SEATTLE -- Attorney General-Elect Bob Ferguson today announced the selection of Seattle attorney Noah Guzzo Purcell as the new Solicitor General for the Washington State Attorney General's Office (AGO), replacing retiring Solicitor General Maureen Hart
"Washington has one of the most highly respected appellate practices in the nation," said Ferguson. "As a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk and an outstanding attorney, Noah is among the best and brightest lawyers in our state. He will be a tremendous leader to this outstanding legal team."
The Solicitor General's Office guides the AGO’s work in appellate cases, provides legal advice on issues of statewide significance, and coordinates the office's involvement in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, such as the recent challenge to the state's Top-Two Primary and a case challenging the state's law requiring the release of signatures on a referendum to overturn the state's civil union law.
The Office also coordinates the AGO's involvement in "friend of the court" briefs, prepares Attorney General Opinions, handles initiative and referendum issues, and serves as counsel to the Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, and Administrative Office of the Courts.
An attorney in Perkins Coie's Litigation and Appellate practices, Purcell's diverse litigation experience includes constitutional issues, antitrust claims, environmental law, preemption, campaign finance, and administrative law.
He has worked on voting rights cases throughout the country and is currently representing patients seeking access to medications in Stormans, Inc., et al. vs. Selecky, et al. This case, currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, involves a challenge to Washington State's Board of Pharmacy rules requiring pharmacies to guarantee timely access to medication, including emergency contraception. Purcell has provided pro bono representation to patients who would be harmed if the rules are struck down.
Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Purcell served in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of General Counsel from 2009-2010, advising on security and immigration issues and working extensively on the federal government's challenge to Arizona's immigration law.
After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, Purcell worked as a law clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge David Tatel of the D.C. Circuit.
"Noah was a terrific law clerk, and he'll be a terrific Solicitor General," said Souter, who also served as New Hampshire Attorney General from 1976-78.
A native of Seattle, Purcell attended Franklin High School, where he was introduced to the law by renowned teacher and mock trial coach Rick Nagel. At Franklin, Purcell also met his wife, Jasmin Weaver. Together they attended the University of Washington, where they both received Mary Gates Leadership Awards for their work founding and running Affordable Tuition Now!, a student advocacy group dedicated to keeping tuition at UW and other state universities affordable.
The couple lives in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle with their brand-new son, Desmond, who was born in May.
Hart is retiring in January after serving eight years as Solicitor General under Attorney General Rob McKenna. Hart joined the Attorney General's Office in 1978, and has served as chief counsel to the State Auditor and Office of Financial Management. She also served as chief of two AGO divisions and as the Solicitor General in 1997.
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For more information: Janelle Guthrie, APR, Communications Director, 360-586-0725