Updated: Aug. 21, 2018

Congratulations to the 2011 WSBA Annual Award Recipients!


Hon. Mary E. Fairhurst, Award of Merit

Joseph M. McMillan, Award of Merit

Harry H. Schneider Jr., Award of Merit

Charles C. Sipos, Award of Merit

Robert D. Welden, Lifetime Service Award

Ramona L. Writt, Excellence in Diversity Award (awarded posthumously; accepted by Seattle University School of Law Professors Lustbader and Boerner)

Hon. Steven C. Gonzalez and Hon. Mary I. Yu, Outstanding Judge Award

Craig A. Sims, Professionalism Award

Tim Connor, Excellence in Legal Journalism Award

Margaret E. Fisher and Angelo J. Petruss Award for Lawyers in Public Service

Kripa Upadhyay, Community Service Award

David S. Keenan, Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Hon. Marlin J. Appelwick, President’s Award

Thomas E. Kelly Jr., Pro Bono Award

Colleen Kinerk, Norm Maleng Leadership Award

Joanne M. Hepburn, Pro Bono Award


Awards detailed below may or may not be presented every year. Please contact Events Coordinator Pamela Wuest at 206-239-2125 for more information.

The awards were presented at the WSBA Annual Awards Dinner in Seattle on Sept. 22, 2011, with the following exceptions: the Pro Bono and Norm Maleng Leadership awards, which were presented at the Access to Justice/Bar Leaders Conference in Kennewick, June 3–5, 2011.

The Awards

Award of Merit — First given in 1957, this is the WSBA's highest honor. The Award of Merit is most often given for long-term service to the Bar and/or the public, although it has also been presented in recognition of a single, extraordinary contribution or project. It is awarded to individuals only — both lawyers and non-lawyers.

Professionalism Award — This honor is awarded to a WSBA member who exemplifies the spirit of professionalism in the practice of law. "Professionalism" is defined as the pursuit of a learned profession in the spirit of service to the public and in the sharing of values with other members of the profession.

Angelo Petruss Award for Lawyers in Public Service — Named in honor of Angelo R. Petruss, a senior assistant attorney general who passed away during his term of service on the WSBA Board of Governors, this award is given to a lawyer in government service who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession, the justice system, and the public.

Outstanding Judge Award — This award is presented for outstanding service to the bench and for special contribution to the legal profession at any level of the court.

Pro Bono Award — This award is presented to a lawyer, non-lawyer, law firm, or bar association for outstanding efforts in providing pro bono services. This award is based on cumulative efforts, as opposed to a lawyer's or group's pro bono hours or financial contribution.

Courageous Award — This award is presented to a lawyer who has displayed exceptional courage in the face of adversity, thus bringing credit to the legal profession.

Excellence in Diversity Award — This award is made to a lawyer, law firm, or law-related group that has made a significant contribution to diversity in the legal profession's employment of ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and other persons of diversity.

Outstanding Elected Official Award — This award is presented to an elected official for outstanding service, with special contributions to the legal profession. It is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to justice beyond the usual call of duty.

Excellence in Legal Journalism Award — This award recognizes that describing the context, facts, and players involved in the legal system with fairness and sensitivity requires intelligence, knowledge, dedication, and skill. This award is given to the journalist and his/her organization that has set the standard for relevance, clarity, accuracy, and understanding in reporting.

Lifetime Service Award — This is a special award given for a lifetime of service to the WSBA and the public. It is given only when there is someone especially deserving of this recognition.

President's Award — The President's Award is given annually in recognition of special accomplishment or service to the WSBA during the term of the current president.

Community Service Award — Lawyers are known for giving generously of their time and talents in service to their communities. This award recognizes exceptional non-law-related volunteer work and community service.

Norm Maleng Leadership Award — This award is given jointly by the WSBA and the Access to Justice Board, in honor of Norm Maleng's legacy as a leader. He was an innovative and optimistic leader committed to justice and access to justice in both civil and criminal settings. Within the profession, his leadership was characterized by his love of the law and commitment to diversity and mentorship. This award recognizes those who embody these qualities.

Outstanding Young Lawyer Award — The WSBA Young Lawyers Division’s highest honor, this award recognizes one attorney who has made significant contributions to the professional community, especially the community of young lawyers, within their initial years of practice. Recipients must be active WSBA members within five years of admission to any bar association or under 36 years of age.