About Andrea

Hi, I'm Andrea, and I'm running for King County District Court - Southwest Division Judge Position 2.

275545074_10159192461933271_3135466860789529863_n.jpg

WHERE I COME FROM

I was born in Macon, Georgia - red dirt and country roads. I came to Washington as a teenager with my birth mother after she divorced my father, ending their long abusive relationship. Unfortunately, like many victims of domestic violence, her next partner was also abusive.

Like many of our homeless youth today, I had to seek safety and shelter through public transportation, the generosity of strangers, and foster homes. I was aided by the resources of group homes like those provided by Friends of Youth and United Indian's Labateya.

 

Along my path I met several incredible women who inspired and encouraged me to move beyond my circumstances. Among those women was the late Julie Zarelli (Ms. Zee), a Seattle high school counselor who became my friend, life coach, mentor, and the woman that I would come to call mother. Not only was Ms. Zee instrumental in my completion of high school, but she guided me through undergraduate and law school. She modeled for me in both philosophy and practice what it means to care about people, to create opportunities for others, and to serve with no other purpose than to advance good in the world. These have been the values that I have carried with me throughout my education and through my legal career.

A THRIVING CAREER

I graduated from Middle College, an alternative high school located on the campus of Seattle Central Community College. With scholarships, I attended the University of Washington where I earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both English and Women's Studies.

It would be my own experience as a victim of domestic violence that would lead me to having to navigate our complicated court system as a pro se litigant, and ultimately motivate me to attend law school.

In May of 2019, I was appointed to the position of Pro-Tempore Commissioner for King County Superior Court's Dependency and BECCA calendar. In November of 2020, I transitioned from private practice to a full time position as an administrative law judge with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (Board). At the Board, I preside over hearings involving injured workers benefits and employer safety cases. 

After graduating from the UW School of Law in 2005, I started my career as a prosecutor in the Seattle City Attorney's Office. From Seattle I then went to work as a prosecutor for the City of Auburn. Later I had the opportunity to return to Seattle City Attorney's Office as a special DV prosecutor in a federally funded grant position focused on repeat, serious offenders. Among other types of cases were DUIs, assaults, and theft.

In 2007, I was able to take the training and trial experience that I gained as a prosecutor to the Washington State Attorney General's Office, where I worked in the Criminal,  Sexually Violent Predator, and L&I Divisions. Among other types of cases were complex medical fraud and abuse and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Forever inspired by Ms. Zee, who I had met on a community college campus, I also began teaching part time at Green River Community College in Auburn and Kent. 

Pictured to the right: “New graduate teaches lesson in overcoming obstacles.” Seattle Post Intelligencer, June 12, 1995. (Featured in news article as Andrea S. Harris)

News Article.jpg
legal clinic with zuri.jpg

Here Andrea is pictured with her daughters, Zuri and Zipporah, at the Federal Way Library. This is one of the sites for the King County Bar Association's neighborhood legal clinic where Andrea volunteered from 2012 to 2021. 

legal clinic with zee.jpg

Working as a prosecutor at the city and state level expanded my understanding of the complexities and challenges that we have within our legal system. Thus when I later went into private practice in 2012, I was committed to providing clients with quality and affordable legal representation.

In the criminal arena, I represented indigent clients in misdemeanor and felony matters. I understood the collateral consequences of my clients' decisions to enter guilty pleas and tried to negotiate fair resolutions. Where my clients wished to exercise their constitutional right to a trial, I provided a zealous defense. 

In the family law arena, I handled divorces, the establishment of parentage and parenting plans, and post decree matters to include motions for enforcement and contempt. My philosophy in family law was always guided by my own understandings and experience as a mother. I earned a reputation for being able to engage with emotionally distressed parties and guide them to resolutions that centered their children. 

In the civil arena, I represented parents and children in dependency and termination proceedings. I understood the importance and value of keeping families together and keeping children safe. These proceedings were often traumatic and exhausting processes. I advocated for parents as they worked towards trying to correct their parental deficiencies that were the alleged basis of their children entering the system. I also represented tenants facing evictions.

In addition to my office's commitment to providing pro bono and sliding fee services, I also volunteered with the King County Bar Association's Neighborhood Legal Clinic. From 2012 to 2021, I regularly volunteered at the legal clinic located at the Federal Way Public Library until my full time judicial role. 

In May of 2019, I was appointed to the position of Pro-Tempore Commissioner for King County Superior Court's Dependency and BECCA calendar. In November of 2020, I transitioned from private practice to a full time position as an administrative law judge with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (Board). At the Board, I preside over hearings involving injured workers benefits and employer safety cases. 

Throughout my career I have additionally had the opportunity to serve on various boards and committees - the Limited Legal License Technician Board (LLLT), the Washington State Bar Association's Diversity Committee, and the Washington State Supreme Court's Bar Association Taskforce. During 2014 to 2017, I served in a leadership role for the Washington State Bar Association, as District 8 Representative on the Board of Governors. 

Courage, integrity, and compassion have been the guiding principles of my professional and personal life. This is what I seek to bring to the bench in service of the community and public as your District Court Judge in Position 2.

Pictured to the right “Against the odds, single mother makes progress towards dreams.” Seattle Post Intelligencer, February 16, 1997. (Featured in news article as Andrea S. Harris)

News article 2.jpg