SAN FRANCISCO – The late Leslie R. Weatherhead, a respected Spokane attorney with a long history of exemplary service to the federal courts, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ninth Circuit’s prestigious John Frank Award. The award will be presented posthumously on July 17, 2017, during the opening session of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in San Francisco.
Mr. Weatherhead, who died of cancer in 2016, had been a practicing attorney in Spokane for more than three decades. At the time of his death at age 59, he had been a partner at Lee & Hayes, an intellectual property law firm, since 2013. For 30 years prior, he was a partner at Witherspoon Kelley Davenport & Toole, where his practice focused on litigation of complex commercial and regulatory disputes, white-collar defense, and pro-bono work.
Mr. Weatherhead practiced extensively in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also practiced in several state courts and was a member of the state bar associations of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Hawaii.
The John Frank Award honors an outstanding lawyer practicing in the federal courts of the western United States. Mr. Weatherhead was nominated by judges of the Eastern District of Washington in recognition of his contributions to the federal courts and his community.
From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Weatherhead served on the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board, which advises the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit on the case management and other matters. He chaired the group from 2004 to 2005. He also served as a lawyer representative to the Ninth
Circuit Judicial Conference, from 1990-1995, and chaired the Lawyer Representative Coordinating Committee from 1994-1995.
Mr. Weatherhead served on the board of trustees of the Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of Washington, from 1991-1997, and was the chapter president from 1996-1997. He was also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and served on the Washington State Bar Disciplinary Board from 1996-1999 and as a member pro tem from 2000 to 2002.
A native of Eugene, Oregon, Mr. Weatherhead received his B.A. from the University of Oregon Honors College in 1977 and his J.D. from the University of Washington in 1980. From 1980-1983 he served as deputy prosecutor and special assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Territory of Guam. He had been an adjunct professor at Gonzaga University Law School.
Attorney Peg Carew Toledo, current chair of the Advisory Board, will present the award. Accepting on behalf of the Weatherhead family will be attorney Geana M. Van Dessel, a member of the Lawyer Representatives Coordinating Committee from the Eastern District of Washington.
The John Frank Award was established in 2003 by the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit. Nominations are reviewed and a winner recommended by the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board. The award recognizes a lawyer who has “demonstrated outstanding character and integrity; dedication to the rule of law; proficiency as a trial and appellate lawyer; success in promoting collegiality among members of the bench and bar; and a lifetime of service to the federal courts of the Ninth Circuit.”
The late Mr. Frank was a renowned attorney in Phoenix who, over the course of a 62-year career, argued more than 500 appeals before the Arizona Court of Appeals, the Arizona Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, other federal circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, scheduled for July 17-20, 2017, in San Francisco, meets pursuant to Section 333 of Title 28 of the United States Code for “the purpose of considering the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within such circuit.” Some 600 judges, lawyers and court staff are expected to attend the conference.
The Ninth Circuit consists of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the federal district and bankruptcy courts and their related court units in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions.
– U.S. Courts for the Ninth Circuit