During his legal career, John Ruhl has demonstrated his strong commitment to serving our community and our courts and the legal profession:

Community and Civic Activities

  • The Paul H. Chapman Award

    The Paul H. Chapman Award

    Leader in Establishing   In 2006, as KCBA president, John led the broad-based state-wide effort to establish Washington’s non-partisan, nationally award-winning on-line judicial voter guide,, which in 2007 was awarded the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, the ABA’s highest award for public legal education projects; and the Paul H. Chapman Award, from the Atlanta, Georgia-based Foundation for Improvement of Justice.

  • Founding President, Dispute Resolution Center of King County, 1986-1988; and member of board of directors,1986-2012.  The Center trains and provides volunteer mediators for community-based mediation services throughout King County, and provides mediators in the Small Claims Courts of the King County District Courts.
  • Trustee, King County Bar Foundation, 2010-present.  The Foundations’ mission is to raise funds to support the King County Bar Association’s pro bono legal services programs and to provide scholarships for minority law students at the two law schools in Seattle.
  • Mentor, Vietnamese-American Bar Association of Washingtons Mentorship Program for law students and new lawyers, 2014-present.
  • Director of King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics Program, 1983-1984; Central Legal Clinic coordinator,1982-1985; and volunteer lawyer, 1981-1986.
  • Special Disciplinary Counsel for the Washington State Bar Association, 2001-2014. As special disciplinary counsel for the WSBA, John prosecuted cases involving violations of Washington’s Code of Professional Conduct by lawyers.
  • Volunteer Lawyer, Catholic Community Services Legal Action Center, Seattle, 1980-1982.
  • President, School Commission, St. Catherine Parish, Seattle, 1998-1999.
  • Member, Parish Council, St. Catherine Parish, Seattle, 1990s.



  • Selected by peers for inclusion in Washington Law and Politics Magazine’s “Super Lawyers” editions, 2001 and 2007-2014.
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Transportation, American Lawyer Media, 2013-2014.
  • “AV” Rating, Martindale Hubbell, 1993-2014.
  • Editorial Award, Western Washington Society of Professional Journalists, for King County Bar Bulletin editorial, 2007.
  • Outstanding Director Award, Dispute Resolution Center of King County, 1997.
  • Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, King County Bar Association, 1986.
  • Seattle University Graduates Club Award (awarded to graduating varsity athlete with highest cumulative grade point average), 1974.


Selected Articles

  • Case Comment, “Evans v. United Airlines, Inc.,” 52 Notre Dame Lawyer 364 (1977).
  • “Enforcing Mechanics’ Materialmen’s and Laborers’ Liens,” Washington Lawyers Practice Manual (author and editor, 1988-2005).
  • “Federal Liability for Transportation of Hazardous Wastes,” 18 Transportation Law Journal (Fall 1989).
  • “Alternate Fee Arrangements,” Washington State Bar News (September 1998).
  • “Motor Carrier Insurance Policies: What You Think You See May Not Be What You Get,” 6 Transportation Lawyer (No. 4, February 1998).
  • “CERCLA Liability – Let the Buyer Beware,” Transportation Lawyer (February 1997).
  • “Reclamation and Stoppage of Goods in Bankruptcy,” Bankruptcy Litigation (Newsletter of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Committee of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association) (vol. 3, no. 3, Summer 1995).
  • “Flood of Money Endangers Perception of Judges’Impartiality,”Washington State Bar News (April 2008).


Selected Continuing Legal Education Presentations

  • “Bankruptcy Trustee’s Avoidance Powers,” Risk Management Association, Puget Sound Chapter Annual Conference (May 2012).
  • “Significant Recent Legal Developments for Freight Brokers, Freight Forwarders and Warehouse Operators,” Transportation Lawyers Association Annual Conference (May 2012).
  • “Enforcing Commercial Guaranties In and Out of Bankruptcy Court,” Risk Management Association, Puget Sound Chapter Annual Conference (March 2011).
  • “Ten Commandments for Avoiding Lender Liability,” Risk Management Association, Puget Sound Chapter Annual Conference (April 2010).
  • “Conflicts-of-Law Issues In Class Actions,” Transportation Lawyers Association Annual Conference (May 2009).
  • “Case Initiation and Service of Process in the United States District Courts,” Washington State Bar Association Continuing Education Seminar (November 2001).
  • “Admissibility of Extrinsic Evidence in Commercial Lending Litigation,” Washington State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Seminar (March 1995).
  • “Primer on Bankruptcy Planning for Businesses,” Transportation Lawyers Association Annual Conference (1991).
  • “Enforcing Security Interests and Personal Property Liens in Washington,” Lorman Business Center Continuing Legal Education Seminars (1989-1990).