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About Richard S. White

Leaving Iwo Jima – May 27, 1945 / Lieutenant Richard S. White, Far Left

Meet Rich (1920 – 2012)

Richard S. White was born in New York City in 1920. He graduated from Phillips Academy (Andover), Hamilton College and Yale Law School, where he was a member of the board of the Yale Law Journal and won the prize for best mock court presentation to a jury.

With the outbreak of World War II, Rich joined the U.S. Marine Corps and studied Japanese at the Navy School at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He became a Marine combat intelligence officer, serving with the 28th Marine Regiment, which captured Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

Rich earned a Bronze Star for his efforts at talking Japanese soldiers out of their caves (oral advocacy at its best), and, as he put it, he “was lucky enough to survive.”

After serving in the military and a stint in peacetime Japan, Rich finished law school at Yale in 1946 and left New York “for the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.”

In 1952 Rich joined the Seattle law firm of Helsell Paul Fetterman (now Helsell Fetterman LLP). His varied practice included antitrust cases in the flour, sugar, milk, telephone, whiskey, beer, sports, timber, mint oil, peat moss and cruise ship industries, among others.

Rich also represented the City of Seattle as special counsel in building Gorge Dam and in contractor claims for City Light involving Ross Powerhouse and raising Diablo Dam on the Skagit River, and in obtaining Federal Power Commission licenses for Boundary Dam and High Ross Dam.

Rich liked to say that he never had a dull moment since he started practicing law and never regretted leaving Manhattan for the Northwest. He passed away in January 2012, after an esteemed career of six decades at Helsell Fetterman. Rich was an inspiration to all in terms of his hard work, vigorous advocacy, and above all, professionalism.

With his years of service in the military and six decades upholding justice for all at Helsell Fetterman, Rich lived a life dedicated to his country and community.

Helsell Fetterman is proud to name its diversity scholarship after Richard S. White.

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