Witherspoon Kelley Law Firm Honored with 2016 Madison Award.

Witherspoon Kelley Law Firm Honored with 2016 Madison Award

By Peggy Watt

The Spokane-based law firm Witherspoon Kelley was honored in September with the 2016 James Madison Award at the annual Madison/Andersen Awards breakfast.

Toby Nixon with Joel Hazel, accepting the 2016 Madison Award for Witherspoon Kelley.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government annually presents the Madison Award to an organization or individual who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the cause of open government through “exemplary words or deeds.”

In presenting the award, WCOG President Toby Nixon quoted Madison’s affirmation that “a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives,” noting that transparency and knowledge was enhanced with many hours of Witherspoon Kelley attorneys’ work on access issues.

“This outstanding firm has an ongoing history of service to the cause of open government,” Nixon said. He cited the firm’s many amicus briefs in cases involving WCOG, and its numerous pro bono contributions on open government cases.

Attorney Joel Hazel, accepting the award on behalf of Witherspoon Kelley, thanked the firm’s clients, “in particular Cowles Publishing – the Spokesman-Review – for giving us the opportunity to work on these cases for decades.” He also acknowledged several partners, notably Duane M. Swinton and Steve Dixson, who have been strong advocates for sustained work on open government issues. The firm has also long participated on the WCOG board, and is currently represented by Emily Arneson.

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