Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed mediation attorney Nancy Retsinas to replace Clark County Superior Court Judge Daniel L. Stahnke, who is retiring June 30.
Retsinas founded Retsinas Collaborative Law Center, located in Vancouver, in 2015. She has served largely as a mediator for the last six years, assisting families with navigating ante-nuptial agreements and marriage dissolutions.
Her nearly 30-year law career has also included practice in consumer protection, family law, criminal law and juvenile delinquency.
Retsinas, 56, of Vancouver, has served as a pro tempore commissioner in Superior Court, a part-time Clark County District Court judge and a hearings officer with Vancouver Public Schools, according to her resume and the governor’s office.
“Nancy’s professional breadth and wealth of judicial experience — as a commissioner, judge and hearings officer — have prepared her well for the Superior Court bench,” Inslee said in a news release announcing the appointment. “She has the respect and confidence of those who appear before her, and her commitment to service and leadership in her community is impressive.”
Poll results released earlier this month by the Clark County Bar Association show members’ top pick was Retsinas to replace Stahnke. Out of 155 respondents, 49, or 31.61 percent said Retsinas was their “choice,” out of eight candidates, according to the preference poll.
Earlier this year, she was also the bar association’s top pick to replace former Superior Court Judge Bernard Veljacic. Inslee subsequently appointed Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield to the seat, a first for a woman of color in Clark County.
“Of course I’m thrilled. I’m ready to get started,” Retsinas said of her appointment. “It’s a very humbling experience to get support from the community and the governor.”
She said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to have a community-wide impact and seeing issues and the impact of the judicial system in a broader way.
“It’s a consequential time for our systems, and I look forward to having an impact in that way, as well,” she said.
Retsinas has been a volunteer lawyer and mediator for the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program and Community Mediation Services since 1992. The volunteer lawyers program has thrice recognized Retsinas’ pro bono work for its Volunteer of the Year. She was also recognized with a 2018 Iris Award from Clark College, which honors accomplished women in Southwest Washington.
Last year, she moderated the Clark County Council’s listening sessions on systemic racism, and she has been a board director of the mental health agency The Children’s Center since 2002, according to the governor’s office.
Retsinas earned her law degree from the University of Oregon. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Portland.