SEATTLE --The Honorable Ronald E. Cox, ’73, received the Outstanding Judge Award at the King County Bar Association (KCBA) Annual Awards Dinner in honor of his 17 years of exceptional service on the Washington State Court of Appeals. His peers lauded him for his thoroughness, logic and dedication to the court room.
"He is extremely well prepared in every case," said David Koch, an attorney at Nielsen, Broman & Koch P.L.L.C. "His decisions are clear and well-reasoned, and I've always appreciated the courtesy he shows counsel, regardless of whether he agrees with the legal argument."
Before he became a judge, Cox advanced considerably in his military and law careers despite existing color barriers. As a Honolulu teenager in 1963, Cox was nominated for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point by Sen. Hiram Fong. He was one of three black cadets in his class. After graduating, Cox served in Germany, Vietnam and the United States, earning three Bronze Stars.
After the war ended, he chose to attend UW School of Law and did so thanks to a one-year scholarship from King County Bar Foundation. (He would later head the organization as president.)
“[It was a] great opportunity to get into a profession that helped people and to use my skills in a positive way," Cox recalled.
With a degree under his belt, Cox began working at K&L Gates and in 1979, he became the first African American partner in a large Seattle law firm. Fifteen year later, he was elected to Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals and has continued to serve in that capacity since.
"I don't know if he was born with an efficiency gene or if that attribute is a product of West Point education, but his chambers functions with the precision of a Swiss clock,” said fellow judge, Joseph Coleman. “Judge Cox truly is an outstanding judge and it was my privilege to serve with him."
In addition to his judicial obligations, Cox volunteers his time to organizations promoting child welfare and teaches an appellate advocacy course at UW Law as a part-time lecturer.