This Women’s History Month, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is highlighting some of the depth and breadth of women leaders in our office as part of our “Women in Leadership” series. These profiles are only a few of the many amazing women in our office.

Sarah Jackson, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Family Support Division.

How long have you worked at the PAO?

15 years.

What is your role in the PAO?

I am a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Family Support Division. I started in the Criminal Division, later moved to the Civil Division, and am now in the Family Support Division.

In Family Support, our client is the State of Washington, specifically the Division of Child Support family law matters — parentage cases, child support cases, and contempt cases.

What were you doing before coming to the PAO?

I came to the PAO straight out of law school. I did undergrad at Washington State University, went to law school at Temple University. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be a Rule 9 intern during my second summer of law school and joined the office immediately after graduation and passing the bar.

What are some of your goals in regards to the work you do?

When I joined this office, Norm Maleng made clear that our goal was to do justice. My goal is to do justice from the moment a case hits my desk to the moment it is closed. My goal is to do my best every day to ensure each decision I make from how I speak to litigants, whether I file a case, to the recommendations I make to the court are made in a fair and equitable manner. The decisions I make affect people’s finances and children. These are decisions I do not take lightly and I want every decision I make to reflect the goal of doing justice in a fair and equitable manner.

How have you seen some of those changes play out over time?

We have an obligation to the communities we serve. We must acknowledge the wrongs from our past. We have to realize that the way we’ve always done things may not be how we continue to do things. And the way we’re doing things now may not be the way we do them a year from now. To fulfill this goal, our office has been forced/chosen to have some hard, uncomfortable conversations that have led to some groundbreaking policies that are moving us toward this goal.

What sort of obstacles have you faced in your field? What was it like dealing with those?

As a Black woman with Black children and a Black family, and being a part of the Black community, it’s difficult to be part of a system that you know has harmed your community and, in certain ways, continues to harm your community. That is compounded by the micro (and often blatant) aggressions ever present in the legal field toward woman and particularly Black woman. At times it can extremely difficult to decide to join or remain in this field.

I have dealt with the struggle by realizing this office is better when there are diverse people at the table, bringing ideas and creating policies. Our office holds a lot of power in the legal system, and for this office to succeed and do the work that we need to do, we need to make sure the people who are at the table represent the communities we serve and have a common goal of moving this office to become a more just, fair and equitable office, both inside and out. In addition, I have had the privilege of working with many supervisors, fellow attorneys and staff members both inside and outside of this office that have supported, encouraged, inspired and mentored me in the Criminal, Civil and the Family Support Division. I am extremely grateful for those people.

What advice would you give to other women and women of color who are considering a similar career path?

As I look at some of the deputies that have joined this office after me, they are amazing. I would tell other Black women to do it; we need you here. We need diverse women in this office, at the table making decisions, and in leadership roles.

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Catch up with the entire KCPAO Women in Leadership series on our blog at kcprosecutor.medium.com.