March 2013 Bar Bulletin
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March 2013 Bar Bulletin

In Memoriam: Lee Campbell & Bill Helsell


The King County Bar Association lost two lions of the bar and two of its past presidents recently with the deaths of Lee Campbell and Bill Helsell. Their colleagues remember them here fondly.

Lee Campbell

One of the most distinguished attorneys ever associated with Karr Tuttle Campbell passed away December 17 at age 89. Lee Campbell, still sharp of mind, succumbed to complications related to his many years living with diabetes.

A Tacoma native, Lee graduated from Yakima High School and attended the University of Washington. World War II interrupted his education. Lee served as an infantry officer with the 102nd Infantry Division in Belgium and Germany, earning the Bronze Star. Following the war, Lee attended the University of Washington School of Law and was admitted to practice in 1950.

It would be hard to overstate the role Lee played in the life of our law firm or his achievements as an attorney. Lee joined the firm in 1951. By the time of his retirement approximately 37 years later, he had served first as the managing partner between 1973 and 1977 and then as president of our newly formed professional service corporation until the mid-1980s.

He was also president of the Washington State Bar Association; a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, where he was elected by his fellow members to serve as Northwest regent, a signal honor; and the first chair of the Washington State Judicial Conduct Commission. In 1982, he was given the Award of Merit and Honor by the WSBA - the highest honor given each year for service to the public and the bar. Perhaps most noteworthy of all, Lee was also listed on the only Best Dressed Attorneys list I think the Washington State Bar's official magazine ever published.

However you measure it, Lee was always among the best our firm and profession could put forward. He was unassuming but commanded respect. He was a highly regarded and successful litigator, but treated everyone with consideration, even under stress. The fact that he had the same secretary for decades is testimony to this.

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