Kenneth L. Schubert Jr. Diversity Fellowship Tribute
From the earliest days of Garvey Schubert Barer through his retirement, Kenneth L. Schubert Jr. was an outstanding mentor for attorneys from diverse backgrounds, a leader who advocated for inclusion in the legal community, and a champion for diversity in his personal life as well. He shaped and built the firm’s core values of diversity and inclusion.
Ken embodied these values, and he worked proactively to establish the firm’s culture as one of inclusion—a welcoming place for all attorneys. When the firm was still in its infancy, he was a vocal supporter of hiring the firm's first female and African American attorneys - during a time when the established firms in Seattle had none - and mentored them while they became full partners in the firm. Ken was proud that the firm established ties with a Japanese law firm in the 1980's - another first for a Seattle area firm and a relationship that continues to this day. Perhaps it is not surprising then that the attorney who he mentored to take over the Trust and Estate Planning Group that Ken chaired for decades happens to be Japanese American.
Ken has been especially supportive of members of the LGBT community both within and outside of the firm. For example, at one point, a GSB attorney experienced obvious homophobia from one of the firm’s major clients. When Ken heard of it, he traveled to Alaska to present in person a choice for that client: the client could either modify his behavior or change law firms. Happily, the client chose the first option and was able to continue with the firm. Outside the firm, he played a prominent role in his church officially becoming an "open and affirming" congregation that expressly welcomes people of all sexual identification and orientation into the life of the church.
In the legal community, Ken not only encouraged the firm to support the minority bar associations, but he felt it was important for him, as a name partner, to show his personal support by attending their annual events. He particularly enjoyed and has fond memories of attending the annual Loren Miller Bar Association Gala with his wife, Lucia, and LMBA founder Lembhard Howell and his wife, Pat, which whom the Schuberts have been friends since Ken and Lem clerked together at the Washington State Supreme Court in 1965.
Upon retiring, the firm wanted to honor Ken in a way that would encapsulate his legacy at the firm. When asked, Ken and Lucia felt that an ongoing commitment to diversity would be the best way to do so because they remembered the difference that Ken's scholarship to the University of Washington School of Law made - a scholarship he gave up in his second year of law school, when Lucia started working full-time as a teacher, in order for the scholarship to go to a student with even greater financial need. And so it was that, when Ken retired in 2014, the firm established the very aptly named Kenneth L. Schubert Jr. Diversity Fellowship Program.