Anne Daly, the incoming president of the King County Bar Association for 2013–14, is a nationally respected leader in the indigent-defense system and is well recognized for her innovative work in reforming public defense. She brings this experience and wisdom to her role as the new KCBA president.
Daly is the executive director at Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons (SCRAP), one of the four private, nonprofit agencies that have provided public defense services in King County, having served in this role since 1999. Daly previously served as a staff attorney and supervisor in the agency and has been at SCRAP since 1989.
Daly is working diligently with the other public defense directors to ensure a responsible transition of public defense in King County from the private to the municipal sector, and to ensure that public defense maintains its commitment to the ABA Ten Principles and remains a holistic, client-focused practice.
Along with her duties with SCRAP, Daly has served the KCBA for many years, beginning in 2001 as a member of the Judicial Screening Committee. Daly served as secretary/trustee on the Board of Trustees from 2006–09 and was elected as second vice president in 2011, leading to her succession to the president's position on July 1. Among her volunteer service, Daly has worked with KCBA's Future of the Law Institute and the Housing Justice Project, and has served as a volunteer attorney for persons with HIV/AIDS.
Her other posts have included serving as the president of the Washington Defender Association from 2003–06 and again from 2009–10. She continues to serve as a WDA board member. She was a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Indigent Defense in 2003–04 and has served on the Washington State Bar Committee on Public Defense/Performance Standards and Education Subcommittee since 2005.
Daly has been a member of the American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD) since 2000 and is a member of the Defender Policy Group (DPG). Both groups are national defender organizations under the umbrella of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). Daly has participated in the Brennan Center of Justice Community Oriented Defender Program, based at NYU School of Law, since 2006, and attended the 2002 ACCD meeting with former Attorney General Janet Reno.
Daly originally intended to attend medical school, with a future career as a pediatrician in mind. However, after a semester of calculus, organic chemistry and physics, she decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in business. Armed with eventual degrees in business and psychology, Daly embarked upon a difficult Seattle job market.
She was hired as a receptionist at the Schwabe law firm and there received her first exposure to the practice of law. The plans to pursue an MBA were set aside. Daly decided to attend law school and had plans to eventually work in a big law firm. Daly was preparing to attend Boston University Law School when her father died unexpectedly. She decided to attend Seattle University (then UPS) Law School instead, in order to be closer to her mother and younger siblings.
While studying for the Washington State Bar in 1988, Daly began clerking for Justice Byron Johnson of the Idaho State Supreme Court. Justice Johnson assigned cases to his clerks by case type. Daly was assigned death penalty, criminal and water rights cases. Her co-clerk was assigned everything else.
During the clerkship, and after the exposure to criminal law cases, Daly decided that she would dedicate her legal career to representing poor people involved in the criminal justice system. Daly considered working in an agency such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Justice Johnson encouraged her to pursue trial work, convincing her that courtroom experience as a public defender would be a great asset to her career. Daly followed the advice of her mentor (who, sadly, died last fall from Parkinson's disease) and applied for positions at The Defender Association, the Northwest Defenders Association and SCRAP - three of the four Seattle public defense agencies at that time.
Daly was hired at SCRAP in 1989 (her future husband, Patrick Dowd was on her hiring committee) and she began her career in the dependency unit. The experience with her first client, Juliette, convinced her that she had landed in the perfect place to begin her public defense career.
Juliette was an 18-year-old, single mother and heroin addict. She had been introduced to heroin by her own mother at the age of 14. Juliette's mother wanted her to "work the streets" to support the mother's heroin habit. Juliette's heroin addiction caused her to drop out of school and work the streets to support the heroin habits of both. Juliette became pregnant by one of her "customers."
She had no one to turn to, and kept working the streets and using while pregnant. Juliette became involved in the child welfare system when her baby was born. Working with Juliette inspired Daly to suspend judgment of the clients we serve. Daly was convinced that both Juliette and her baby were victims and that all systems (legal, school, child welfare) had let them down. Daly realized that each of our clients has a compelling story. She has made it her career and her mission to encourage and believe in our clients.
Daly will celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary this summer. Dowd is now an attorney with the Washington State Office of Children and Family Ombudsman. They live in West Seattle with their three fabulous daughters: Colleen (15) and Clare (15), who will be sophomores at Kennedy High School, and Grace (11), a sixth-grader at Holy Rosary School. When not working, Daly enjoys camping with her family, reading, cooking and spending time with friends and extended family.
Given her many years of legal experience in and service to King County and to the KCBA, Daly brings an impressive skill set and a wealth of experience to the members of the organization and to our community. She is a great negotiator and collaborator. The KCBA and the practice of law in our community will benefit from those assets. We are very proud and honored to have Anne Daly as the new King County Bar Association president.
Jana Heyd is the assistant director of SCRAP.