Mary was elected State Supreme Court Justice in 2002, taking office the following year. She was re-elected in 2008 and will seek re-election in 2014. Following graduation, Mary clerked with Chief Justice William H. Williams and Justice William C. Goodloe for two years as a Supreme Court clerk, then became an assistant attorney general, where she worked for Attorneys General Christine Gregoire and Ken Eikenberry. She specialized in the areas of criminal justice, transportation, revenue and labor.
Mary is active on numerous committees that deal with diversity and access to justice, and making an impact on the lives of Washington citizens. She organized the first statewide conferences on domestic violence, planned and facilitated a youth violence summit, and organized and moderated conferences dealing with sex offenders in the community. She has also worked to enhance opportunities for women and minorities in the profession and to ensure access to justice for low-income individuals and families.
Mary was the second woman and the youngest attorney ever to serve as the president of the Washington State Bar Association. She also served on the Bar Board of Governors, representing the Third Congressional District and as President of the Washington Women Lawyers.
Seattle University Law School recently established the Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Public Interest Law Foundation Grant, which works to broaden opportunities and experiences for Seattle University School of Law students who aim to pursue public interest legal careers.
Mary comes from a long line of family members with ties to Gonzaga, starting with her grandfather, Cyril Fairhurst, who graduated from Gonzaga in 1912, followed by her father Stan Fairhurst, who earned his B.A. and M.A., and who also served as a vice president at Gonzaga University for many years, as well as numerous siblings and other family members.