Malcolm L. Edwards
February 28, 1932-September 14, 2019
Malcolm Edwards was born in Grays Harbor County on February 28, 1932. His father was an oyster farmer who brought the Kumamoto strain to Washington—as an adult, Malcolm would never eat oysters, which were a staple of his Depression-era childhood. Malcolm attended Washington State University for his undergraduate education and graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Washington School of Law in 1957. After teaching law in Nebraska, he returned to Seattle where he practiced law with his fellow UW alum Murray Guterson and with Bill Dwyer, later a federal district court judge. Malcolm (“Mac” to those who knew him before the early ‘70s) set out on his own in the late 1960s, where he quickly established a firm that continues to this day. Justice Charlie Wiggins of the Washington Supreme Court was a former partner; he and several appellate lawyers got their start at the firm.
Malcolm was the quintessential “lawyer’s lawyer.” He was (as were most lawyers when he went into practice) a generalist, and could draft an air-tight will or contract with skill and ease. But other lawyers (in much larger, “white shoe” firms) referred and consulted with him on their “tough” litigated cases. He became Washington’s first appellate lawyer, arguing over one hundred appeals in all three divisions of the Court of Appeals, the Washington Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit. He was particularly pleased that he was able to cite Marbury v. Madison in response to a question from Justice Scalia during his argument in Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20 (1984) in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Malcolm chaired the Judicial Council Task Force that resulted in the creation of Washington’s Rules of Appellate Procedure, originally promulgated in 1976, and was active in improving the RAPs over the next two decades. Malcolm was a founding member and a past President of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a founding member of the Washington Appellate Lawyers Association, and was the first editor-in-chief of the WSBA’s Appellate Practice Deskbook.Malcolm was a thoughtful and passionate photographer, and after he had largely retired from the practice of law in the mid-1990s he for many years maintained a photography studio in Pioneer Square. He was a member of and President of the Board of the Photographic Center Northwest School and a member of the Board of the Blue Earth Alliance, a non-profit group devoted to cultural and environmental awareness through photography. He was also on the Executive Committee of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park fundraising committee. He still made time to provide his common sense advice and quiet wisdom in evaluating cases and helping advocates prepare for oral argument until well into this century.