WSBA Chief Disciplinary Counsel Receives National Bar Counsel Award

Lady Justice

WSBA Chief Disciplinary Counsel Doug Ende is an eclectic personality on top of being a meticulous and measured legal ethics professional. This certainly was not lost on the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), which presented Ende with the 2020 NOBC President’s Award virtually on July 30.

The following is the announcement letter sent by NOBC President Wendy Muchman—who notes that she had an excellent editor, Ende himself—which in addition to heaping praise on the type of person who will squirm at the thought of receiving such praise, perfectly encapsulates Ende, personally and professionally.

Doug Ende: Recipient of NOBC 2019-2020 President’s Award

Dear NOBC Colleagues:

Doug Ende

You know Doug Ende, but you may not know everything he has quietly done for the National Organization of Bar Counsel for many years. Doug is a big thinker who strives to make the world a better place; we benefit immeasurably from his wisdom and guidance.  While most people are process or outcome driven, detail or big-picture types, Doug Ende is the full complement. He will graciously edit to perfection every last detail of your work product and then push you to think outside the box on a big issue of organizational policy. We are fortunate indeed to have him in our midst. 

This is Doug’s fourth term on the NOBC Board, where he has served with dedication. He is currently NOBC’s Secretary and served previously as an At-Large Board Member. A welcome presence at our Program Committee meetings, he has moderated or spoken at innumerable NOBC conferences and developed ideas for countless other sessions, as willing to encourage someone else to shine as to occupy the spotlight himself. Doug’s other activities with NOBC include: Board Liaison to the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Organizer of the NOBC Chiefs Retreat; Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Procedural Rules for Lawyer Regulators; Chair of the Ad Hoc Policy Advisory Committee; Member of the NOBC Committee on ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions; Board Liaison to the Webinar Committee; Board Liaison to numerous ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Committees; and Liaison to the APRL Future of Lawyering Committee.

Doug’s influence extends to spheres outside of NOBC as well. His wisdom is widely known and respected. Doug’s support for the Washington State Bar Association’s Lawyer Assistance Program was recognized in 2009 when he received the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs Meritorious Service Award. He has served on more committees, boards and CLE faculties nationwide and in Washington state than he would allow me to recount. Most recently, he received a coveted appointment as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  

Doug’s professional career is varied and exceptional. He is currently the chief disciplinary counsel at the Washington State Bar Association, where he has worked since 1998.  His early legal career included private practice with a large firm and a small firm, work as an appellate defender, and a judicial clerkship at the Washington Court of Appeals. For several years, he taught at the University of Washington School of Law where, not surprisingly, in 1990-91 he was awarded the honor of Professor of the Year.

As proof that he really is a Renaissance man, in 2003 his poetry was featured aboard King County Metro Transit buses. But he doesn’t just write poetry. He has authored or co-authored several volumes of Thomson-West’s Washington Practice series, including four volumes on civil procedure. 

With his contagious laugh and magnificent sense of humor, Doug has become a fixture at NOBC events, and time spent with him is always a pleasure. In his standard CLE bio, he insists on mentioning never having run a marathon or watched an episode of Downton Abbey. He is an avid dog hater, claims to have perfected the recipe for the Rye & Ginger cocktail, and considers himself a callous urban sophisticate. Even so, I was surprised to learn that he does not enjoy hiking, although he occasionally acquiesces to a hike (which he calls a “forced march”) at the behest of his amazing and supportive partner, Ana Deboo. Among other things, Doug and Ana share a love of books and fine cuisine. He is the proud father of two sons, Duncan and Ezra.

If you know Doug, it won’t surprise you to learn that when I told him that he was my selection for this year’s NOBC President’s Award, he asked whether there were criteria and if he met them. In fact, after diligent investigation, I have determined that there are no—and have never been any—written criteria for this award. As President, it is apparently my decision, and my criteria for the recipient of the award are as follows: A lawyer whose achievements serve as examples of NOBC’s organizational values and aspirations for our members; a lawyer who has contributed significantly to NOBC over a period of years; a lawyer who has established and sustained an excellent reputation that extends nationally; a lawyer who has made especially meritorious contributions to the legal profession; and a person of extraordinary character. As I see it, Doug Ende meets all these criteria.  

When I told him about my criteria, he said that it was all well and good, but that the criteria will need to be reduced to writing, edited, officially adopted, and published, after an appropriate period of review, analysis, and comment.

The award will be presented at our virtual meeting on July 30, 2020. Please join me in congratulating Doug and thanking him for his dedication to NOBC and the legal profession!