Law school honors outstanding alumni

(April 27, 2010) Three outstanding graduates of Seattle University School of Law were honored for their accomplishments and contributions at an Alumni Awards Recognition as part of Alumni Weekend.

This year's recipients were:

  • The Honorable Deborah Fleck '76, Distinguished Law Graduate Award
  • The Honorable Anita Crawford-Willis '86, Alumni Service Award
  • Brian Considine '07, Recent Graduate Award

The Honorable Deborah Fleck '76
Distinguished Law Graduate Award

Established to honor an alumna/us whose career achievements embody the mission, principles, and goals of Seattle University School of Law as it emphasizes academic excellence and education for justice. Awardees are graduates who have distinguished themselves in their field, earned high respect among their colleagues and the general community, and whose impact is realized on a local, national or global level.

Distinguished Alumna Judge Deborah Fleck, center, with Law Alumni Board President Linda Strout '79, left, and Alumni Relations Director Grace Greenwich. Photos by Jennifer Richard.

Distinguished Alumna Judge Deborah Fleck, center, with Law Alumni Board President Linda Strout '79, left, and Alumni Relations Director Grace Greenwich. Photos by Jennifer Richard.

The Honorable Deborah Fleck has been a King County Superior Court judge since 1992, serving as chief judge of the Regional Justice Center and in the criminal, civil, and juvenile departments. In addition to being a frequent speaker, panelist, and author in local news and legal publications, Judge Fleck is very active with several legal and community organizations. She sits on the Board for Judicial Administration, works with We the People, a civics program run by the Center for Civic Education and chairs the Legislative Committee of the Superior Court Judges' Association. Judge Fleck also has served on the Access to Justice Community Advisory Board of Seattle University School of Law.

She is a member of the Washington State Supreme Court's Minority and Justice Commission and chairs its Workforce Diversity subcommittee. In addition, Judge Fleck served as co-chair of the Washington State Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) with former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander from 2003-2005 and co-chairs its Justice in Jeopardy Implementation Committee with Chief Justice Barbara Madsen. She has also served on its Public Trust and Confidence Committee, which helps judges provide information to the public about the justice system and chaired the BJA Long-Range Planning Committee.

Judge Fleck's most significant contribution to Washington's legal system came as president of the Superior Court Judges' Association, where she was instrumental in establishing the Trial Court Funding Task Force through the BJA to promote adequate and stable funding for Washington's trial courts. Legislation proposed by the task force - which has been characterized by Justice Alexander as the most significant reform effort of the judicial branch since statehood - received bipartisan and near unanimous support in the Legislature. Lawmakers agreed to its core principles: accepting new fiscal responsibility for trial court operations, indigent defense, and parents' representation in dependency cases, and increasing support for civil legal aid, while assuring that existing local government funding not be decreased.

Judge Fleck has received many honors for her dedication to the legal community throughout her storied career. In 1999, she was named Jurist of the Year by the WSBA's Family Law Section, and in 2000, the State Trial Lawyers Association named her Judge of the Year. She received the Vanguard Award from King County Washington Women Lawyers in 2004 and she was named the 2005 recipient of the King County Bar Association's President's Award and the 2005 recipient of the Washington State Bar Association's Outstanding Judge Award. Last year, she received the Washington State Bar Association's highest honor, the Award of Merit, for her leadership of the Justice in Jeopardy Initiative, which is advocating for adequate funding for Washington state courts and promoting access to justice for all.

The Honorable Anita Crawford-Willis '86
Alumni Service Award

Established to honor a respected and distinguished graduate of the law school, who has demonstrated exemplary service and a continuing commitment to the law school while also embodying the school's dedication to academic excellence and education for justice. Awardees are graduates who have made significant and substantive contributions to the advancement of the law school, the development of the law school community, and the school's reputation.

The Honorable Anita Crawford-Willis has been a respected member of the Seattle University and legal communities for more than 20 years. Her spirit of public service coupled with her commitment to inspire young people to pursue their scholastic dreams makes her a highly sought mentor. Judge Crawford-Willis is one of the most devoted alumni of the law school and the university.

Anita Crawford-Willis, holding a photo of her parents.

Anita Crawford-Willis, holding a photo of her parents.

Judge Crawford-Willis gives generously of her time to current law students and attends, so it seems, nearly every law school function. She remains devoted to the Black Law Student Association (BLSA), a group she belonged to as a student. In 2008, Judge Crawford-Willis received the BLSA Alumni Award for her commitment to the organization and her dedicated public service.

Judge Crawford-Willis was a member of the law school's Board of Governors for many years, and has returned in its restructured form to the Law Alumni Board, currently serving the first of a three-year term. Other law school programs she is active with include Alumni Ambassadors, Informational Interview, and the Adolf A. Berle Center on Corporations, Law and Society. She also serves as a coach and supporter of moot court competitions, traveling with her team across the country when necessary. Judge Crawford-Willis serves on the University Board of Regents is this right? and was former president of the Seattle University Alumni Board of Governors. She is truly a university citizen.

She is the Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge at the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings in their Seattle Office, responsible for day-to-day operations, including supervising 25 full-time judges, 16 pro-tem judges and 20 support staff. Judge Crawford-Willis also supervises the extern program and coordinates the Take Our Daughters to Work Day. In addition she serves as a pro-tem judge for Seattle Municipal Court and King County District Court.

Brian Considine '07
Recent Graduate Award

Established to recognize an individual who graduated within the past 10 years, who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment and support to the development of an engaged and vibrant SU community.

Brian Considine accepts his award from Alumni Relations Director Grace Greenwich, left, and Melissa Chin.

Brian Considine accepts his award from Alumni Relations Director Grace Greenwich, left, and Melissa Chin.

Brian, chair of the Recent Alumni Committee (RAC) at SU School of Law, is the first recipient of the Recent Graduate Award. As a student, he authored an article in the Prolific Reporter calling for a more robust alumni program. Upon graduating, Brian actively engaged with the Office of Alumni Relations, helping to develop an online community to facilitate networking interaction among alumni. Since becoming chair of the RAC last year, he has overseen five committees that develop programs targeted to address the needs of recent graduates, including a Job Strategies Program, an alumni networking program, and the Leadership Seminar during Alumni Weekend. Brian is a tireless advocate on behalf of the alumni community, and his commitment to the advancement of SU Law is exceptional.

Brian practices in the area of government, civil litigation and administrative law as an Assistant Attorney General for Washington State. He interned in the Governor's Executive Policy Office and served as a 2008 Session Counsel for the Human Services, Early Learning, and Commerce and Labor Committees. Brian is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division.