Hillary with husband Rob and children: Clare (age 2), Levi (age 6), and Paris (age 2)
I was born and raised between Seattle and Tacoma, with a year spent living in Brazil as an exchange student. My father practiced law in King County for over thirty years as a public defender and my mother was elected to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court in 1992. From a young age, my parents stressed the importance of hard work, fairness, and service.
I attended the University of Washington, where I double-majored in International Studies and Geography with a minor in Latin American Studies. At the suggestion of one of my favorite professors, I started volunteering with the U-District Youth Shelter (now ROOTS) in Seattle. I grew passionate about unfairness in the lives of young people experiencing homelessness. To my parents’ surprise and maybe pleasure, I set my course for law school.
I earned my law degree from Seattle University School of Law. My legal career began in private practice representing contractors and architects in commercial disputes while engaging in pro bono volunteer activities. After five years, I decided to walk away from corporate law to represent court-appointed special advocates for children and youth in foster care and to complete a fellowship with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in the Felony Trial Unit. When a job opened at a local nonprofit, Columbia Legal Services, that provided free attorneys to children and youth in foster care, students experiencing homelessness, and youth involved in the juvenile legal system, I jumped at the chance to join my legal career with my zeal for confronting injustice.
At Columbia Legal Services, I represented children and youth as well as people incarcerated in Washington detention centers, jails, and prisons through class actions, impact litigation, appeals, lobbying, and coalition building. Some highlights include: securing the right for kids in foster care to get attorneys; affording students experiencing homelessness with education advocates; reforming juvenile record sealing laws so kids get a second chance; confronting the use of solitary confinement against kids; challenging legal financial obligations to end the practice of imposing fees on youth who cannot afford to pay them; and investigating medical neglect at the Northwest Detention Center.
Today, I am lucky enough to continue serving vulnerable children, youth and families at a small, family law firm. I represent children and youth in the foster care system and take on cases for families involved in the child welfare system. Carrying a tough case load of abused and neglected children and youth is not a 9-5 job. Teenagers do not respect business hours! And family crises happen on weekends. But the experience has taught me to look at each of my clients and ask two questions: how can I ensure this person is treated fairly, and how is this system working to create a fair or unfair result. I will bring this system-based perspective to the bench.
My broad legal experiences have given me an "A to Z" perspective on the law. I have worked with local community organizations to identify necessary changes in laws and courtroom practices; assisted elected officials in writing laws to strengthen our civil liberties; presented criminal and civil cases to 12-person juries, trial judges, and administrative courts; and argued appeals to some of the highest courts in Washington. I have appeared in almost every department of the King County Superior Court (Family, Ex-Parte, Criminal, Civil, Juvenile, and Dependency) so I am prepared to take on the diverse work of the court.
At home, my spouse and I are raising three children, an aging rescue dog, and an (occasionally) productive vegetable garden. I am also proud to volunteer as a mentor in programs at the Monroe Correctional Center and the Washington Corrections Center for Women. I serve on the board of Children’s Alliance, a local non-profit focused on the well-being of children across Washington, with a special focus on children of color. I also and actively serve the Washington State Bar Association as a section leader and representative.
Hillary with her mom Barbara
Levi (age 6) with Della (age 16)