Meet Your Board of Governors

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Judge Brian Tollefson (Ret.)

2021-2022 PRESIDENT

Judge Brian Tollefson (Ret.) was elected to the Board of Governors in 2017 and elected by the Board of Governors as president-elect in 2020. Judge Tollefson is a principal at Black Robe Dispute Resolution Services, PLLC. He served on the Pierce County Superior Court bench for over 27 years. While on the bench he was active in the Superior Court Judges Association (SCJA) as a member of the Board of Trustees, together with several SCJA committees. He served on the Pierce County Superior Court Executive Committee and served as presiding judge, continuing active participation in numerous Superior Court committees. Before his judicial career, he was a partner in a Tacoma law firm. He is an emeritus member of the Robert J. Bryan American Inns of Court and has worked with the National Courts & Sciences Institute (NCSI, formerly known as ASTAR). He graduated from Willamette University College of Law with honors, serving on the Willamette Law Review staff. After law school, he served as law clerk to the late Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Wright for two years. He earned a master’s degree in judicial studies from the University of Nevada, Reno. His B.A. in Business Administration is from the University of Washington School of Business.

Daniel D. Clark 


Daniel D. Clark was elected by the Board of Governors as president-elect in 2021 and has served on the Board of Governors as the District 4 Governor since July 2017. He was elected as WSBA treasurer in July 2019, and reelected as WSBA treasurer in July 2020, becoming the first member to serve as treasurer for two terms and two consecutive terms. Clark is a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Corporate Counsel Division. His legal practice includes providing legal representation to Yakima County department heads and elected officials in civil, financial, forfeiture, and taxation litigation matters. He is the legal counsel for the Southeast Washington Aging and Long Term Care Council of Governments, an entity that provides important services for vulnerable clients. Born and raised in Yakima, Clark received his B.A. in political science, magna cum laude, from Central Washington University and his J.D., cum laude, from Gonzaga University School of Law.

Kyle Sciuchetti


Kyle Sciuchetti was the 2020-2021 WSBA president. He was first elected to the WSBA Board of Governors to serve District 3 in 2017 and was elected president-elect in May 2019. He is a partner with Miller Nash LLP, where he serves as outside counsel for businesses throughout the Northwest, including construction contractors and professionals. Sciuchetti is a former prosecutor with the City of Spokane and former session attorney with the Washington State Legislature Office of the Code Reviser. Sciuchetti served 17 years on the WSBA Legislative Review Committee including as its chair for several years. He also chaired several WSBA committees including the Long-Range Strategic Planning Council, TAXICAB Task Force, Committee to Investigate Alternatives to Mandatory Malpractice Insurance, and the Board of Governors Legislative Committee. He serves on the Statute Law Committee, Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Business Association, and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Born and raised in Spokane, Sciuchetti received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Washington and his law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School.

Sunitha Anjilvel


Sunitha Anjilvel was reelected to the Board of Governors in 2021. She has practiced family law and estate planning in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. Since her first admission to practice law in 1990, Anjilvel has practiced in a variety of courts in Canada, California, and Washington in family law, criminal law, and civil litigation. In 2005 she served as director of a bipartisan campaign to support a redistricting reform initiative on California’s statewide ballot. She is committed to social justice and currently is a member of the WSBA Diversity Committee and a director on the Board of Domestic Relations Attorneys of Washington (DRAW). Anjilvel has also volunteered for the Kinship Care Project and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. She has a B.A. from McGill University and a J.D. from Dalhousie Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Washington and California.

Carla J. Higginson


Carla J. Higginson has served as the District 2 governor since June 2018, the first governor from San Juan County in WSBA history. Since her admission to the Bar in 1980, she has practiced in Friday Harbor, handling civil litigation, family law, real property, estate planning, probate, elder law, and criminal defense. She was a solo practitioner for 30 years until 2010 when she was joined by her partner Garrett Beyer. She served as a five-term president of the San Juan County Bar Association. She served for eight years as the Town of Friday Harbor municipal court judge, and she once was the youngest judge in the state. She also served on the San Juan County Planning Commission and the Bastyr University Board of Trustees, was a frequent speaker at CLEs, and is a longtime volunteer attorney for several nonprofits. A native of Western Washington, and part Tsimshian Indian, Higginson holds a B.A. in Communications from Western Washington University and a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.

Lauren Boyd


Lauren Boyd was elected to the Board of Governors in 2020. She graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2015. Before that, she earned a history of art bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. After law school, she became a deputy prosecutor at the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She is currently the unit coordinator for the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center, working to prosecute cases and raise awareness of this issue in our communities. Boyd grew up in Southern Oregon. She moved to Washington after law school to be closer to part of her family. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and any activity that gets her outdoors.

Francis Adewale


Francis Adewale was elected to the Board of Governors in 2021. Adewale is one of the attorneys who helped establish Spokane Community Court, and his commitment to community and movement lawyering is epitomized by his work on several community-based boards and activities in Eastern Washington. He is the current vice president of JustLead Washington, the chair of the Access to Justice Board, and a member of the Washington Supreme Court’s Interpreters Commission. He is a founding member of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, having been reappointed three times by Gov. Jay Inslee. Adewale is an H. George Frederickson Honors Graduate of Eastern Washington University and adjunct faculty member at Whitworth University. He was admitted to the WSBA in 2000 and has since practiced as assistant public defender for the City of Spokane. He is a recipient of the City of Spokane Human Rights Award, the Washington Criminal Defense Lawyers’ President’s Award, the Spokane County Bar Association Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award, and the 2021 Washington Defender Association’s President’s Award. 

Brett A. Purtzer


Purtzer was elected to the Board of Governors in 2020, and is currently a principal at the Hester Law Group, Inc., P.S. He has been in private practice in Tacoma since 1988, where he focuses on criminal defense, personal injury, civil litigation, and representing professionals in disciplinary matters. Purtzer has served as president and as a trustee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association. He has also served as a lawyer representative for the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference and as a trustee for the Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington, and is the past co-chair of the Federal Bar Association Pro Bono Committee for the Western District of Washington. He is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association every year since his inclusion in 2011. Purtzer graduated with a B.A. in English from Washington State University in 1983 and with a J.D. from the University of Puget Sound Law School in 1987.

Matthew Dresden


Matthew Dresden was elected to the Board of Governors in 2020. He is a solo practitioner at Dresden Law PLLC in Seattle, where he handles a wide range of corporate and transactional matters, with an emphasis on media and entertainment, international intellectual property, and cross-border work. Before attending law school, Dresden worked in Hollywood for several years as an independent filmmaker. Dresden served on the executive committee of the WSBA’s International Practice Section for eight years, including a term as chair. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he teaches a clinic on legal issues for independent filmmakers. He served as a law clerk in the Southern District of Texas for U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeff Bohm. He has a B.A. from Stanford University, a J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and LL.M.s from New York University and the National University of Singapore.

Serena Sayani 


Serena Sayani was elected to the Board of Governors in 2021. She is a shareholder at Stokes Lawrence, P.S., in the real estate and business transaction practice group. Sayani’s commercial real estate practice focuses on acquisitions, dispositions, development, construction, and leasing. Her clients include real estate investment trusts, public and private pension plans, tax-exempt investors, developers, and other businesses. In addition, she provides counsel to clients in multimillion-dollar development and construction transactions involving drafting and negotiating development, design, construction, and other related agreements. Outside of her practice, Sayani is a member of the WSBA Diversity Committee, a board member for Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), the co-chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee for NAIOP Washington, the co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Stokes Lawrence, P.S., a member of the KCBA’s MLK, Jr. Luncheon Committee, and an attorney mentor-coach for the Mercer Island High School Mock Trial Team (2018-2019). Recently, Sayani was honored with the 2019 Up and-Coming CRE Attorney Award by the Puget Sound Business Journal and the Rising Rock Star Award by CREW/Elevate.

Brent Williams-Ruth


Brent Williams-Ruth was first elected to the Board of Governors in 2020. Williams-Ruth has had a varied career ranging from working as a 1L intern with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to working in a non-legal role with (formerly) Fisher Radio Seattle. Since 2015, he has been the sole proprietor of a concierge estate planning, probate/trust, and elder law firm. Since starting his own firm, Williams-Ruth has volunteered with Seattle University School of Law as a mentor and judge for legal writing oral arguments. He began his volunteer service with the WSBA in 2018 when he joined the Character and Fitness Board, serving as its vice chair in the 2019-2020 year. He resigned his position with Character and Fitness in September 2020 to take his seat as a governor. He also serves as a trustee on the Washington State Bar Association Foundation. When not working or volunteering, you will find him spending time scuba diving, traveling, hiking, and creating adventures with his husband, Justin.

Bryn Peterson


Bryn Peterson was elected to the WSBA Board of Governors in 2019. He was also elected treasurer by the Board for the 2021-22 fiscal year. He attended the University of the Pacific for undergraduate and law school. He then attended the University of Washington School of Law and obtained an LL.M. in taxation. Peterson practices in the area of corporate law. Since 2002, he has been delivering comprehensive legal support on a variety of corporate matters including contracts, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, insurance, risk management, capital projects, taxation, and audits. Peterson’s diverse legal background includes eight years as internal legal counsel for multimillion-dollar corporations including Green Giant Fresh and Tree Top, and multibillion-dollar corporation Darigold, Inc. His experience spans companies across varied sectors including technology, food/beverage, and agriculture. Peterson is the oldest child of eight. He has a wonderful wife and two great children. He also enjoys running, golf, and barbecue.

Thomas A. McBride


Thomas A. McBride was elected to the Board of Governors in 2019. He was born and raised in Spokane. He attended Washington State University for undergraduate and the University of Washington for law school. Between schools, McBride worked as an accountant and passed the Certified Public Accountant exam. After graduating from law school in 1990, McBride worked at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He then spent 25 years as the executive director of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. He is married to Jodi and has three children and a disreputable dog.

Hunter M. Abell


Hunter M. Abell was elected to fill an at-large diversity position on the Board of Governors in 2019. Abell is a member at the Seattle office of Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, PLLC. He is originally from Eastern Washington, where he was raised on a ranch in rural Ferry County. A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Abell attended Gonzaga University School of Law and received an LL.M at Georgetown University Law Center. Before joining Williams Kastner, he served as a JAG officer with the U.S. Navy, and is currently a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Abell previously served as chair of the WSBA Professionalism Committee and Indian Law Section. When not in the office, he enjoys hiking, fishing, and playing with his two young daughters, Libby (8) and Wynsome (6).

Alec Stephens 


Alec Stephens was first elected to the Board of Governors in 2017 and reelected in January 2021. Prior to serving on the Board, Stephens served two terms as chair of the WSBA Civil Rights Law Section, and was the small sections representative on the Board’s Sections Policy Work Group. He has been a civil rights lawyer since his admission to the Bar in 1981, and was national co-director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council, and national co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Affirmative Action/Anti-Discrimination Committee. Active in civic affairs, he has served as a member of the City of Seattle Parks Levy Oversight Committee, and he was the first Disproportionality Task Force chair of Seattle Public Schools. In 2012, he was one of 12 electors to cast Washington’s electoral votes in the Electoral College. Originally from Miami, Florida, Stephens has a law degree from the University of Puget Sound law school, and a bachelor of business administration from the University of Miami. During his tenure on the Board, he has served as Board co-chair of the WSBA Diversity Committee, as chair and co-chair of the Personnel Committee, and as chair of the Equity & Disparity Work Group.

Jordan L. Couch 


Jordan Couch was elected to the Board of Governors in 2021 to represent new and young lawyers in an at-large position. Couch is a partner at Palace Law, practicing workers’ compensation and personal injury. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoorsman—probably stemming from his childhood spent between an island in Alaska and the Bighorn River valley in Montana. Prior to joining the Board of Governors, Couch served as a trustee for the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, chair of the Access to Justice Board’s Technology Committee, and chair of the Washington Young Lawyers Committee, and has held various leadership roles on the Solo and Small Practice Section’s Executive Committee. Couch is passionate about solving access to justice by helping lawyers build better, more client-centric practices, and never gets tired of talking about how to improve our profession (or fishing). 

WSBA Governance: The Board of Governors is the governing body of the WSBA that determines the general policies of the Bar and approves its budget each year. The Board moves the Bar forward with an eye toward its long-standing mission, guiding principles, and short-term strategic goals. The Board consists of the president, president-elect, immediate past president, and members elected from each congressional district and at-large.

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