Decades of Improving Pathways for Women: Judge Barbara Madsen Receives National Award – Lewis-Clark Valley Community


Washington Courts: detail of the press release

In recognition of her decades of work to encourage and support women in the legal profession, Washington State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Madsen has been named the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Joan Dempsey Klein Award by the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ). Madsen will receive the award at the association’s annual conference – held remotely this year – starting October 14.

The award is named after the NAWJ co-founder, California’s first female justice president, and recognizes someone who strives to improve the number of female judges, helps female judges increase their skills and supports improving the judiciary. .

Madsen was nominated for the award by Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court Debra Stephens, retired Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst and Justices Susan Owens, Sheryl Gordon McCloud and Helen Whitener, all members of the NAWJ .

Judge Madsen “has personally recruited most of the Washington judges who are or have been members of the NAWJ,” their letter of appointment reads. She served for 20 years as chair of the Washington Supreme Court’s Gender and Justice Commission, one of whose primary missions is to support women in the legal profession. Under Madsen’s leadership, the Commission developed the groundbreaking educational program, “When Bias Compounds: The Intersectionality of Race and Gender in the Legal Profession,” spearheaded Washington’s annual Color of Justice program to encourage female students. of color to consider the legal profession, annually sponsored the Judicial Program of Receptions for the Women Lawyers Caucuses at the three Washington law schools, and helped provide scholarships to female law students.

Judge Madsen was also instrumental in the development and support of the Judicial Institute, an organization that has mentored and trained women and people of color to run for or be appointed to judicial positions in Washington, with a great success. She also launched the Diversity Initiative, which calls on lawyers and legal employers to make a commitment to hire, retain and promote women and people of color in their workplaces.

When Madsen was elected to the Supreme Court in 1992, she became only the third female judge in Washington – and the first who was not initially appointed. She had four young children at the time and served in Seattle City Court, but was a firm believer that women needed to reach higher positions in the legal branch. She was Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court from 2010 to 2017.

“Her personal courage and commitment has inspired many other women to rise up and take on leadership roles, and reach out to others to join them,” her colleagues said in their letter of appointment.

Madsen, who has been a member of the NAWJ since 1986, said the support and encouragement she has received from other female judges across the United States has been invaluable over the years. “It is a lesson in humility to receive the Joan Dempsey Klein Award, especially knowing its namesake and coming from an organization that has meant so much to me,” she said.



Leave A Reply