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All rise for the new honorable judge

Rhonda Laumann, '89

District Judge Rhonda Laumann’s senior year at Mesa was memorable — in a high-speed blur sort of way. She was working three jobs while taking 18 to 21 credit hours. She was president of the Law Club and was applying for law school.

With the encouragement of a professor, she was accepted to law school at the University of Puget Sound, now Seattle University, where she earned a law degree. This fall, Laumann went on to earn a place on the Washington state courts as a district court judge presiding over South King County, the largest geographic district in Seattle, Washington.

Laumann can now laugh about the somewhat circuitous educational path that led her there. Her mother owned a kitchen store and her father worked for a phone company in Grand Junction, so she initially started college as a business major. That ended when she “did really badly in accounting.” She then loaded up on classes in line with her many interests: sociology, psychology, history and political science. Political science and the path to law school won out when she realized that being an attorney could be “fun” as well as lucrative.

“I went to law school sort of on a whim,” Laumann said. “I thought it would be fun to be a lawyer. A friend’s father was a lawyer and he said that he loved to go to work every day.”

Laumann has now practiced law for 25 years. Since 2012, she has also served as a judge pro tem in various municipal and district courts around the Seattle area. At the same time, she raised two daughters as a single parent and found time to be active in legal groups that mostly focus on helping women and minorities, and on teaching attorneys to be better at trials.

Laumann ran unopposed for district judge this fall and won the position with the endorsement of more than 150 other attorneys and judges — the latest step in a busy life that has rarely slowed down since her time at Mesa.

Laumann said her work ethic has never changed, “I’ve just worked really hard all my life to be better.”


Written by Nancy Lofholm