Timeline

  • 1943

    I was born on October 11, 1943. OKAY, OKAY, I don't remember this day, but like my mother’s maiden name everyone expects me to remember my birthday so it is memorable.
  • 1948

    My father installs a toilet in the gas station which is only 20 feet from the 12x18 foot cabin we live in. I don't have to use the outhouse any more.
  • 1952

    My sister Jan is born. I am not happy; I had a good thing going as an only child.
  • 1953

    Because the cabin behind the gas station will not accommodate a family of four, we move to a proper house. I decide my sister isn't so bad after all.
  • 1957

    My brother Jeff is born. He is a loveable kid from the start. I realize that because of my parents’ hard work we are becoming a middle class family.
  • 1961

    I am selected “Best Dancer” of Wapato High School and “Most Inspirational Player” on the football team.
  • 1962

    I graduate from high school and attend Yakima Valley College on a football scholarship. Neither I nor the college has a clue that some day I will be selected as a Distinguished Alumnus.
  • 1965

    I receive my first semester of straight “A”s from Washington State University. And, I am mid-season champion at Yakima Speedway in the Hidden Modified Class; a big step up from the jalopies I started racing. I also sell my race car for $800 which is enough money to pay for a full semester of tuition, books, and room and board at WSU.
  • 1966

    I graduate from WSU. My father loads my furniture into his 1954 Dodge pickup truck and transports me to Olympia. I have been select to work as a “Governors Intern” for the summer. Dan Evans is governor and James Dolliver is his administrative assistant. I have been accepted to law school. A couple of times during the summer I look in awe into the courtroom of the Washington Supreme Court.
  • 1967

    On June 11, 1967, a date it is imperative I remember, I marry Judy Cable. She lived about one block from our house in Wapato but she is three years younger and we didn't start dating until college. We are still married. We move into Holly Park, a low income housing project. I become the first president of the Holly Park Area Community Council.
  • 1969

    Seattle is in a recession. A billboard reads, “Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn off the lights.” I graduate from the University of Washington School of Law and find a job with a 13-person Seattle law firm, Lycette, Diamond, and Sylvester.
  • 1970

    Judy and I purchase our first house for $20,000; our first child, Jolie, is born; and I grow up.
  • 1971

    I start flying lessons. I still fly and have ownership interests in two airplanes.
  • 1972

    Our second daughter, Jana, is born.
  • 1975

    Our son, Tom, is born. Judy and I decide our little family of five is just right.
  • 1979

    I am very proud that exactly 10 years after moving out of the low income housing project we purchase a waterfront home on Lake Sammamish.  There are no traffic lights yet in the small town of Issaquah. We still live in the house.
  • 1984

    We purchase an old mortuary on Capital Hill in Seattle, convert it to an office building, and I move my law firm there.
  • 1985

    Serve as president of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.
  • 1987

    I begin a three-year term on the national Board of Governors of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Four times a year Judy and I get to travel to some cool meeting site like Boston, Tampa Bay, or Washington DC.
  • 1989

    I am selected as the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.
  • 1992

    I am published. I publish a two-volume, 1,000 page book, “Tom Chambers Trial Notebook.” I also write, produce, and am the “talent” for two video tapes: “Preparing for Your Defense Medical Exam” and “Preparing for Your Deposition in a Personal Injury Case.”
  • 1993

    I serve as president of Damages Attorney’s Round Table (DART). DART is a group of preeminent trial lawyers.
  • 1993

    I serve as president of American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) – Washington State Chapter. ABOTA is composed of one-half plaintiff trial lawyers and one-half defense trial lawyers all dedicated to protecting and improving the right of trial by jury.
  • 1995

    I began serving as president of the Washington State Bar Association. The association has 22,000 members and a multimillion dollar budget. I travel the state and meet many, many wonderful people.
  • 1996

    I am selected as the Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) – Washington State Chapter.
  • 1999

    Judy and I receive the “Good Neighbor” award for 20 years of service to the residents of the Seattle Housing Authority. We have been very fortunate and we have been giving back. I am also serving on the King County United Way Board, the Providence Hospital Foundation Board, and the Rise N’ Shine Board. Judy is doing international humanitarian work with International Smile Power Foundation. Finally, our first grandchild is born.
  • 2000

    I am elected to the Washington Supreme Court, the state’s highest court.  Pinch me. Only in America could all of this happen to a kid raised behind a gas station.
  • 2006

    I am selected Outstanding Judge of the Year by King County Washington Women Lawyers and reelected to a second six-year term on the Washington Supreme Court.  Perhaps looking forward to another career, at age 63, I earn my Dive Master scuba diving rating which would allow me to work as a professional scuba diving guide.
  • 2012

    I am awarded lifetime achievement awards from the Washington State Bar Association and the National Association of Trial Advocates (first Lifetime Achievement Award by this organization in 9 years) and selected Out Standing Judge of the Year by the Washington State Association of Justice.  I retire from the Washington Supreme Court effective Dec. 31, 2012.
  • 2013

    I am advised life if short.  My cancer cannot be cured and am told I have 3 to 6 months to live.  The Washington State Association of Justice renames its Trial Lawyer of the Year Award the Tom Chambers Trial Lawyer of the Year and in the future a bust of me will be presented to the recipient.