January 2014 Bar Bulletin
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January 2014 Bar Bulletin

MAMAS Honors Judge Marsha Pechman


The Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (MAMAS) celebrated its Seventh Annual Luncheon on October 16 where it presented its Betty B. Fletcher Leadership and Justice Award to the Honorable Marsha Pechman, chief U.S. district judge for the Western District of Washington.

The award is given to an individual who has paved the way to success for and has inspired other women attorneys striving to excel in their legal careers while balancing family demands. Judge Pechman is an outstanding example of a lawyer who has managed both career and motherhood.

"We were inspired and delighted by Judge Pechman's speech, and MAMAS was thrilled to be able to honor her in this way," said MAMAS President Davina Inslee.

Judge Pechman was introduced by her daughters, Colleen Pechman Fitzharris and Ellen Pechman Fitzharris, and dedicated her award to "all those who help us along the way," including partners, friends, employees and colleagues. She challenged the audience of more than 300 guests to "take stock of the people in your lives, and to go home and tell them, 'Thank you,' because they are the ones that make you the best you can be." She urged mother attorneys to build a network, ask for help and, most importantly, to give help, in part by seeking out other attorneys to mentor.

Judge Pechman has served on the Western District bench since 1999. She is chair of the Ninth Circuit Education Committee and has served on the Ninth Circuit Jury Instruction Committee. Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Pechman served for 12 years as a King County Superior Court judge. She was formerly a partner in the Seattle firm of Levinson, Friedman, Vhugen, Duggan, Bland & Horowitz, and she served as a King County prosecutor, a public defender while supervising the criminal law defender clinic at the University of Washington School of Law, and as the director of the Seattle University School of Law's clinical programs.

MAMAS was founded seven years ago and has nearly 500 members. It has branched out to include a national organization, as well as eight sister chapters throughout the nation.

Among its main goals, MAMAS aims to empower mother attorneys and facilitate their success in the legal profession. To this end, MAMAS hosts monthly networking events and brown bag lunches, which at times have drawn crowds of more than 80 members. The lunch seminars feature panel presentations of particular interest to mother attorneys.

This past year, featured topics included "Law Firm Retention of Mothers," "Staying Ready for Any Opportunity: Keeping Your Resume and Marketing Skills Up to Date," and "Social Media." In addition, MAMAS offers semi-annual CLE programs taught exclusively by MAMAS members, providing the opportunity for members to hone their presentation skills, share their knowledge and promote their practices.

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