Retiring Judge James Swanger will be succeeded by Willamette Law’s Chad Sleight JD’03 on the Clark County (Washington) District Court. The Clark County council appointed Sleight to the position after interviewing four candidates. He begins in March.
Sleight said he was shocked and humbled to be chosen.
“I finished in the middle of the (Clark County Bar Association’s preference poll),” Sleight said. “On paper, my resume is pretty good because of my legal experience and work as (judge) pro tem. I hoped this day would come someday.”
Sleight currently works as a criminal defense attorney for his own practice. He also serves as a judge pro tem for the District Court, filling in when the sitting judge is gone, and is the president of the Clark County Bar Association. The council appointed him unanimously to the District Court, noting his experience and passion for law.
“He had great enthusiasm,” said Marc Boldt, council chair. “He seemed to really have a little more empathy for the people in front of (the judges). He is the kind of person who will bring change to the court, if we need it, in terms of budget and policy.”
Sleight has lived in Clark County his entire life, aside from his years at Willamette Law. He worked for the Vancouver Defenders and Wheeler, Montgomery & Boyd law firms before opening his private practice. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in 2000 and his JD from Willamette in 2003.
To keep his seat, he will have to run for election in November 2018.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.