Appointed in 2013, Purcell represents Washington State in some of its most important appellate matters in state and federal courts. In February, Purcell received national attention for successfully challenging the Trump Administration’s first travel ban Executive Order.
Purcell choosing to speak at the conference is about more than sharing legal insights. He will be in a room with others who choose to advocate for the rights of people who often have the least access to representation and corridors of power. Conference attendees will recognize Purcell’s journey, including how the choices for advocacy and the skills to succeed formed over years not days.
For Purcell, one can go back to his childhood, when his parents chose to live in a neighborhood known for racial and economic diversity. As Noah’s mother said, their children learned cultural and ethnic diversity was “not something to fear, but to be embraced.”
The journey and the lessons continued at the University of Washington. Here, he and Jasmin Weaver, a classmate from high school who would become his wife, felt the first sterile chill that comes with lack of diversity.
Said Jasmin in an interview, “Noah and I went to Franklin High School in Seattle, an inner-city public school where most of our fellow students were from low-income families in which neither parent had gone to college. We saw firsthand that many of our classmates did not go on to college because their families lacked the resources to pay for tuition, room and board and other expenses. That experience made us both committed to fighting to ensure that public colleges and universities in Washington remain affordable.”
Turning awareness to action, they formed Affordable Tuition Now! (ATN!) at UW, a student group advocating for more financial aid and accessible tuition prices. Jasmin sued the university after it charged students an energy fee and won.
Listening to Purcell, conference attendees may find themselves taking a moment to reflect on those moments and times in their life when choices of who to stand with and up for were made.
After UW, Purcell received a Masters in Economics from University College Dublin and a law degree at Harvard, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Noah then served as a law clerk to Judge David Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and to Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court.
At 37, the journey found him arguing what he’s called the most important case of his life in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Perhaps he was both motivated and comforted that part of his journey includes his mother-in-law, who emigrated from Iran and became a U.S. citizen. Said Purcell, “I don’t have a … monolithic view of any of these countries as a scary place.”
Share the journey with Noah Purcell at the conference, register now.