Red Mass recognizes legal community and honors Justice Mary Fairhurst

(October 13, 2011) Seattle University School of Law's annual Red Mass celebrated the contributions of the legal community, paying a special tribute to State Supreme Court Justice Mary E. Fairhurst for her steadfast commitment to justice.

Archbishop Peter Sartain presided and Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg,S.J., was a concelebrant at Red Mass, where more than 200 judges, lawyers, alumni and friends gathered in the Chapel of St. Ignatius Oct. 6. The celebration continued at the law school's Sullivan Hall.

Dean Mark C. Niles, left, and SU Provost Isiaah Crawford lead the Red Mass procession. Photo by Jennifer Richard.

Dean Mark C. Niles and Director of Alumni Relations Grace Greenwich thanked Justice Fairhurst for her dedication to the law and working for a more just society. Justice Fairhurst's judicial colleagues and others who work with and know her well, spoke about her strength, her dedication to working to serve others and her dedication to the bench. Fairhurst has fought cancer for the past two years without ever missing a day of work at the court.

Speakers included Merisa Heu-Weller, an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine and a former clerk for Justice Fairhurst, who talked about her contributions to the community; Steven Toole,  immediate past-president of Washington State Bar Association (WSBA), who highlighted Justice Fairhurst's contributions to the profession; and Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, who spoke eloquently about her friend and colleague's impact on the bench. Justice Fairhurst's sister, Katy Taylor, reflected on the justice's core values of family and faith. The crowd erupted with cheers as Narda Pierce, general counsel for the Governor's Office, read a proclamation from Gov. Chris Gregoire declaring October 6, 2011, "Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Day."

Justice Fairhurst thanked her family, friends and the law school. She shared the joy she was feeling and reminded everyone to live their lives to the fullest and find ways to give to others.

Justice Mary Fairhurst thanks the crowd after being honored at the Red Mass reception for her work toward a more just society. Photo by Jennifer Richard.

Justice Fairhurst, a leader in the legal profession, was elected in 2002, after serving 16 years with the Attorney General's Office. She served as President of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA). She was the second woman, first public sector, and youngest attorney to hold this position. She also served on the Bar Board of Governors representing the Third Congressional District 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.

Seattle University School of Law has created the Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Public Interest Law Foundation Grant, which will be awarded in spring 2012. The grant works on three levels: students are provided the opportunity to work in public interest law, community organizations are granted a full-time law student intern for the summer, and our communities are positively impacted by this combined support.

Should you wish to contribute to the Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Public Interest Law Foundation grantplease make your online contribution today.

View a photo gallery from the evening.

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