well as pioneering women judges and attorneys in Washington. Interviews with these women have been recorded and preserved so we can know that history, honor it, and learn from it. .

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen was elected as the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court in 2009 and has been a Justice on the Court since 1992.  She was third woman to serve on the Court.  Chief Justice Madsen is the Chair of the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission.  She received the Washington Women Lawyers Vanguard Award in 1998 and 2002 for her leadership and inspiration for women in the legal profession, among other awards.

Justice Susan Owens was elected as the seventh woman to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court in 2000, from the rural area of Western Clallam County. She formerly served as a District Court judge, the Quileute Tribe's Chief Judge, and Chief Judge of the Lower Elwha S'Klallam Tribe in that County.


Justice Mary E. Fairhurst
was elected to the Washington State Supreme Court in 2002 and she was an early president of Washington Women Lawyers. She has also served as the President of the Washington State Bar Association, and on the Board of Governors for the Third Congressional District. Justice Fairhurst is a former law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Williams and Justice William C. Goodloe of the Washington State Supreme Court.

Justice Debra L. Stephens
was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court in 2008 from Eastern Washington, as the first woman from that area to serve on the Court, and subsequently elected to a six-year term. She is a former Judge for Division Three of the Court of Appeals. Justice Stephens helped coordinate the Amicus Curiae Program of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and served as an adjunct professor of law at Gonzaga Law School, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Community Property, Appellate Advocacy, and Legal Research and Writing.

Hon. Patricia C. Williams
is a federal judge with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington, and served as the Chief Judge until 2007. She was a founding member and first president of the Spokane Chapter of Washington Women Lawyers. Judge Williams received the WWL Legacy Award in 2010.