Debra L. Stephens
|Debra L. Stephens|
|Born||Debra Leigh Williams
Gonzaga University School of Law
Debra L. Stephens is a member of the Washington Supreme Court. She was appointed to the court in December 2007 by Governor Christine Gregoire and took office in January 2008. Justice Stephens is the first judge from Division Three of the Court of Appeals to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court, and the first woman from Eastern Washington to do so.
Early life and education
Debra Leigh Williams grew up in Spokane, graduating from West Valley High School, where she was student body president and a national “Century III Leader.” She attended Gonzaga University on a debate scholarship, graduating Magna Cum Laude with Honors in 1987, and later attended Gonzaga University School of Law as a Thomas More Scholar, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1993.
Stephens taught Speech Communications and coached the Debate Team at Spokane Falls Community College in 1987-88, and was Assistant Dean of Admissions at Gonzaga University from 1988-90. Upon graduation from law school, Stephens clerked for the Honorable Fred L. Van Sickle, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington from 1993-95. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Gonzaga University School of Law since 1995.
In private practice, Stephens' legal work focused on appellate practice, with over 125 appearances in the Washington Supreme Court, in addition to appearances in the Washington Court of Appeals, Idaho Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and as counsel of record in the United States Supreme Court. From August 1995 until April 2007, she helped coordinate the Amicus Curiae Program of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association Foundation, the longest standing institutional "friend of the court" program in the State. In addition, she is a contributing author to the Washington Appellate Practice Deskbook, and is known as a prolific writer and speaker at continuing legal education programs.
Stephens was appointed as a judge for Division Three of the Washington Court of Appeals in April 2007 and later elected unopposed. On December 4, 2007, she was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court, and took office January 1, 2008. Justice Stephens is the first judge from Division Three of the Court of Appeals to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court, and the first woman from Eastern Washington to do so.
Stephens is firmly committed to public service and community involvement. She previously served for over a decade on the Board of Directors of the Orchard Prairie School District No. 123, and was also on the Board of Directors for the Spokane Valley Rotary Club. She previously served as both a Deacon and Elder of Millwood Community Presbyterian Church. She has been a strong advocate for pro bono legal services, and was formerly a volunteer supervising attorney at Gonzaga’s University Legal Assistance clinic. She is a trustee of the Washington Judicial College, and served on the appellate court education committee and the court rules committee.
Marriage and children
Justice Stephens and her husband, Craig, have been married since 1989, and have two children, Lindsey and Bob.
- Roesler, Richard (2007-12-04). "Local judge named to state's high court". Spokane Spokesman-Review.
- Steele, Karen Dorn and Richard Roesler (2008-01-07). "Middle road to the high court". Spokane Spokesman-Review.
- Clouse, Thomas (2007-04-27). "Gov. selects Judge Kato's replacement". Spokesman Spokesman-Review.
|Judge, Washington Court of Appeals Division III
Kevin M. Korsmo
|Associate Justice, Washington Supreme Court