Shen-Jaffe, Ada 2012

Director of Columbia Legal Services and Evergreen Legal Services, both statewide civil legal aid programs, from 1986 through 2004 in Washington State. Also served on ABA’s SCLAID and in other leading roles.



Interviewer: Pagalilauan, Tisha
Date of interview: 2012-12-21
Where relates to: Washington
Collection: ABA Women Trailblazers

Bibliographic info

Last modified: 2022-02-05 10:02

Full text of transcript

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Important info from ABA Women Trailblazers Project and Stanford University

Recommended citation: Transcript of Interview with Ada Shen-Jaffe (Mar. 7, 2012; July 30, 2012; Aug. 30, 2012; Nov. 8, 2012; Nov. 30, 2012; Dec. 12, 2012; Dec. 21, 2012),

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Terms of use: This oral history is part of the American Bar Association Women Trailblazers in the Law Project, a project initiated by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and sponsored by the ABA Senior Lawyers Division. This is a collaborative research project between the American Bar Association and the American Bar Foundation. Reprinted with permission from the American Bar Association. All rights reserved.

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Interview took place in multiple sessions: March 7, 2012; July 30, 2012; August 30, 2012;November 8, 2012;November 30, 2012;December 12, 2012; December 21, 2012.

Biographical note


Ada has been an active member of the equal justice community at the local, statewide and national levels for over three decades. She currently serves as a Distinguished Practitioner from Practice at the Seattle University School of Law, where her duties include teaching frameworks for social justice lawyering, strengthening partnerships between legal education and the equal justice community, and establishing leadership development and support infrastructure models that are consistent with inclusion, diversity and cross-difference competence as justice imperatives.

Ada served as Director of Columbia Legal Services and Evergreen Legal Services, both statewide civil legal aid programs, from 1986 through 2004, managing annual budgets from $7 million to $11 million, and a staff of 90-135 and 11-24 field offices and special projects throughout Washington State. She has been an instrumental partner in the architecture, strategy and politics of civil equal justice since she became a statewide leader in 1981. She has championed numerous initiatives in pursuit of equal justice for the poorest and most disadvantaged individuals and communities in our state (such as mission-based consolidation and restructuring, state funding, LAW Fund and the Endowment for Equal Justice, establishment of the Access to Justice Board and various AT J committees, etc.), and has helped secure a strong commitment to equal justice by the judicial, executive and legislative branches, the legal profession and the justice system as a whole.

She has served on many boards, commissions and task forces including the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service, the Center on Law & Social Policy, the Institute on Race & Poverty, the National Center on Women & Family Law, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the Western Regional Training Center, the 1994 Clinton Administration LSC Transition Team and Access to Justice-related committees, boards and task forces, including the ATJ Conference Planning Committee, Law School Relations Committee, Nominating & Leadership Committee and Equal Justice Coalition.

Full text of transcript

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