Lem Howell’s Long, Hard Fight in the Latest NWLawyer

A woman reading NWLawyer on a tablet

What makes a legacy?

We all want to leave an impact on this world, but the “how” can be a struggle. How to find a cause, how to develop a skillset, how to create change. When Seattle attorney Lembhard “Lem” Howell took a case in 1996 that had him pushing back against the police version of a fatal shooting involving a young African American man, he likely didn’t know that he would spend two decades of his career representing the families of those whose lives were cut short in similar ways.

Howell has helped mourning families in more than 20 cases fight to not only receive restitution, but implement changes to stop further injustices. In the latest issue of NWLawyer (which in April will return to its former title, Washington State Bar News), Lynn Thompson, a retired Seattle Times reporter and the first executive director of the Washington Defender Association, takes a look at Howell’s impact and the long hard fight to make improvements in police accountability and de-escalation, as well as force changes to King County’s inquest process.

Also in the issue, which publishes during Black History Month, Loren Miller Bar Association President Raina Wagner recounts the history of the association and those who’ve built it, and asks whether a month is enough to acknowledge the many accomplishments of those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised—spoilers, it isn’t.