The Asian Bar Association of Washington (ABAW) has awarded Imm. Past Fellows Chair Honorable Eileen A. Kato (Ret.) with the 2021 ABAW President’s Award in recognition of her service with the Pro Bono Legal Clinic. The clinic, which is run by ABAW in partnership with the Chinese Information and Services Center, provides workshops, volunteer attorneys, and translators to local Asian and Pacific Islander community members who face cultural and/or linguistic barriers in accessing the judicial system. Judge Kato aided the clinic’s transition to virtual operations by hosting weekly Zoom workshops, far exceeding the average quarterly service provided by most volunteers.
Judge Kato, who retired from her career as a King County District Court Judge in 2016, has a long history of service within the legal profession. In addition to serving as an ABF Fellows Officer, Judge Kato has been active with organizations such as the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Justice at Stake, the American Bar Association, and the Washington State District and Municipal Court Judge’s Association (DMCJA). For the ABA, she was Chair of the Judicial Division Conference of Specialized Court Judges and an editorial board member for the Judge’s Journal. She served as President for the DMCJA, as well as Chair for its Education Committee and DUI Regional Education Programs. Currently, Judge Kato is a consultant for the National Center for State Courts, a faculty member of the National Judicial College, an executive committee member of the International Organization for Judicial Training, and a volunteer for the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinic.