Contact: Elizabeth Coplan
University of Washington School of Law



UW Law Mourns the Loss of Betty Binns Fletcher, Class of 1956

The Honorable Betty B. Fletcher, a leading jurist on the 9th Circuit for over 33 years, died October 22, 2012.

Dean Kellye Y. Testy, who is currently traveling in Asia, informed the law school community of her death:

My heart is heavy with sadness this early morning in Beijing as I learn of the passing of Judge Betty Fletcher. I am sorry for the loss that I know many of you also feel; she was so close to so many of us and to our school. Her influence upon our profession along so many dimensions is profound and enduring. She was and will be remembered as one of the "legends" in law.

Judge Fletcher received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1943 and her J.D. from UW School of Law in 1956.

After having four children, Fletcher was encouraged by her husband, law professor, Bob Fletcher to return to law school at a time when few women--and especially few mothers of young children--did so.

At the Order of the Coif banquet held last February, her son, Judge William A. Fletcher, spoke of his mother:

I came to the law school when my mother was a student here, over fifty years ago. I was nine or ten years old. The law school had Saturday classes in those days. Mom took me to classes taught by Professors Neil Peck and Warren Shattuck. What a way to spend a Saturday! Professor Shattuck once told Mom, who apparently had not recited entirely to his satisfaction, “We do not read cases like the Saturday Evening Post, Mrs. Fletcher.” I wasn’t there that day, but I heard about it. Our whole family heard about it.

Long-time friend, law professor and Dean Emeritus Ron Hjorth, remembers Fletcher as one of “very few women who went to law school in those days. And, at that time, it was exceedingly difficult for any woman to find a job. But she was up for the challenge and landed a job with Preston, Thorgrimson and Horowitz which had only 10 or 12 lawyers at the time.

She was successful in every way. A top student in her class. A great mother. A great lawyer. In fact today, I opened my class talking about this. I said, ‘We should celebrate lives that are successful and well-lived.’”

A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, November 10 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The program will begin with a photo retrospective at 12:00 p.m. A reception will immediately follow.

The Fletcher family has requested that remembrances be made to the Betty B. and Robert L. Fletcher Scholarship Fund at the UW School of Law or to

For more information and a list of Judge Fletcher's publications and other information, visit:


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