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Susan L. Carlson Receives Angelo Petruss APEX Award │ Sept. 27, 2019

Updated: March 17, 2021

Veteran Legal Professional and First Female Supreme Court Clerk Applauded for Innovations and Leadership

SEATTLE [Sept. 27, 2019] — The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) presented Susan L. Carlson the 2019 Angelo Petruss Award for Lawyers in Government Service. Named in honor of Angelo R. Petruss, a senior assistant attorney general who passed away during his term of service on the WSBA Board of Governors, this award is given to a lawyer in government service who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession, the justice system, and the public. WSBA President William D. Pickett presented the award at the annual WSBA APEX (Acknowledging Professional Excellence) Awards Dinner on Sept. 26 at the Sheraton Seattle.

Carlson has been a trailblazer in the Washington legal system for nearly 40 years as the first female deputy prosecutor in Chelan County, an attorney with the Attorney General’s Office and State Senate, and the first woman to serve as the Washington Supreme Court clerk. In that latter role, in which she has served since 2007, Carlson was instrumental in transitioning the state’s court records from paper to digital, a massive undertaking that has had rippling effects of increasing access to justice and streamlining Washington’s court system.

“She’s been out there—she’s been in the courts, in the trial courts, meeting with crime victims, meeting with counsel, working in the Legislature on the laws and how they’re going to be implemented,” said Narda Pierce, former Washington solicitor general and Washington Supreme Court commissioner. “And she has all of that knowledge, plus the legal scholarship that she shows. And to be able to bring that to the Office of the Clerk, where it’s so central to the operation of the justice system, I just think that’s an incredible benefit for the people of this state.”

Carlson undertook extensive reviews of the records-retention schedule during her time on the State Records Committee, helped oversee security upgrades to the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office on the Supreme Court Security Committee, and helped roll out OnBase while on the Supreme Court Technology Committee.

She has provided essential support and training, a professional example, and strong leadership of the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office to ensure rules and procedures are carried out legally and fairly for the public.

“Susan is the epitome of a dedicated, caring public servant,” said Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst. “She’s just been a fabulous asset to us and we couldn’t do our job as well as we do without her and her team.”

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About the Washington State Bar Association

The WSBA operates under the delegated authority of the Washington Supreme Court and exercises a governmental function authorized by the Court to license and regulate the state’s nearly 40,000 legal professionals, including lawyers, limited practice officers, and limited license legal technicians. The WSBA both regulates legal professionals under the authority of the Court and serves its members as a professional association — all without public funding. The WSBA administers the Bar admission process, including the bar exam; provides record-keeping and licensing functions; administers the lawyer discipline system; and provides continuing legal education for legal professionals, in addition to numerous other educational and member-service activities. The Bar’s mission is to serve the public and its members, to ensure the integrity of the legal profession, and to champion justice.