School of Law Red Mass

Annual law school tradition honors Justice Mary Fairhurst

Written by Katherine Hedland Hansen
Photography by Jennifer Richard
October 18, 2011

Seattle University School of Law 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 on Oct. 6. The celebration continued at the law school’s Sullivan Hall.

Dean Mark C. Niles 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, dedication on the bench and commitment in working to serve others. For the past two years Fairhurst has battled cancer without ever missing a day of work at the court.

A leader in the legal profession, Justice Fairhust 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. Additionally, she served on the Bar Board of Governors representing the Third Congressional District and as President of Washington Women Lawyers. Throughout her career, she 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 communities are positively impacted by this combined support.

Justice Mary Fairhurst, right, was honored at the School of Law Red Mass.
President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and Archbishop Peter Sartain greet the Washington State Supreme Court justices at Red Mass.