Each year the Washington Young Lawyers Committee (WYLC) honors a group of deserving attorneys with its Public Service and Leadership Award. This award recognizes new and young lawyers that embody the WYLC’s and WSBA’s commitment to advancing the profession, service, and community involvement.
We are proud to announce the 2016 WYLC Public Service and Leadership Award recipients and share their reasons for why leadership and service is important. Please join us in congratulating them on a job well done.
Kim-Khanh T. Van, Law office of Kim-Khanh T. Van, PLLC, Renton
“Service and leadership are important to me because it is an opportunity for me to give back to our communities and grow in my faith and career… I established KKV LAW/ Law Office of Kim-Khanh T. Van, PLLC, which has a vision to making law accessible to our communities. I try to create opportunities for myself and team members to making law accessible to our communities… [by] collaborat[ing] with non-profit organizations providing pro bono legal consultations and full-on representations to community members.”
Elizabeth Hendren, RISE Project attorney, Northwest Justice Project, Seattle
“For a legal system to be just, it has to be accessible to everyone and it has to treat everyone fairly. An incredible amount of work has been done in Washington to improve access and fairness in our courts, and I am so thankful to everyone who has blazed the trails of racial justice, access to justice, and reproductive justice in this state… I went to law school to be part of this work and I firmly believe that those of us who have been privileged enough to have been able to obtain a legal education have a duty to dedicate our time to working for justice.”
Emily Arneson, Witherspoon Kelley, Spokane
“Service and leadership are critical in the practice of law, but they aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, they’re really two sides of the same coin. I believe the most effective form of leadership is through service because when a person lives his or her life in furtherance of benefiting other people, others will naturally follow… Setting an example is crucial. Those who are fortunate to practice law find themselves in a position of exerting legal and political power. When an attorney voices an opinion, people listen. We therefore have an obligation to use our voice in service of others, particularly those who have no voice.”
Michael R. Addams, Addams & Leavitt, PLLC, Spokane
“I enlisted in the United States Air Force in the wake of 9/11 when I felt a strong desire to serve my country… Now, after 14 years of service, I continue to serve as an enlisted member of the Washington Air National Guard. As a first sergeant, I am responsible for the morale, welfare, and good order of my squadron. I still enjoy putting on the uniform and serving the most valuable asset of the U.S. Air Force: the enlisted airmen and their families. It is important as attorneys to find opportunities to serve our local communities. We are often in a position where people come to us for help, and it makes us aware of problems affecting those around us… We can donate just a little bit of our time, and make a huge impact in someone’s life. When we see a problem, we have a unique skill set that allows us to make a difference in the legal system and in our community in general.”
Rachel L. Bryant, DV staff attorney, Eastside Legal Assistance Program, Bellevue
“Attorneys’ practice of service and leadership in the legal community is vital and has a twofold effect because their actions influence others in the profession and impact society. Although sometimes thought to be different, I see service and leadership as being one in the same. Not every person has to be in a position of authority to be a leader and not every person has to volunteer to participate in public service. I believe one’s commitment to service and leadership are shown through their actions towards others. To me, this means providing services to those that are most at risk, and in providing that service, treating those individuals with such dignity and respect that they feel empowered.”
Nominate a young attorney
Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 WYLC Public Service and Leadership Award. If you know a deserving individual, nominate them before the Friday, May 5, deadline. Recipients receive public acknowledgment for their efforts, and also are eligible to attend one WSBA-CLE program of up to six credits for use within one year of receiving the award. Find full details about the award and application process.