Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Seattle’s First Houses of Legal Repute

August 2020 Bar Bulletin

By Marc Lampson

Even though the first term of the district court in Seattle began on February 13, 1854, with Chief Justice Edward Lander presiding, it wasn’t until 1864 that an attorney came to permanently reside in Seattle: John J. McGilvra. (Twenty-two years later he became the King County Bar Association’s first president.)

Many of the attorneys who first arrived in Seattle were either federal appointees, new graduates, apprentices, or legal practitioners from the East. They came in part to assist with the heavy federal involvement in establishing the new Washington Territory.

John McGilvra rode into town as the Lincoln-appointed United States attorney for the Washington Territory....

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