UPDATE: Two more lawyers seek appointment to Superior Court

Field of candidates grows to nine

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter


Updated: March 19, 2013, 5:47 PM


Earlier candidates stories

Field of judge candidates grows to seven

Five hopefuls emerge for Clark County bench job

If you go

What: Clark County Superior Court judge candidate forum.

When: Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Clark County Public Service Center, Sixth Floor, 1300 Franklin St.

Two more lawyers have applied to succeed retiring Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard, bringing the pool of choices up to nine.

Louis Byrd Jr., 55, of Vancouver and James Gilligan, 51, of Centralia notified the Clark County Bar Association of their applications on Monday, said John Fairgrieve, immediate past president of the bar association. The president, Suzan Clark, is one of the applicants for the judge position. The deadline to file was Friday.

Health problems have forced Woolard, 68, to retire, effective March 31. She has been on paid medical leave for the past three months because of complications related to her epilepsy.

Gov. Jay Inslee will appoint her successor in the coming weeks. It will be the first time the new governor has selected a judge for the county. The new judge will have to stand for election in November to retain office.

The state's Superior Court judges serve four-year terms and earn $148,832 per year, plus benefits; they'll receive a pay bump to $151,809 per year, effective Sept. 1.

Byrd, a longtime Vancouver lawyer, practices civil, criminal, education, family and juvenile law.

He graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1989.

That same year, he was appointed as an assistant state attorney general by Washington Attorney General Ken Eikenberry and served until 1993 when he opened a private practice in the Tri-Cities.

He said he was the first African-American to open a private practice in the Tri-Cities.

Five years later, he became the first African-American to open a private practice in Vancouver. He has appeared in federal court and county courts throughout the state.

If appointed, he would be Clark County's first African-American judicial officer, he said.

Gilligan is an attorney with the state Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. He didn't respond Tuesday to a request from The Columbian for more information about him.

The other applicants include Moses Lake public defender Paulette Burgess; Vancouver lawyers Clark, Christopher Ramsay, Michael Simon and Robert Vukanovich; Clark County Superior Court Commissioner Carin Schienberg, and Bernard Veljacic, Clark County civil deputy prosecutor.

The bar association will hold a candidates forum from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, on the sixth floor of the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

The event is open to the public.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; paris.achen@columbian.com.