Chelan County Superior Court Judge Chip Small will receive a well-deserved honor from the Washington State Bar Association on Thursday in Seattle — the Norm Maleng Leadership Award.
The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in improving access to justice and a commitment to diversity.
Small certainly reflects those values. He was the primary driver behind the Diversity Justice Day for Youth in Chelan and Douglas counties that provides opportunities for middle school and high school students to meet with members of the legal community and learn about career opportunities.
In her nomination of Small, fellow Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan also noted that he mentors high school students through job shadows and was a founding members of the nonprofit corporation, Volunteer Attorney Services, which provides pro bono services to low-income individuals faced with civil cases. He has also served on the state's access to justice board.
When the Wenatchee Valley Dispute Resolution Center trains mediators, Small frequently makes time to talk with the individuals about the court system and the value of providing mediation services that help reduce case loads in the court by helping individuals find common ground.
In my years at The World, Small has been a conscientious advocate for open courts. When he is sealing court records, he makes a point of calling up and letting us know in case we feel there is a reason to disagree with the ruling.
Allan said it best in her nomination when she described his innovative approach to improving how the legal system works and his enthusiasm for the law.