Ron’s background is broadly diverse, distinguished by high accomplishments and excellent results, and rooted in his longstanding private sector, professional and business management experiences, public service, and humanitarian and freedom concerns.
Since 1976, Ron has lived in Seattle, where he’s raised a family, greatly enjoyed living in our diverse community, and been a very successful business owner, managing partner, partner, associate and Of Counsel in a respected Seattle law firm. Ron and his wife have two adult children, and his personal interests include writing, reading and teaching about American history, composing music, singing, piano, biking, tennis, jogging, skiing, and travel.
Ron Bemis grew up in a family of teachers. His mother, grandparents, sister, and wife -- and he -- have all taught in public schools, and he’s long appreciated the importance of having good teachers, an affordable education and entry-level job opportunities. Throughout his youth and school years, Ron mowed lawns, did yard work, childcare, delivered newspapers, and rented recreational equipment to earn money.
In 1969, Ron graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where the combined ethnic minorities were the majority of students. He was elected as their Student Body Vice President, achieved a top 1% GPA of the nearly 900 in his class, lettered in 3 sports (including placing 12th in the California State Cross Country final), was selected as 1 of only 2 students in the entire City to be its Sister City representatives to Japan, and received Phi Beta Kappa recognition, the Yale Prize for Citizenship, and many other honors. Selected as Commencement Speaker at graduation, Ron spoke of healing racial wounds from riots in the school and city after the tragic deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.
College and Law School years
Ron worked his way through college and law school by waiting tables, working in a book store, and working long hours each of four summers on the nightshift in a steel supply warehouse – a union job. At Willamette University (B.A., Political Science, 1973), Ron studied American government, politics, history, and constitutional law. Ron interned for the Oregon House Majority Leader, Democrat Les AuCoin. He was Willamette's Freshman Glee Manager, traveled to Europe with its Choir, and attended an Institute of International Education program at the College of Europe in Belgium.
At Hastings College of the Law, University of California (J.D., 1976), Ron was competitively selected for Hastings’ Moot Court team, which placed 1st in the West and 2nd in the Nation. He interned in a neighborhood legal clinic for lower income people. Ron was also chosen for Hastings’ Moot Court Board and as a student instructor and advisor in advocacy and legal writing. Ron passed both the Washington and California State Bar exams. He's been a member of local, national and international legal associations and been admitted to practice in the State, Federal and U.S. Supreme courts.
Professional and Business Accomplishments
In his civil litigation practice of more than three decades, Ron Bemis has highly effectively represented different sides and views, plaintiffs and defendants. He’s long been rated at the highest level (preeminent) by his peers for legal ability and legal ethics in the Martindale National Attorneys Directory and is recognized as a Top Lawyer in Civil Litigation (e.g., Seattle Metropolitan Magazine). At one of the oldest and most respected Seattle law firms, Stafford Frey Cooper, for a period of over 30 years, Ron gained private sector, professional and business management experience at every level (Associate 1976-1980, Partner 1981-1999 including 10 years in its business management, adding jobs and serving as its managing partner, and Of Counsel 2000-2011).
Ron Bemis has won every jury trial (as chief counsel, and all but one as a secondary counsel) over a 30 year legal career.
Ron has a history of being able to cut through complicated issues and achieve unprecedented results. Many of his cases have been high stakes, complex, and ‘firsts’ in the State or in the Nation. His proven record of outstanding results has included, among other representative cases:
- a $6 million homeowners’ recovery against an oil company’s underground gasoline leaks (1990’s);
- a $2.5 million recovery, a record, for a student harmed by a 5th grade teacher’s sexual abuse (2008);
- large recoveries for other students and families harmed by a teacher’s unreported misconduct (2008, 2010);
- verdicts and large recoveries for teenaged patients harmed by pediatrician’s sexualized misconduct (2008, 2011);
- a $4.25 million verdict for a baby’s lifelong brain injury caused by a hospital’s delayed delivery (2008);
- the 1st trial in the U.S. for property damage claims against asbestos mixed-product defendants at trial (1989); and
- the 1st defense verdicts in the State in both the formaldehyde (1984) and asbestos (1984) personal injury litigations.
Community Service, Teaching, and Election Accomplishments
Ron Bemis also has a long and diverse history of public service activities and accomplishments, including:
Washington State Chairperson for “Law Week in Schools”: attorneys and judges volunteering to teach students in classes all across the state each year about civics, the constitution, and legal rights (Washington State Bar Association)
Elected by the King County Bar Association (KCBA) attorneys and judges to its Board of Trustees, 3 years
Instructor of Trial Advocacy (Advanced & Basic), University of Washington Law School
Teacher and Instructor of Legal Skills, The National Institute of Trial Advocacy
Co-author, “Civil Trial Practice’ supplement, Wash. Lawyers Practice Manual, KCBA
Chairperson/Member, Judicial Screening Committee, KCBA, which broadly and impartially evaluates and rates, for the public's information, all candidates for judge for the King County Superior, Appellate, and State Supreme Courts
Member, Legislation and Judicial Fair Campaign Practices Committees, KCBA
Leader, YMCA Guides, Scouts
Member, Seattle Symphony Chorale
Member, University Presbyterian Church, Seattle
Board of Directors, Center for Civil Society International, a nonprofit organization helping people in the
former SovietUnion and elsewhere to develop independent associations and build democratic alternatives
to dictatorships or totalitarianism
Seattle Peace and Freedom Coalition, a multi-ethnic association of groups promoting recognition of
human rights and nonviolent change in nations under Communist rule
Co-leader/spokesperson for Seattle Initiative 30 for Responsible Immigration, a 1986 grassroots peoples’
initiative which won with 55% of Seattle voters, against the odds