John R. (Jack) Connelly is consistently named to the Best Lawyers in America, and ranked in the top lawyers in Washington State. Jack has been practicing law in the Puget Sound for over 39 years, entirely in representation of plaintiffs. He received his B.A. n Human Biology / Psychology from Stanford University and his JD from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
Lisa Duagaard, JD
Lisa Daugaard is the Executive Director at PDA and a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship recipient. Lisa served as Deputy Director of the King County (WA) Department of Public Defense through August 2015, and previously supervised misdemeanor practice (2002-2006) and then was Deputy Director (2007-2013) at The Defender Association, a non-profit public defender office.
Vern Harkins, JD
Vern Harkins is a successful trial lawyer dedicated to his community and his life’s work. Many of his cases have set important legal precedents, especially in the area of governmental responsibility for injury caused by dangerous prisoners and mental patients. Vern began his career as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Spokane County, where he tried cases for three years after receiving his degree from Gonzaga University Law School in 1975. He continued in private practice in Spokane until he joined Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler in 1980.
Rita Herrera Irvin, JD
Rita is a founding partner and CEO of McKinley Irvin. With an eye toward the future, Rita works with the firm's leadership team to maintain McKinley Irvin’s commitment to excellence in law practice, client service, professionalism, and firm management. In addition to her work at McKinley Irvin, Rita is deeply involved in the Tacoma community and has served as a director on several local and professional boards. She currently serves on the Legal Pathways Community Advisory Board and as a Dressel Scholars Mentor at the University of Washington Tacoma. Additionally, Rita founded MI’s Black Law Student Mentorship Program where she also serves as a Mentor.
Bruce Kendall, co-chair
Bruce is the driving force behind the Tacoma Pierce County Economic Development Board, where he serves as President and CEO. He's an impassioned liaison to the board members and the broader community, enthusiastically advocating for regional economic opportunity in Tacoma-Pierce County. To schedule a meeting with Bruce, please contact Deborah Kelly.
Dan Kyler, JD
Partner Dan Kyler’s practice is predominantly plaintiff’s personal injury, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents and plaintiff’s medical negligence work. A portion of Dan’s practice continues to include business tort litigation and business contract litigation, including matters involving unfair business practices, trade secrets and non-compete agreements. Dan obtained his law degree from the University of Puget Sound in 1982. He obtained his undergraduate degrees, a double major in business and philosophy from Montana State University, in 1979 and 1980. Following law school, Dan become employed at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, where he had previously worked as an intern during law school. Dan became a partner with the firm in 1987, and served as Managing Partner from 1995 to 2013.
Judge Lisa Mansfield, JD
Judge Lisa H. Mansfield was appointed as the Municipal Court Judge in September of 2020. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Mansfield served as President of the Pierce County Minority Bar Association and as Community Outreach Vice President on the state-wide board of Washington Women Lawyers. She also served as a Pierce County Bar Association Trustee. Most of her legal career was spent as a Public Defender in the Criminal and Dependency arenas.
Steve O’Ban, JD
Steve is Senior Counsel for Behavioral Health working on the Pierce County’s Executive team. He leads a number of new county initiatives, including establishing a new crisis clinic for the mentally ill and substance addicted, the Mobile Crisis Intervention Response Team providing timely and ongoing mental health services, assisted outpatient treatment for the mentally ill who need more structured care, and the Regional System of Care Committee reshaping our county’s mental health system.
Carly Roberts, JD
Carly is the ED/CEO of Tacomaprobono Community Lawyers. She is passionate about fixing unjust systems and empowering traditionally underserved communities with meaningful access to justice. Previously, Carly was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Elder Abuse division of the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office. Outside of work, she loves to camp, exercise, read, eat, and spend time with friends and family. Carly and her husband Nate live in Gig Harbor with their two children and chocolate Labrador retriever.
Judge Sue Serko, JD (retired)
Judge Susan (Keers) Serko was born in Brooklyn, New York. She served as a Pierce County Superior Court Judge, Department 14, from January 2006 to August 2019. During her tenure on the bench, Judge Serko received many awards and leadership positions, including Criminal Department Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court Presiding Judge, chair of numerous committees, President of the Hon. Robert J. Bryan American Inn of Court, trustee of the Superior Court Judges Association, the Liberty Bell award, and the 2018 Girl Scouts of Western Washington Woman of Distinction Award.
Saranda Ross, JD
Saranda is a staff attorney at Tacoma Pro Bono where she works with the Housing Justice Project. She graduated from the University of Washington Tacoma with a B.A. in Communication in 2015 before going on to receive her JD from the University of Washington School of Law. She was awarded a Research Fulbright Award to Brazil, where she will conduct fieldwork with underserved communities to advance equal access to food justice. My project focuses on legislative and sociopolitical solutions to environment-related food insecurity including availability, access, utilization, and stability of resources
Valarie Zeek, co-chair
Valarie Zeeck joined Gordon Thomas Honeywell in 1997. Her primary areas of practice are employment law and litigation. She advises and provides training to owners, managers and employees in employment law in order to help them reduce litigation expense and risk. She also defends employers in employment-related litigation, focusing on extracting clients from litigation at the earliest possible stage.