MARY E. FAIRHURST
Justice Fairhurst spoke at our 2016 Annual Meeting.
Mary Fairhurst lives a life epitomizing scholarship, leadership, and service at the highest levels.
Elected to the Washington State Supreme Court in 2002, she began serving as a justice in 2003. She started her legal career in the Supreme Court as a judicial clerk, working first with Chief Justice William Williams in 1984 and then with Justice William Goodloe until 1986.
For the intervening sixteen years, Justice Fairhurst served the citizens of the State of Washington in the Washington Attorney General’s Office and specialized in the areas of criminal justice, transportation, revenue, and labor. When she left, she was serving as the Division Chief of the Revenue, Bankruptcy and Collections Division.
Justice Fairhurst also did work not related to her cases that made a difference to Washington citizens. She worked on the constitutional amendment to increase the rights of crime victims while still honoring the constitutional rights of the accused. She organized the first statewide conferences on domestic violence. She planned and facilitated a youth violence summit and organized and moderated conferences dealing with sex offenders in the community.
Justice Fairhurst is a leader in the legal profession. She served as President of the Washington State Bar Association. She was the second woman, first public sector, and youngest attorney to hold this position. She also served on the Bar Board of Governors and as President of Washington Women Lawyers.
Throughout her career, Justice Fairhurst has worked to enhance the opportunities for women and minorities in the profession and to ensure access to justice for low-income individuals and families. In 1998, Washington Women Lawyers gave her its Passing the Torch award and in 1999, LEGALS, P.S. gave her its Allies for Justice award. She has served on the Supreme Court’s Gender and Justice Commission and Access to Justice Board committees. Justice Fairhurst has received many awards, including the Washington Women Lawyers President’s Award and Betty B. Fletcher Judge of the Year Award and the Washington State Bar Association’s Award of Merit.
Justice Fairhurst is also active working for children and youth. She served on the Girl Scouts Board of the Pacific Peaks Council, she supports the YMCA Youth and Government Program, and she helped create the Lawyers and Students Engaged in Resolution Program. She is an ambassador of the iCivics program, is active with the We the People, and serves on the Thurston County Food Bank Board.
In 1984, Justice Fairhurst earned her law degree magna cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science cum laude from Gonzaga University in 1979. She also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Gonzaga University in 2006. She served as president of the Gonzaga Law School Board of Advisors and the Gonzaga Law School Alumni Association. She also was a member of the Gonzaga University Board of Regents.
Justice Fairhurst comes from a large, loving family which places great value on fairness, service, and the dignity of every man, woman, and child. She is dedicated to ensuring that our legal system treats people fairly, equally, and protects everyone’s basic rights.