Leadership Award

Sharon Sakamoto ’84, a lawyer committed to personal and professional involvement and the advancement of women, received the annual Reah Whitehead Public Leadership Award from the School of Law and the Women’s Law Caucus at a breakfast ceremony at the Rainier Club October 26.

Sakamoto is with the firm Aoki Sakamoto Grant. One of the founders of the Asian Bar Association of Washington, she was president for two terms and received the ABAW President’s Award in 2003. She has served on the boards of the Center for Human Services, the Chief Sealth Council, the King County Bar Association and the Board of Governors of Seattle University Law School. She was an appointed commissioner on the City of Seattle Civil Service Commission for nine years and was an arbitrator on call for the New York Stock Exchange. She is on numerous bar committees on diversity, and professionalism in the profession.

Law School Dean Kellye Testy said Sakamoto has been a “tireless volunteer and leader” in efforts to improve the human condition. “She is an outstanding lawyer, a generous and effective leader and an absolutely lovely human being,” Testy said in presenting the award.

Sakamoto said she shared the award with mentors and colleagues who have lifted her up over the years. She encouraged others to find a way to make a difference in their communities.

Reah M. Whitehead was one of Washington’s first women lawyers and became the state’s first woman judge in 1914. She was re-elected six more times before retiring in 1941 after 27 years in office. Known for her courage, humility, determination, and dignity, Judge Whitehead is a fitting namesake for this annual leadership award.

Justice Statue