Washington Leadership Institute

The Mission

The mission of the Washington Leadership Institute (WLI) is to recruit, train, and develop minority and traditionally underrepresented attorneys for future leadership positions in the Washington State Bar Association and legal community. We strive to recruit fellows for each class who reflect the full diversity of our state, which includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and geographic location.

2016 WLI Brochure

The Curriculum and Service Projects

More information on the curriculum and examples of past projects here.

The Board

Ronald R. Ward,
WLI Founder

Hon. Mary Yu
James Williams

Bradford E. Furlong
WSBA President and ex-officio member

Dean Annette E. Clark
Ex-Officio member

Dean Jane Korn
Ex-Officio member

Toni Rembe Interim Dean Anita Krug
Ex-Officio member

Jeffrey A. Beaver
Hon. Bobbe Bridge (Ret.)
Nicholas Brown
Sean Davis
Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst
Justice Steven González
Nancy L. Isserlis
Zabrina Jenkins
Victor Lara
Karen Lee
Hon. Lorraine Lee

Felix G. Luna
Chief Judge Ricardo S. Martinez
Diane M. Meyers
Hon. Raquel Montoya-Lewis
Kevin O’Rourke
Hon. Susan J. Owens
Frederick (Fred) B. Rivera
Craig A. Sims
Dean Kellye Y. Testy
James Williams
Justice Mary I. Yu

Read the board members' full biographies.


I am pleased to announce that WLI Co-Chair James Williams has been named Perkins Coie LLP Office Managing Partner in Seattle, effective May 1. James succeeds WLI Advisory Board member Fred Rivera, who left the firm last month to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Seattle Mariners.

James was unanimously selected for the position after an extensive selection process, which included a task force identifying and interviewing several candidates and collecting input from dozens of partners, associates and staff. While several top-notch candidates were considered, James ultimately was selected for many reasons, among them being that he is widely respected throughout the Seattle office, has a "firm-first" attitude and has a strong presence for the firm in the Seattle community. The Perkins Coie Seattle office, where the firm started more than a century ago, currently includes nearly 650 lawyers and staff and is a leader in the Seattle legal community and the broader business community.

Read the Announcment


  • Aug 08, 2016

    Source: The Seattle Times

    "Never before in our nation’s history have reported anti-Muslim hate crimes been as high as in 2015. But I am a proud American and a proud practicing Muslim."
  • Aug 01, 2015

    Source: Inside Counsel

    On August 1, 2015, InsideCounsel published its R3-100 list for 2015 and our very own Diankha Linear was included this year. This list honors 100 women who have the potential to become general counsel of a Fortune 500 company within three years. Below is a link to the article which reads, “[a]ll of the women on this year's list possess the qualities necessary to make the leap to the GC chair at a Fortune 500 company within the next three years—the same feat that has already been accomplished by several women who found their names on previous R3-100 lists.” Diankha is quoted on the first page. As you can see, she’s among a very impressive group!

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