Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Phillip Ginsberg: 1939-2018

October 2018 Bar Bulletin

By Judge Carol Schapira (ret.) and Ron Ward

Long-time Seattle attorney Phillip Ginsberg, born in New York City on May 1, 1939, to Benedict and Adele Ginsberg, died September 15.

After graduating from Princeton and completing his law studies at Harvard, Mr. Ginsberg moved to Chicago to work at Legal Aid and teach at the University of Chicago. In 1970, he moved to Seattle to run the felony division of the Public Defender office before moving into private practice. Mr. Ginsberg was always a champion for civil rights. He was the long-time co-chair of the King County Bar Association’s MLK Luncheon and won the 2013 Washington State Bar Association Professionalism Award. As a lawyer, he represented marginalized people, civil rights activists, people seeking asylum, and so many others fighting for a more just world.

He helped to develop the Defender Association into one of the top public defender organizations in the country and later served on its board. He spearheaded the successful effort to make the International District Rotary Club the first club in the world to include women. In recent years, he organized a conference dedicated to understanding and contesting Islamophobia, and he developed interfaith coalitions committed to cultivating tolerance and celebrating diversity. He worked to try to stop the genocide in Darfur. He was a shining example of engaged citizenship for his family and community.

Mr. Ginsberg had a love of learning and shared that love with his family and the world. He delighted in conversation and was a great listener. He was a life-long tennis player, Mariners fan, and cat and dog lover.

He made great use of Seward Park during his decades in south Seattle, enjoying jogging around the loop and epic battles on its tennis courts. He also had a love of music and singing, especially “Rock of Ages” and “Danny Boy.” He traveled internationally with family throughout his life. He was a loyal friend, and his wit and good humor improved the lives of everyone who knew him.

Mr. Ginsberg was a loving father to Clare Megathlin (Mark), Raphael Ginsberg (Emily Coward), Alicia Ginsberg and Gina Ginsberg; a devoted grandfather to Benjamin Megathlin, Garret Megathlin, Aidan Megathlin, Sydney Ginsberg and Emil Ginsberg; and loving sibling to Judith Ginsberg (Paul LeClerc).

A memorial service was held on September 23 at the Arthur Wright Chapel at Butterworth Funeral Home. Remembrance donations to the ACLU of Washington are welcome.

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