The Acknowledging Professional Excellence (APEX) Awards honor exemplary members of the legal community, including legal professionals, judges, and members of the public.
Note: APEX Award winners are nominated by WSBA members and members of the public. Nominations are reviewed by the WSBA APEX Awards Committee (made up of members of the WSBA Board of Governors), which makes recommendations to the full Board of Governors. Nominations for the 2023 awards open in January. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and to view the entire 2022 awards presentation ceremony as well as the award winners’ videos, visit www.wsba.org/apex.
The Outstanding Young Lawyer 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 less than 36 years of age.
Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Sofia M. Pasarow
At only 29 years old and barely five years out of law school, Sofia M. Pasarow was promoted to the role of managing attorney with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC).
“Sofia is a natural born leader,” said one of her nominators. “Within a short amount of time, Sofia garnered the trust and respect of the attorneys she leads by fostering an environment of collegiality, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses in case assignments, providing guidance in problem solving in complex cases, and building a cohesive team.”
Amid staff absences and having taken on the task of training new attorneys, Pasarow led the attorney team during the 2022 legislative session in responding to a large volume of requests for legislative analyses and fiscal notes detailing the impact and need for resources to handle additional consumer protection needs for Washingtonians.
Pasarow led OIC to win a number of enforcement actions in some of the more significant cases in recent years. Those cases included actions against illegal health-care-sharing ministries, unauthorized insurers selling unapproved insurance products in Washington, and insurance producers who do not comply with the state insurance code and cause consumer harm. One case resulted in a $1.5 million fine against an insurance producer for violating multiple insurance code and regulation provisions.
Pasarow graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn her J.D. from Lewis & Clark College.
Legal Innovation Award
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Considering the sheer size and dedication behind Davis Wright Tremaine’s efforts to guide, enhance, and deliver pro bono services, few others could be more worthy of the Legal Innovation Award.
The firm has spearheaded a variety of programs and initiatives to reimagine how pro bono services are delivered to underrepresented and marginalized communities, while simultaneously using what it has learned to help others do the same. In just one year, for example, the firm’s Pro Bono and Social Impact Department—led by Chief Pro Bono and Social Impact Officer Joanna Plichta Boisen—helped an estimated 100 in-house departments foster pro bono partnerships with companies including Amazon, Bloomberg, JP Morgan Chase, Meta, and Microsoft. Such accomplishments have led respected outlets like Law360 to say that Davis Wright Tremaine “is at the forefront of efforts by a few law firms to engage in pro bono partnerships with corporate legal departments in a continued, sustained way.”
Davis Wright Tremaine also developed the innovative educational program, In-House Pro Bono Summit, which for the past four years has brought together in-house legal teams from across the country to learn more about trends in pro bono, social impact, corporate social responsibility, and environmental, social, and governance policies. The Pro Bono and Social Impact Department also created In-House Insights, an educational series designed to help in-house lawyers learn from peers about the best ways to structure and increase their own pro bono efforts.
Such programs have resulted in Davis Wright Tremaine and others assisting over 600 incarcerated individuals to challenge non-unanimous jury verdicts resulting from Jim Crow-era laws, drafting a chapter of a national bench book to create more equitable and trauma-informed courtrooms for survivors of sex trafficking, supporting over 15 small businesses with contract reviews, and much more.
The Legal Innovation Award recognizes legal professionals, law firms, courts, law schools, individuals, or organizations who demonstrate leadership in promoting innovation in the practice of law. Innovation may be defined as programs, processes, or technology that advance or streamline the future of the profession and accessibility/delivery of legal services.
The Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Award of Merit is the Bar’s highest honor and is given to an individual for a recent, singular achievement. The singular achievement may involve an individual who has displayed exceptional courage in the face of adversity, thus bringing credit to the legal profession. It is awarded to individuals only—both legal professionals and members of the public. In March 2022, the WSBA Board of Governors unanimously voted to rename the APEX Award of Merit the Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Award of Merit, after the former Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court, a legal luminary and a model of WSBA service and professionalism, who died in December 2021.
Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Award of Merit
Hon. James E. Rogers
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge James Rogers prioritized access to justice and, according to his nominator, “led our court to accomplish extraordinary things during a time of great crisis and fear.” Among those accomplishments, the court never closed and continued to hold crucial criminal, family law, and domestic violence protection order hearings, as well as holding Involuntary Treatment Court without interruption.
Judge Rogers is credited with keeping the court functioning by quickly consulting a team of public health experts on the best ways to maintain safety for both employees and members of the public. He led efforts to utilize technology in new ways, install HVAC filters and court ventilation systems, and create a pop-up courthouse in Bellevue to hold in-person jury trials with adequate social distancing.
By the end of 2020, the court was even able to begin holding civil jury trials remotely. From the early pandemic through December 2021, the court through Judge Rogers’ leadership remotely conducted 1,000 bench trials and over 300 jury trials. According to Law360, the King County Superior Court conducted more virtual trials during the pandemic than any other court system in the country.
Judge Rogers currently serves in the Civil Department and has presided over all types of cases since 2005. He was the court’s presiding judge from 2019-2021. A graduate of the University of Washington, he served in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone before earning his J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center. He later clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan, worked in civil practice at Riddell Williams, and worked in the King County Prosecutor’s Office where he served in the Special Assault Unit and Most Dangerous Offenders Project Unit. Judge Rogers sits on the Washington Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions and the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound Board.
“We at King County Superior Court could not be prouder of our work over the last two years, none of which could have been accomplished without his leadership,” wrote Judge Rogers’ nominator. “Significantly, I can’t think of another person who could have done the job at all.”
Justice C.Z. Smith Excellence in Diversity Award
QLaw Foundation of Washington
The mission of the QLaw Foundation of Washington is to promote “the dignity and respect of LGBTQ+ Washingtonians within the legal system through advocacy, education, and legal assistance.” The organization envisions “a world in which no LGBTQ+ person will face additional barriers to authentic living, access to justice, or equality before the law because of their queer identity.” Even amid a global pandemic, QLaw was able to continue providing pro bono legal services through the LGBTQ+ Legal Clinic (the Clinic). The Clinic offers free consultations with volunteer attorneys and provides potential legal solutions or referrals.
QLaw pivoted to telephone consultations with clients and provided COVID-19 resources on its website, both vitally important given the disproportionate effects the pandemic has had on the LGBTQ+ community: half of LGBTQ+ individuals in Washington experience difficulty paying bills, securing food, and paying their rent or mortgage, and 75 percent of LGBTQ+ individuals in the state reported that their work was slowed or stopped due to the pandemic.
Expanding on its already stellar legal services, the Clinic, many of whose volunteer lawyers are members of the LGBTQ+ community and have been trained on legal issues that most commonly affect the community, served 227 clients in 2021, completed 15 second-parent adoptions, and provided 640 volunteer hours from attorneys throughout Washington.
The Justice C. Z. Smith Excellence in Diversity Award is named in honor of the late Justice Charles Z. Smith, the first African American to serve on the Washington Supreme Court. This award goes to a lawyer, law firm, or law-related group that has made a significant contribution to diversity in the legal profession.
The Lifetime Service Award is a special award given for a lifetime of service to the legal community and the public.
Lifetime Service Award
Gail R. Smith
As summed up by his nominators, “For 46 years, Gail R. Smith has been a quietly powerful conscience of the WSBA.”
A quick review of his previous professional acknowledgments more than supports a lifetime achievement award: the 2015 WSBA Local Hero Award, 2008 WSBA Pro Bono Award, 2003 Skagit County Bar Association Professionalism Award, 2003 and 2006 Skagit County Volunteer Lawyer Program Access to Justice Award, and 2019 Northwest Justice Project Power of Community Award.
While in law school at the University of Washington in 1976, Smith’s passion for equal justice was nurtured by his work at a Law Students’ Civil Rights Research Council Project to combat mortgage redlining in Seattle’s central area. After graduation, Smith began his career working with the Puyallup Tribe, then at the Seattle Indian Center Legal Services Program. He has mentored new and experienced attorneys, passing on the lessons he learned as a young lawyer.
Smith and his law partner encouraged other lawyers around Skagit County to devote time to pro bono service, an effort that eventually turned into the Skagit Volunteer Lawyer Program (later Skagit Legal Aid). Smith has pushed to expand services and help create more legal clinics for marginalized communities in relatively isolated parts of the state.
Smith is well-known in the legal community and has worked on many programs dedicated to pro bono services such as the WSBA Legal Aid Committee, WSBA Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee, Washington Pro Bono Council (since its founding in 2014), and Campaign for Equal Justice.
“From the beginning to the most recent stages of Smith’s career, he continues to serve clients directly, never hesitating to accept as clients those with the greatest challenges,” his nominators said. “Long after most attorneys later in their careers stepped away from those challenges, he sees it as an honor to provide direct service.”
Angelo Petruss Award for Lawyers in Government Service
U.S. Naval officer, lawyer, advocate—even children’s book author. These terms only begin to describe Ann Lundwall. Put more simply, according to those who nominated her, Lundwall is “an unsung hero and a treasure to the United States military and the Washington legal profession.”
A third-generation member of her family to serve in the United States Navy, Lundwall has served multiple stints of active duty. After obtaining her commission with the JAG Corps, in 2000 Lundwall was assigned to Trial Service Office Southeast where she prosecuted criminal offenses, including sexual assault and violence against children. From there she reported to the USS JOHN C. STENNIS as the assist command judge advocate and ship’s discipline officer before going to work as a prosecutor for Island and Clallam Counties through the Naval Reserve Law Program, where she spent a decade prosecuting complex violent crime and became specially designated as the expert on sexual assault and crimes against children.
Lundwall’s work in fighting for survivors of sexual assault has been nothing short of prolific. Her nominators describe her as the “Navy’s premier expert on sexual assault.” In 2013, Lundwall was hand-picked to be a founding member of the Navy JAG Corps Victim Legal Counsel Program and in the years since has fought for more than 200 survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Amid rising scrutiny of sexual assault within the military, Lundwall was later picked to work in the Naval District Washington and represent survivors of sexual assault in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland. Notably, Lundwall wrote the children’s book, When Children Testify at Courts-Martial, to help make child survivors more comfortable with the court martial process, the roles of judges and prosecutors, and other aspects of being in court.
Lundwall is originally from Washington and graduated cum laude from both Gonzaga University and the University of Florida School of Law.
The Angelo Petruss Award for Lawyers in Government Service is 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. It is given to a lawyer in government service who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession, the justice system, and the public.
The Norm Maleng Leadership Award is given jointly by the WSBA and the Access to Justice Board, in honor of the late King County Prosecutor 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.
Norm Maleng Leadership Award
Presented jointly with the Access to Justice Board
There is perhaps no better measure of leadership than the voices of those they lead. For Riddhi Mukhopadhyay, director of the Sexual Violence Law Center (SVLC), testaments to her leadership are plentiful.
“I am one of the attorneys who works for SVLC under Riddhi’s leadership, and I would call that my privilege,” said one of her nominators.
“Riddhi has created a space for me to feel inspired to introduce new methods of organization and has empowered me in the work I do,” said another.
And yet another pointed out that Mukhopadhyay “never backs down from injustice, wherever it may be found, even when doing so may be uncomfortable or unpopular. She is also one of the most humble leaders in the fight for justice for survivors/victims as she does not seek notoriety for her advocacy.”
As director of SVLC—the only statewide holistic civil legal aid provider exclusively protecting the privacy, safety, and civil rights of survivors of sexual violence—Mukhopadhyay centers work on survivors, not by trying to be their voice, but by amplifying their voices inside and outside of the courtroom. She has established herself as a leader who fights for meaningful access to the legal system and the rights of sexual assault survivors.
In addition to her position with SVLC, Mukhopadhyay is an adjunct professor at the University of Washington School of Law, adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law, and co-director of the Shared Leadership Team at Legal Voice. She has presented dozens of trainings and educational seminars on topics including representing survivors and minor victims, consensual language in sexual assault litigation, and advocating for criminalized survivors of violence. In 2021, she was a Golden Tennis Shoe Awardee, recognized by Sen. Patty Murray for her work in support of survivors of sexual violence in Washington during the pandemic.
Mukhopadhyay previously worked with Sexual Violence Legal Services, YMCA; the Department of Assigned Counsel; the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project; SafePlace; Fine by Me; and Amar Ghor. She graduated with a B.A. from Duke University and earned her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law.
Outstanding Judge Award
Judge Anita Crawford-Willis
On and off the bench, Judge Anita Crawford-Willis is known for her compassion, drive, and most of all for being a role model to those lucky enough to have crossed paths with her.
Since 2017, Judge Crawford-Willis has sat on the Seattle Municipal Court where she has been vital to programs that expand the court’s resource center to provide community services to those who need it most.
“Judge Crawford-Willis is deeply committed to bringing about gender and racial equity and justice for all and has been persistent in her call to all of us that we must educate ourselves and be allies in this critically important work,” said one of her nominators.
Outside of her judicial role, for more than 25 years Judge Crawford-Willis has served in volunteer leadership roles. She is a member of the Washington Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission and is involved in its education committee, which plans gender-related topics for judicial conferences, and serves as the commission’s liaison to the District & Municipal Court Judges’ Association.
Originally from Seattle, Judge Crawford-Willis grew up in the city’s Central District to parents who were both proud members of the Machinists’ Union IAM 751 and worked the Boeing production line for over three decades. As a double alumna graduate from Seattle University—both for her undergrad and law degree—Judge Crawford-Willis is known within the law school as a dedicated alumni leader and mentor for students—for example, helping to lead the way for initiatives such as scholarships for Black undergraduate and law students. According to one of her nominators, “There is literally a ‘Judge Crawford-Willis pipeline’ operating in our community, from high school, to college, to law school.”
The Outstanding Judge Award is presented for outstanding service to the bench and for special contribution to the legal profession at any level of the court.
The Pro Bono and Public Service Award for an Individual is presented to an individual, a lawyer, or other legal professional for outstanding cumulative efforts in providing pro bono services or giving back in meaningful ways to the public, the community, or the legal profession.
Pro Bono and Public Service Award (Individual)
William E. L. Hayden
With praise coming from over a dozen individuals representing a wide range of organizations, there can be little doubt that William E. L. Hayden has left an indelible mark on those who know him.
According to those many enthusiastic colleagues, Hayden is most deserving of the APEX Pro Bono and Public Service Award for such actions as successfully representing a veteran in applying for Combat-Related Special Compensation, recruiting other lawyers from his company to take on pro bono clients for the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), consistently being one of Microsoft’s top pro bono contributors, co-leading Microsoft Legal’s Military Veterans Employee Network, and providing his expertise and mentorship to multiple nonprofits.
As a 21-year active and reserve member of the United States Navy, Hayden is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, Norwich University, University of Rhode Island, and Suffolk University Law School. For more than two decades he has worked in legal departments for both General Electric and Microsoft. In addition to his full-time role and hundreds of hours of personal pro bono work and advocacy, Hayden has served on the Board of Fellows for Norwich University Cybersecurity, Data Science, and Computing; the NVLSP Board of Directors; and as Washington state legislative liaison to the Association of the U.S. Navy. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Desert Storm for the Navy and was a surface warfare officer on active duty and reserves for two decades.
“It is an honor to be Bill’s teammate,” said one nominator. “He models the caring and charitable values we all admire through his pro-bono engagements.”
Pro Bono and Public Service Award (Group)
Sexual Violence Law Center
As one of the nominators for this award enthusiastically said, “The Sexual Violence Law Center (SVLC) is the epitome of what civil legal aid in Washington should be. Their holistic approach to providing pro bono legal services to survivors of gender-based violence is unique in our state and is a model for what we should be doing. … From trial level representation in protection orders to appeals and legislative change, SVLC is there to amplify survivors’ voices, protect survivor dignity, seek survivor justice and a world without sexual violence.”
The organization, which is led by APEX Norm Maleng Leadership Award winner Riddhi Mukhopadhyay, is a leader in the civil legal aid field. As a statewide legal aid organization focused on survivors, it recognizes the prevalence of gender-based violence in communities and institutions, as well as the devastating impact it has on survivors and their loved ones.
Founded in 2019, the SVLC has set its goals toward breaking and reshaping the legal system that has upheld rape culture, victim blaming, and gender-based violence. It provides holistic legal services that aim to address all of a survivor’s legal needs that have arisen from sexual violence. This involves not only direct legal services, but also broader initiatives to create broader change in communities and institutions.
The SVLC helps educate the public and professionals in how to support survivors and identify new ways to provide such support. The organization provides frequent trainings at the state and national level—educating attorneys, advocates, law enforcement, survivors, judicial officers, and others—on topics such as: understanding sexual violence and surviving, Washington protection orders, privacy rights of crime victims in Washington, representing minor victims of sexual violence, presenting sexual abuse in child custody cases, trauma-informed advocacy, advocating for high-needs clients, secondary trauma in the workplace, domestic violence and financial abuse, immigrant survivors, and holistic legal representation of survivors.
The Pro Bono and Public Service Award for a Group is presented to a law firm, organization, or project team for outstanding cumulative efforts in providing pro bono services or giving back in meaningful ways to the public, the community, or the legal profession.
Sally Savage led the Bar Foundation’s renaissance and was a catalyst for its refocused mission to sustain the WSBA’s effort to advance justice and diversity. Her clarity, expertise, and vision helped establish a path for enduring support of a strong bar association that provides statewide leadership on matters of profound importance to the profession and the citizenry. Sally’s spirit of generosity and leadership continue to inspire all who recognize the transformative potential of philanthropy. Philanthropy means “love of humanity” and focuses on private initiatives for the public good, focusing on quality of life. Sally Savage emulated this spirit of philanthropy in her life, and it is in her memory that we continue to honor donors, volunteers, and friends of the Washington State Bar Foundation who embody Sally’s spirit.
Sally P. Savage Leadership in Philanthropy Award
Presented jointly with the Washington State Bar Foundation
When Amanda DuBois became disillusioned by endemic problems she saw in the carceral system, she did more than simply find a job to try and make a difference; she created one. Now in its seventh year of operation, DuBois’ Civil Survival Project has positively impacted the lives of countless formerly incarcerated individuals and brought about legislative reform.
DuBois’ journey and that of the Civil Survival Project began when DuBois visited prisons during her work as a family law attorney. She became aware of the lack of tools that incarcerated people have to increase their odds of successful reintegration into society and began dedicating herself to bringing those tools to incarcerated people and empowering them to exit the system, while simultaneously working toward reforming and repairing the broken systems which lead to cycles of incarceration.
In addition to writing manuals addressing common legal issues in layperson’s terms, DuBois created workshops to teach formerly incarcerated people how the legislature works and how to tell their stories in order to educate legislators about the negative impacts of the laws they had passed.
In 2021, the Civil Survival Project moved forward the Voting Rights Restoration Bill in Washington, which in 2022 resulted in an additional 25,000 Washingtonians being allowed to register to vote. The project also helped pass House Bill 1411, which provides more opportunity for people with criminal records to work as caregivers without being automatically disqualified based on their conviction type. The Civil Survival Project built and supported several coalitions including the Housing Justice Coalition, which introduced a bill to stop rental housing discrimination and prevent landlords from asking about criminal history on rental applications. And DuBois helped create the Seattle University School of Law Full Circle Scholarship, which helps students whose lives have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system.
DuBois graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a B.S. in nursing in 1978 and from the University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University) School of Law in 1986. Her career has included work as a nurse, personal injury litigator, and family law attorney in her firm, DuBois Cary.
The Professionalism Award is awarded to a WSBA member who exemplifies the spirit of professionalism in the practice of law, as defined in the WSBA’s Creed of Professionalism.
Mark J. Fucile
Anyone familiar with WSBA publications like Washington State Bar News and NWSidebar is undoubtedly familiar with the prolific work of Mark Fucile as an author. And one could not be blamed for wondering how Fucile juggles so many professional responsibilities.
In addition to being a cofounder of the firm Fucile & Reising LLP and an adjunct instructor of legal ethics for the University of Oregon School of Law, Fucile is the regular columnist for Bar News; Multnomah Lawyer (Ethics Focus); and a frequent contributor to NWSidebar, Oregon State Bar Bulletin, and Idaho State Bar Advocate. He is the editor-in-chief of the WSBA’s Washington Legal Ethics Deskbook and a co-author of the WSBA’s The Law of Lawyering in Washington and the OSB’s Ethical Oregon Lawyer. In total, Fucile’s body of work on legal ethics, law firm risk management, and attorney-client privilege includes more than 250 articles and book chapters.
His impact in educating the legal community on legal ethics is almost too far-reaching to detail. On top of his enormous body of written work, Fucile has presented to more than a dozen organizations including the American Bar Association, American Law Institute, and Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.
Fucile is a member of the American Bar Association and is admitted to practice in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and the District of Columbia. He has served as chair of the WSBA Committee on Professional Ethics and the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee and is a current member of the Oregon State Bar Legal Ethics Committee and the Idaho State Bar Professionalism and Ethics Section.
He was a captain in the United States Marine Corps and a graduate of the Platoon Leaders Class College Program. Prior to his military service, Fucile graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, and Lewis & Clark College.