Rick was named the Center’s Executive Director in February 2012. He joined CFJ as a staff attorney in 2004, specializing in environmental and land use litigation. He became the first Spokane Riverkeeper in 2009 and served in that position for over a year. Prior to joining the Center, Rick had the honor of representing the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho for seven years on a variety of environmental, natural resource, cultural resource, and treaty-rights protection cases. Rick received his J.D. and a certificate in environmental and natural resources law from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Rick is a graduate of Leadership Spokane class of 2013. When he’s away from work, Rick is focused on his son Noah and his daughter Violet and occasionally has time to whitewater raft, hike, or cross-country ski.
Kendel joined the team as Development Director in 2013. A Spokane native, Kendel attended Whitworth University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies. After graduating she began to pursue a career in nonprofit development at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. Kendel is passionate about giving back - she volunteers as a Crisis Response Advocate and serves on the SAFeT Advisory Board at Lutheran Community Services and volunteers with the Spokane Regional Health District’s needle exchange outreach program. In her spare time she enjoys hot yoga, running, reading, and baking.
Danette Lanet joined CFJ as a Paralegal in December, 2010. A Spokane native, Danette holds a BA in History and an MBA, from Gonzaga University and has worked in the legal field since 1996. Danette appreciates the unpredictable nature of the law and the frequent interactions with clients. Her greatest gifts are her children, Logan (5) and Emma (9 months). In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, watching sports, being crafty and cooking.
Randi provides part-time support and assistance to the Development Director by producing the quarterly e-newsletter, helping to organize events and fundraisers, providing graphic design and assisting in strengthening community relationships with the Center. She grew up in Spokane, but spent 16 years in Alaska working for the advancement and support of Alaska Natives in the field of higher education, sovereignty and environmental protection. Also a small business owner, her dream is to one day advance employment opportunities and overall support for parents of children from birth to age 6 by opening a child care centered, fair-trade, organic apparel manufacturing, distribution and screen printing company in Spokane featuring a retail shop with brand lines designed by local artists of all ages. Randi holds a BA in Recreation Management from Eastern Washington University and a Certificate in Small Business Management from University of Alaska Southeast.
Barry advocates for clients facing problems with housing, discrimination, public benefits, and consumer protection issues. He is also focused on increasing cooperation between the medical and legal professions to lower costs and improve outcomes.
Barry is a fifth generation commercial fisherman and also served six years in the US Navy Nuclear Power Program. After his honorable discharge, he finished undergraduate studies and spent several years in politics, working for a congressman, state senator, and two governors. His last job before entering law school at Gonzaga University was with a non-profit, advocating for modernization of the power grid to increase efficiency and sustainable power generation.
Barry was an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project, Washington’s publicly funded legal aid program, for three years prior to joining the team here at CFJ. He is accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and is admitted to practice in Washington, the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Washington, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Suellen Pritchard’s first connection with CFJ was as a client seeking assistance in securing custody of her children. During that successful effort, a CFJ attorney urged her to enroll at a local community college to receive training as a paralegal. With this encouragement, she went to school and also worked during this period as an intern at the Center. In 2001, the Center offered her a full-time job organizing and supervising our driver re-licensing program. Since then, she’s emerged as a community leader on issues of poverty, connecting people and families with vital services, and advancing policy changes to empower people rising from poverty or in need of a second chance. Her latest assignment is to work with staff attorney Barry to develop and implement our Health & Justice Initiative. The initiative is a medical-legal partnership whose purpose is to help physicians and patients overcome obstacles to the delivery of quality medical care. Suellen is a mother of four. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and canning. Her favorite thing to do is to spend time with her husband, Dennis, her children, and grandchildren.
Lisa joined the Center as an Accountant in 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland. She trained with the international accounting firm Price Waterhouse (Coopers). A year after qualifying she moved to a government enterprise company assisting small start-ups, applying for grants and managing European Funding. Looking to expand her experience she joined Scottish and Newcastle Breweries. There, she had various roles: internal auditor; Finance Manager of the International Export company; and Marketing Accountant. Originally from Scotland, Lisa moved to Spokane in 2004 with her family on an overseas assignment for two years, and has remained here ever since. In her spare time she loves to ski, run, walk, bike and generally be active outside with her family. She also likes to read and cook family meals.
Julie joined the Center’s legal staff in 2010. She works to end cycles of poverty and incarceration through both direct client advocacy and influencing local and state policy in the area of criminal justice. Specifically, she focuses on legal financial obligations, removing barriers imposed by old criminal convictions, reinstating driver’s licenses, and police accountability.
Julie attended University of Washington law school and spent much of her out-of-class time on the San Juan islands, advocating for shoreline and marine protections. She landed her first legal position with the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office, in its environmental and land use division. After taking a six month hiatus from law to pursue outdoor adventures in Alaska, she returned to her hometown of Spokane. In 2013 Julie was selected as a member of the Washington Leadership Institute, which trains and develops attorneys for leadership positions.
Virla has been the Center’s Outreach Coordinator since 2011. Born in Arkansas, Virla came to Spokane as a teen in the midst of a family crisis. By her own admission, she has lived a difficult life, one that includes a felony conviction in 2001 for malicious mischief. But few people have harvested their hardships better than Virla Spencer. Though Virla first came to the Center as a client in 2005–to restore her driver’s license–she returned in 2009 as volunteer, and then filled an Americorps Vista position as Outreach Director. Since then she has distinguished herself not only with her outreach skills but as a knowledgeable, savvy, and forcefully articulate advocate for the needs and rights of the underprivileged in our community. In 2012 she was invited to join the Board of Directors of Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP) the region’s oldest and most prestigious service and advocacy organization for the needs of low income people. Virla is the single mother of four girls, two boys, and also cares for a live-in nephew. She is active in the Church of Berachah and regularly volunteers at Truth Ministries in Spokane to help feed homeless and disadvantaged men. “I believe I was created to serve others,” Virla says, “Everything that has revolved around my life has made me better prepared and better able to serve other people.” Spokane’s weekly newspaper, The Inlander, recognized Virla’s heart and her talents for making a positive difference in other people’s lives with a 2013 Peirone Prize.
Jerry was born in Corvallis, Oregon near the Willamette River. His family moved to Cheney where he grew up exploring the lakes, rivers and forests of the area. From a young age he traveled each spring to fish for native Chinook salmon with his grandfather on the Willamette. Jerry has a long history of working to protect rivers in the Inland Northwest. As a former staff member of Save our Wild Salmon, Jerry advocated for the restoration and protection of native Snake River salmon and steelhead. He has worked for native trout as conservation chair and continues to volunteer for the Spokane Falls Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Currently, he is a board member of Inland Northwest Nature Connection. He loves to spend time on the Spokane River fly fishing for trout, rowing his drift boat, shooting one of his longbows or backcountry skiing on the very snow that feeds our River. Jerry lives with his wife, two sons and two barky heeler dogs within earshot of the Spokane River.
Jeffry Finer (of counsel)
In his thirty years as a lawyer, Jeff has become well known for litigating high-profile civil rights cases including the nationally known Spokane Gypsy case and a Spokane clinic picketing case in which he successfully advocated for the privacy rights of women seeking abortions. His cases have taken him to every level of the American justice system, including a 1996 case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Among the active cases Jeff brings to the Center for Justice are those involving the deaths of Otto Zehm and Trent Yohe, both of whom died while being taken into custody by Spokane area law enforcement officers. Jeff was named Spokane’s top civil rights lawyer for three years in a row by Spokane Living Magazine. Before moving to Spokane in 1984, Jeff earned his undergraduate degree at Yale (Fine Arts) and his law degree from the New Mexico School of Law. For the past eight years he has taught as an adjunct professor at Gonzaga Law School, focusing on courses in trial practice and criminal law. Jeff is married to Spokane physician Stacie Bering who is well known and admired in Spokane for her work as an obstetrician and, more recently, a palliative care provider and beloved teacher. They have two children: Zack is a college student in British Columbia and Cassie manages an REI store in California. Jeff loves telemark skiing and spending time in his backyard studio where he paints in oils and beeswax. If you catch him with any free time, he’s probably playing the ancient board game, Go, on the computer.