Washington Women Lawyers

WWL is Washington's largest organization dedicated to furthering the full integration of women in the legal profession and promoting equal rights and opportunities for women. Through the combined resources of a statewide organization and a network of local chapters, Washington Women Lawyers offers programming and support for women lawyers throughout the state.

Statement from WWL President

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Justice Mary Fairhurst

Washington Women Lawyers mourns the loss of Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst (retired). While we grieve this tragic loss, we also seek to channel her enduring optimism in celebrating a life and legacy that has made a positive difference in so many ways. Chief Justice Fairhurst, or "Mary" as she insisted people call her, believed strongly in miracles and--through force of will--made many happen during her life and career.

Mary was a past president of Washington Women Lawyers, a dedicated public servant, the author of landmark opinions such as State v. Gregory, and a resolute champion for women and women lawyers throughout her career.

Mary often told the story of two friends, walking on a beach covered in starfish. One friend starts throwing the starfish back into the sea, and the other asks, “Why are you doing that? You can’t make a difference to all of them.” The other friend pauses after throwing another starfish back in and says, “I made a difference to that one!” Mary lived up to this story in all aspects of her life, making a positive difference to all she encountered.

In 2019, in recognition of her continuing contributions to WWL and to women lawyers across the State, the Board voted unanimously to rename the organization's Passing the Torch Award in her honor. The Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst Passing the Torch Award goes to an individual who has gone above and beyond with regard to mentoring women lawyers and “passing the torch” to others in a way that supports the WWL mission of furthering the full integration of women in the legal profession, promoting equal rights and opportunities for women, and preventing discrimination against them. These traits embody Mary and her legacy.

Her generous and indomitable spirit will remain an inspiration to generations of women lawyers in our State. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues as we celebrate an irreplaceable leader and friend.


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Washington Women Lawyers - PO Box 46107 - Seattle, WA  98146; wwl@wwl.org

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