The Board of Governors is the WSBA's governing body directed by the Washington Supreme Court to determine the general policies of the Bar and approve its budget annually. The Board consists of the president, president-elect, immediate past president, members elected from each of the state's congressional districts and three at-large members.
The Board meets six times each year at locations across the state. Except for executive sessions, Board meetings are open to the public. The Board has several committees, and governors serve as liaisons to WSBA committees.
Brian Tollefson | President (2021-2022)
Hon. Brian Tollefson (Ret.) was first elected to the Board of Governors in 2017 and elected by the Board of Governors as president-elect in 2020. He was sworn in as president in September 2021. Judge Tollefson is a principal at Black Robe Dispute Resolution Services, PLLC. He served on the Pierce County Superior Court bench for over 27 years. While on the bench he was active in the Superior Court Judges Association (SCJA) as a member of the Board of Trustees, together with several SCJA committees. He served on the Pierce County Superior Court Executive Committee and served as presiding judge, continuing active participation in numerous Superior Court committees. Before his judicial career, he was a partner in a Tacoma law firm. He is an emeritus member of the Robert J. Bryan American Inns of Court and has worked with the National Courts & Sciences Institute (NCSI, formerly known as ASTAR).
He graduated from Willamette University College of Law with honors, serving on the Willamette Law Review staff. He earned his Master’s of Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno. His B.A. in Business Administration is from
the University of Washington School of Business.
Daniel D. Clark | President-Elect (2021-2022) and Governor, District 4 (2021-2024)
Daniel Clark was first elected to the Board of Governors in July 2017 to serve a vacancy in District 4 and was subsequently elected for a full term in 2018. The Board of Governors elected him to serve as treasurer for 2019-2020 and president-elect in 2021.
Since 2002, he has served the taxpayers of Yakima County. Clark is a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Corporate Counsel Division. His legal practice includes providing legal representation to various Yakima County department heads and elected officials in various civil and ad valorem taxation litigation matters. He also assists deputy prosecutors and law enforcement in various criminal prosecutions and civil real and personal property forfeiture matters. He is also the legal counsel for the Southeast Aging and Long Term Care Council of Governments, an entity comprised of eight counties (including three in the 4th District) that provides important services under the Older Americans Act for the elderly and those in need of long-term care. Previously, he worked for Yakima County Superior Court where he served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable James Hutton, Michael E. Schwab, Robert N. Hackett, and C. James Lust.
Born and raised in Yakima, Clark received his undergraduate Bachelors of Art degree in political science from Central Washington University, graduating magna cum laude, and was honored as a Dean’s Scholar in the College of the Sciences. He earned his J.D. from Gonzaga School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. He is a proud Gonzaga law alumni, and an avid Zags Basketball and Seahawks sports fan.
Kyle Sciuchetti | Immediate Past President (2021-2022)
Kyle Sciuchetti was first elected to the Board of Governors in September 2017 to represent District 3. He was elected as President-Elect in October 2019 and sworn in as President in September 2020. He is a partner of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP where he serves as outside counsel for businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest. His practice includes civil litigation, with an emphasis in complex construction disputes and business matters in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. His clients include construction contractors, consultants, design professionals, firearms manufacturers, transportation-related companies, restaurants, component manufacturers and other businesses large and small.
Sciuchetti is a former prosecutor for the City of Spokane and session attorney with the Washington State Legislature's Code Reviser’s Office. For 14 years, he served on the WSBA Legislative Committee, most recently as its chair in 2016. He is the director and legal counsel for the board of the Metropolitan Business Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. He is past chair of the Board of Directors for the Clark County Food Bank. He is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Born and raised in Spokane, Sciuchetti received his undergraduate degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Washington and his law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School. He currently resides in Vancouver, serving legal needs and communities of Southwest Washington.
Hunter M. Abell | Governor, At-Large (2019-2022)
Hunter M. Abell was elected to the Board of Governors in 2019. He is a member at the Seattle office of Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, PLLC. Before joining Williams Kastner, Abell served as a JAG officer with the U.S. Navy, and is currently a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Abell previously served as Chair of the WSBA Professionalism Committee and Indian Law Section. His practice primarily involves residential real estate and tribal law. Abell is a native of eastern Washington where he was raised on a ranch in rural Ferry County.
A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Abell attended law school at Gonzaga University School of Law and received a LLM at Georgetown University Law Center. He is married to Sara and the proud father of two daughters, Libby, 6, and Wynsome, 4.
Jordan Couch | Governor, At-Large (2021-2024)
Jordan Couch was elected to the Board of Governors in 2021 to represent new and young lawyers in an at-large position. Couch is a partner at Palace Law, practicing workers' compensation and personal injury. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoorsman—probably stemming from his childhood spent between an island in Alaska and the Bighorn River valley in Montana. Prior to joining the Board of Governors, Couch served as a trustee for the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association, chair of the Access to Justice Board's Technology Committee, and chair of the Washington Young Lawyers Committee, and has held various leadership roles on the Solo and Small Practice Section's Executive Committee. Couch is passionate about solving access to justice by helping lawyers build better, more client-centric practices, and never gets tired of talking about how to improve our profession (or fishing).
Alec Stephens | Governor, At-Large (2021-2023)
Alec Stephens was re-elected to the Board of Governors in January 2021. He was first elected to the Board in 2017. Prior to serving on the Board, Stephens served two terms as Chair of the WSBA Civil Rights Law Section, and was the small Sections representative on the Board of Governor’s Sections Policy Work Group. He has been a civil rights lawyer since his admission to the Bar in 1981, and was national co-director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council, and national co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Affirmative Action/Anti-Discrimination Committee. He began his career as Northwestern Regional Attorney for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
In 2014, he retired as diversity technical advisor in the Diversity Programs Office of Sound Transit (the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority). Joining the agency in 1995, he was the initial manager and architect for contracting and employment programs to provide opportunities for People of Color and Women, and coordinated the Agency’s compliance with federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Title VI non-discrimination requirements.
Active in civic affairs, he has served as a member of the City of Seattle Parks Levy Oversight Committee and he was the first Disproportionality Task Force Chair of Seattle Public Schools. In 2012, he was one of 12 Electors to cast Washington’s electoral votes in the Electoral College.
A native of Miami, Florida, Stephens has a law degree from the University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University) law school, and a bachelor of business administration from the University of Miami.
Sunitha Anjilvel | Governor, District 1, (2021-2024)
Sunitha Anjilvel was first elected by the Board of Governors in May 2019 as 1st-District Governor to complete the term of the position vacated by Michael Cherry. She has practiced family law and estate planning in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. Since her first admission to practice law in 1990, Anjilvel has practiced in a variety of courts in Canada, California, and Washington state in the areas of family law, criminal law, and civil litigation. In 2005 she served as director of a bipartisan campaign to support a redistricting reform initiative on California’s statewide ballot. She is committed to social justice and currently is a member of the WSBA Diversity Committee and a director on the Board of DRAW (Domestic Relations Attorneys of Washington). Anjilvel has also volunteered for the Kinship Care Project and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. She has a B.A. from McGill University and a J.D. from Dalhousie Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Washington and California.
Carla J. Higginson | Governor, District 2 (2018-2022)
Carla J. Higginson has served as the District 2 governor since June 2018 when she was selected by the Board to fill Rajeev Majumdar’s unexpired term. She was then elected for a full three-year term starting September 2019, the first governor from San Juan County in WSBA history. Since her admission to the Bar in 1980, she has practiced in Friday Harbor, handling family law, real property and land use, estate planning and probate, elder law and guardianship, and criminal and civil litigation. She served as president of the San Juan County Bar Association for five terms. She served for eight years as the Town of Friday Harbor municipal court judge, and she once was the youngest judge in the state. She also served on the San Juan County Planning Commission, Bastyr University Board of Trustees, was a frequent speaker at CLEs, and is a longtime volunteer attorney for several nonprofit organizations. A native of Western Washington, and part Tsimshian Indian, Higginson earned her B.A. in communications at Western Washington University and her J.D. at the University of Washington School of Law.
Lauren Boyd | Governor, District 3 (2020-2023)
Lauren Boyd was elected to the Board of Governors in 2020. She graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2015. Before that, she earned a history of art bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University. After law school, she became a deputy prosecutor at the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. She is currently in the Domestic Violence Unit working to prosecute cases and raise awareness of this issue in our communities. Boyd grew up in Southern Oregon. She moved to Washington after law school to be closer to part of her family. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and any activity that gets her outdoors.
Francis Adewale | Governor, District 5 (2021-2024)
Francis Adewale was elected to the Board of Governors in 2021. Adewale is one of the attorneys who helped establish Spokane Community Court, and his commitment to community and movement lawyering is epitomized by his work on several community-based boards and activities in Eastern Washington. He is the current vice president of JustLead Washington, the chair of the Access to Justice Board, and a member of the Washington Supreme Court’s Interpreters Commission. He is a founding member of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, having been reappointed three times by Gov. Jay Inslee. Adewale is an H. George Frederickson Honors Graduate of Eastern Washington University and adjunct faculty member at Whitworth University. He was admitted to the WSBA in June 2000 and has since practiced as assistant public defender for the City of Spokane. Adewale is a recipient of the City of Spokane Human Rights Award, the Washington Criminal Defense Lawyers’ President’s Award, the Spokane County Bar Association Smithmoore P. Myers Professionalism Award, and the 2021 Washington Defender Association’s President’s Award. Along with other team members of Spokane Community Court, he was a recipient of a 2018 WSBA Apex Award.
Brett A. Purtzer | Governor, District 6 (2020-2023)
Brett A. Purtzer was elected to the Board of Governors in 2020, and is currently a principal at the Hester Law Group, Inc., P.S. He has been in private practice in Tacoma since 1988, where he focuses on criminal defense, personal injury, civil litigation, and representing professionals in disciplinary matters. Purtzer has served as president and as a trustee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association. He has also served as a lawyer representative for the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference, as a trustee for the Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington, and is the past co-chair of the Federal Bar Association Pro Bono Committee for the Western District of Washington. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbard and has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association since his inclusion in 2011. Purtzer graduated with a B.A. in English from Washington State University in 1983 and with a J.D. from the University of Puget Sound Law School in 1987.
Matthew Dresden | Governor, District 7 North (2020-2023)
Matthew Dresden was elected to the Board of Governors in September 2020. He is an attorney at Dresden Law PLLC in Seattle, where he handles a wide range of corporate and transactional matters, with an emphasis on media and entertainment, international intellectual property, and cross-border work. He served on the executive committee of WSBA’s International Practice Section for eight years, including a term as chair. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he teaches a clinic on legal issues for independent filmmakers. He served as a law clerk in the Southern District of Texas for U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeff Bohm.
He has a B.A. from Stanford University, a J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and LL.M.s from New York University and the National University of Singapore. Before attending law school, he worked in Hollywood for several years as an independent filmmaker.
Serena Sayani | Governor, District 7 South (2021-2024)
Serena Sayani Sayani was elected to the Board of Governors in 2021. She is a shareholder at Stokes Lawrence, P.S., in the real estate and business transaction practice group. Sayani’s commercial real estate practice focuses on acquisitions, dispositions, development, construction, and leasing. Her clients include real estate investment trusts, public and private pension plans, tax-exempt investors, developers, and other businesses. In addition, she provides counsel to clients in multimillion-dollar development and construction transactions involving drafting and negotiating development, design, construction, and other related agreements.
Outside of her practice, Sayani is a member of the WSBA Diversity Committee, a board member for Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), the co-chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee for NAIOP Washington, the co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of Stokes Lawrence, P.S., a member of the KCBA’s MLK, Jr. Luncheon Committee, and an attorney mentor-coach for the Mercer Island High School Mock Trial Team (2018-2019). Recently, Sayani was honored with the 2019 Up and-Coming CRE Attorney Award by the Puget Sound Business Journal and the Rising Rock Star Award by CREW/Elevate.
Brent Williams-Ruth | Governor, District 8 (2020-2023)
Brent Williams-Ruth was first elected to the Board of Governors in spring 2020. Williams-Ruth has had a varied career ranging from working as a 1L intern with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to working in a non-legal role with (formerly) Fisher Radio Seattle. Since 2015, he has been the sole proprietor of a concierge estate planning, probate/trust, and elder law firm. Since starting his own firm, Williams-Ruth has volunteered with Seattle University School of Law as a mentor and judge for legal writing oral arguments. He began his volunteer service with the WSBA in 2018 when he joined the Character and Fitness Board, serving as its vice chair in the 2019-2020 year. He resigned his position with Character and Fitness in September 2020 to take his seat as a governor. He also serves as a trustee on the Washington State Bar Association Foundation.
Williams-Ruth earned his associates degree in Arts & Science from Tacoma Community College in 1997, his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Washington, and his J.D. from Seattle University School of Law in 2001. When not working or volunteering, you will find him spending time traveling, hiking, and creating adventures with his husband, Justin.
Bryn Peterson | Treasurer and Governor, District 9 (2019-2022)
Bryn Peterson was elected to the Board of Governors in 2019. He practices in the area of corporate law. Since 2002, he has delivered comprehensive legal support on a variety of corporate matters including contracts, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, insurance, risk management, capital projects, taxation, and audits. Peterson’s diverse legal background includes eight years as internal legal counsel for multimillion-dollar corporations including Green Giant Fresh and Tree Top, and multibillion-dollar corporation Darigold, Inc. His experience spans companies across varied sectors including technology, food/beverage, and agriculture. Peterson is the oldest child of eight.
Peterson attended the University of the Pacific for undergraduate and law school. He then attended the University of Washington School of Law and obtained a Master of Laws in taxation. He has a wonderful wife and two great children. He also enjoys running, golf, and barbecue.
Thomas A. McBride | Governor, District 10 (2019-2022)
Thomas A. McBride was elected in 2019 to the Board of Governors for District 10. McBride worked at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Later, he spent 25 years as the executive director of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
Born and raised in Spokane, McBride attended Washington State University for his undergraduate degree and the University of Washington for law school. Between schools, he worked as an accountant and passed the Certified Public Accountant exam. He is married to Jodi and has three children and a disreputable dog.