Click here to view our video interview of Jason Rittereiser.
June 2017 Bar Bulletin
By Kelli Currie
Jason Rittereiser, the 2017 recipient of the KCBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, notes that he saw from an early age how the law could be used to protect the community and help people. For as long as he can remember, he always thought that he would want to be a lawyer.
Rittereiser was born and raised in Ellensburg, where his father served as police chief and his mother served on the city council. He studied economics and political science at the University of Washington and interned at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office throughout his undergraduate years. He reflects on his time at the prosecutor’s office fondly and says that his internship put him into an office environment where he had the opportunity to “witness talented lawyers doing really good work.”
Following his graduation from the University of Washington, Rittereiser worked for U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, where he enjoyed crafting law to help support people on a broader scale. Rittereiser’s time working for Larsen confirmed for him that he was on the right path and he continued to pursue a career as an attorney.
Following Rittereiser’s graduation from DePaul University College of Law in 2010, his hard work in practical courses and moot court helped him find his way back to the prosecutor’s office, where he was eager to get back into public service. Since then, Rittereiser has transitioned to private practice at HKM Employment Attorneys, where his colleagues recognize him as “inspiring” and having an “exceptional work ethic.” He has also been recognized as a Super Lawyers® Rising Star this year.
Beyond his impressive credentials, Rittereiser has made significant contributions to his community. While working as a law clerk for the Center for Justice in Capital Cases, he grew to appreciate the very complex policy objectives surrounding capital cases and has leveraged his unique experience as a former prosecutor to push for death penalty reform. He has collaborated with local leaders, including Attorney General Bob Ferguson, to reform capital punishment in Washington and abolish the death penalty.
Additionally, Rittereiser has joined with other former prosecutors and dedicated attorneys to represent child victims of sexual assault to ensure their privacy throughout the State’s criminal prosecution of their assailants. His work with Attorneys Protecting Privacy fills a unique gap in criminal law where child victims are vulnerable to subpoenas seeking their medical, psychological and educational records during the prosecution of their assailants. Because the State does not have standing to respond to these subpoenas on behalf of the child victims, Rittereiser and his colleagues provide their pro bono services to represent these children and protect their privacy.
Looking ahead, Rittereiser was recently named to Gov. Jay Inslee’s State Advisory Council on Homelessness. He is passionate about addressing the issue of homelessness in Washington and is looking forward to the council’s work in making policy recommendations to the governor on ways to enhance the State’s ability to respond to the needs of people who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
Kelli Rodriguez Currie is an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University and is vice chair — and soon-to-be chair — of the KCBA YLD Board of Trustees. Currie would like to express her thanks to the members of the 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer Committee for their time and efforts in selecting this year’s award recipient.