Beyond the Bar Number > Matthew Malouf

Matthew Malouf

Bar Number: 51674

I have been an attorney in Washington for almost 7 years after first practicing in California. I work in-house at Amazon and support environmental, health, and safety programs in corporate spaces with a focus on Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. 

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If you could change one thing about
the legal system, what would you change? 

I would substantially increase the ranks of public legal professionals by hiring more judges, court clerks, public defenders, prosecutors, and court reporters. Justice delayed is justice denied, and that delay is not due to a lack of hard work or diligence by current personnel but is instead due to overburdening the system. The failure to adequately staff our courts and administrative adjudicative bodies has real and meaningful impacts, particularly on the groups who are least able to absorb those impacts. For example, the WSBA issued an advisory notice on May 25, 2021, that found that “many [public defenders] have felony caseloads of over 100 open felonies” and that the resulting delay means that public defenders “struggle to represent new clients and meet their obligations for existing clients.” Those struggles mean delayed justice for victims of crime, severe disruption for potentially innocent people, and a furthering of the gap between the quality of service received by those who can afford to pay for private criminal defense and those who cannot. 

How do you define success as a lawyer?

The most successful lawyer is the one with the happiest clients. While lawyers cannot make promises about outcomes, lawyers can make a promise to provide good service by demonstrating a commitment to their client’s goals, setting and meeting expectations about the quality of legal services, and developing a relationship with opposing counsel that serves their client’s interest rather than the lawyer’s pride. Assuming “success” means something more than pecuniary gain, I think of a “successful” lawyer as one whose confidence and position is earned through kindness and honesty rather than hostility and aggressiveness. 

What is your best piece of advice for someone who’s just entered law school?

Use law school as an opportunity to explore what kind of law you want to practice and what kind of lawyer you want to be. The term “lawyer” is as undifferentiated as a “tradesperson.” There are tax litigators and underwater welders, in-house securities attorneys and bricklayers, estate planners and cabinet makers. Law school gives students an opportunity to be surrounded by a diverse group of smart and driven people who have their own interests and perspectives. Those interests and perspectives can inform your decision about what sort of legal issues interest you, what “side” you want to be on, and ultimately what type of lawyer you want to be.   


If you had to give a 10-minute presentation on one topic other than the law, what would it be and why? On the dispute that led to the split of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Very interesting!

What is one thing your colleagues may not know about you? I’m a decent skateboarder.

If you could go back in time, where/when would you go? To the age of the dinosaurs. To see such a distinct natural world and a true night sky would be amazing.

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Everything bagel.

What is your favorite smell? Vanilla.

What is your favorite word? Nudnik. 

What is your favorite podcast? You’re Wrong About.

What book have you read more than once? War and Peace. 

What is the best fictional representation (TV, movie, book) of a lawyer? My Cousin Vinny.

What is your best random fact that you would share with others at a party? The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.

What did you think was cool when you were younger that makes you cringe to think about now? MTV Spring Break.

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