At last June's annual dinner and in my first two columns (July and August 2011), I stressed the importance of renewing KCBA's historic commitment to speaking out on important issues of public policy and to addressing the needs of the marginalized in society and the underrepresented in our profession.
Recognizing that KCBA can - and should - do more in these areas, our Board of Trustees last year created two new committees, a Diversity Committee whose mandate goes beyond the racial and ethnic issues on which its predecessor focused, and a Public Policy Committee that will study law-related issues of public policy and then present recommendations for action, including a public statement of position, for the board to take on behalf of KCBA.
These two committees had great first years. With a broader understanding of "diversity," the Diversity Committee addressed how to define and measure success in diversity, how to promote diversity in the legal profession and within KCBA, and KCBA's relationship with minority bar organizations. It is also developing specific activities that promote diversity, with a focus on pipeline programs, career development, business development and community relations.
For its part, the Public Policy Committee has divided into subgroups to study three initial issues: potential reform of Washington's initiative and referendum system, new ideas for responding to the court funding crisis, and potential reform or abolition of the death penalty in Washington.
The successful start to the work of these committees is due in large part to the men who enthusiastically answered the call to serve as their initial chairs: Judge Michael Spearman (Diversity Committee) and Andrew Maron (Public Policy Committee). I am pleased jointly to award them this year's President's Award.
Judge Michael Spearman
Judge Spearman is acting chief judge of Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals. Before joining the appellate bench in April 2010, Judge Spearman spent 14 years on the King County Superior Court, followed by a three-year stint with Judicial Dispute Resolution, a private mediation and arbitration service.
Prior to donning judicial robes, Judge Spearman was a trial lawyer focused on criminal defense, personal injury law and family law. He began with The Defender Association, moved into private practice with Adler, Giersch and Read, and then went back to criminal defense work, first with the Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons, followed by the Office of the Federal Public Defender, and finally returning to The Defender Association, where he supervised the Felony Division.
Judge Spearman has served on the boards of KCBA, the Washington Foundation for the Courts, Family Law CASA for King County, the American Judicature Society and Seadrunar, a substance abuse treatment facility. He also has been a member of the board of the National Center for State Courts and a commissioner on Washington's Sentencing Guidelines and Interpreter Certification commissions.
A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Judge Spearman received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his J.D. from the NYU School of Law. He has lived in Seattle since 1983.
Andrew Maron is the managing partner of Short Cressman & Burgess PLLC, which has been his professional home since 1978. Maron's practice focuses on municipal law, construction law and litigation, real estate transactions and litigation, and general business litigation.
Before joining Short Cressman, Maron spent four years as a U.S. Army judge advocate general (JAG), engaged primarily in criminal-law matters. During his first 16 years at Short Cressman (until 1994), Maron did double duty as a U.S. Army Reserve JAG, including as a military judge.
Maron has held many positions with KCBA, including as a trustee and as chair of the Awards, Judicial Conferencing, Judicial Evaluation and (now-defunct) Public Information committees. Maron is also a former vice chair of the YLD Board of Trustees. In addition, he served many years on the council of the WSBA's Construction Section, including as its chair.
Maron has held many civic positions as well, including as a councilmember and interim mayor for the City of Bainbridge Island, as a member of the Kitsap County Board of Freeholders and the Washington State Local Governance Study Commission, and as a board member for the Kitsap County Public Facilities District, the Bloedel Reserve, the Seattle Downtown YMCA and the Children's Home Society of Washington.
Maron graduated from West Point with a degree in engineering. After four years as an Army infantry officer serving in the United States, Vietnam and Germany, he turned to the study of law, receiving his J.D. from the University of South Carolina and an LL.M. from the University of Virginia.