Lane Powell spearheads support to honor influential double Dawgs

When the Seattle law firm Lane Powell lost two of its influential and beloved attorneys in 2014, firm leaders knew they wanted to do something meaningful to honor their legacies.

They partnered with the University of Washington School of Law and the families of Ronald E. Beard ’89, ’93 and D. Wayne Gittinger ’54, 57 to establish a scholarship and professorship in their colleagues’ names. Lane Powell President Charles W. Riley said the firm directed its gifts and fundraising in ways that would have resonated with his friends and properly honors their lives.

The Ronald E. Beard Scholarship is given to a law student of color each year. Professor Ryan Calo is the first to hold the Lane Powell and Wayne Gittinger Professorship.

“Given their shared love of the University of Washington, we immediately focused our attention on the law school,” Riley said. “Establishing the professorship and the scholarship allowed us to recognize both of these great lawyers and at the same time support a wonderful institution.”

The firm took the lead on fundraising by making significant gifts and sponsoring events. Family, friends, and coworkers stepped in to make both the endowments happen in little time. Gittinger’s wife, Anne, was essential to helping both campaigns meet their goals.

Both men were highly respected attorneys and community members who spent their entire legal careers at Lane Powell.

Gittinger passed away March 6, 2014. He joined Lane Powell in 1959 and practiced corporate law for more than 50 years. The firm dedicated its conference center in his honor in 2012. Before his legal career, he was a pitcher for the Husky baseball team and a member of the Board of Editors of the Washington Law Review.

Shareholder Michael E. Morgan said it’s difficult to sum up Gittinger’s contribution to Lane Powell “because Wayne was our firm. To Wayne, everyone in the firm was treated like a member of the family. That meant we always had someone we could count on to help in times of need.”

Beard passed away just seven months after Gittinger, on Nov. 18, 2014. He joined Lane Powell in 1993 and had an active commercial litigation practice. He also represented municipalities in contract disputes and civil rights violations.

A legal career wasn’t a given for Beard, who fished for crab in the Bering Sea for seven years to pay his way through college and law school, said his widow, Pamela Beard. Her husband would have loved that the scholarship means other promising young law students won’t have to put off their studies to work, she said. Along with the financial help, Beard scholarship recipients will receive mentoring to encourage success in law school and the profession.

“You don’t see enough attorneys of color coming here to Washington, so we want to encourage them,” Pam Beard said. “Ron didn’t have people trailblazing for him. He had to figure it all out on his own.”

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