AILA Presents the Washington v. Trump Litigation Team with the 2017 Jack Wasserman Memorial Award

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will recognize the Washington v. Trump Litigation Team: Bob Ferguson, Noah Purcell, and Colleen Melody, with the 2017 Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law. They will receive the award this week during AILA's Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA.

Bob Ferguson is Washington State's 18th Attorney General and has led the litigation team in Washington vs. Trump. As the state's chief legal officer, he directs 500 attorneys and 600 professional staff providing legal services to state agencies, governor and legislature. Mr. Ferguson received his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1995. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington, where he was student body president. Mr. Ferguson began his legal career in Spokane where he served as a law clerk for Chief Judge W. Fremming Nielsen of the Federal District Court for Eastern Washington. He then clerked for Judge Myron Bright of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Midwest. Mr. Ferguson returned to Seattle and joined Preston, Gates, and Ellis (now K&L Gates), one of Washington's leading law firms.

Noah Purcell was appointed Washington State Solicitor General in 2013. In that role, he has represented the state in some of its most important appellate matters in state and federal courts, including arguing for the state in Washington v. Trump, the state's successful challenge to the President's first travel ban Executive Order. Prior to becoming Solicitor General, Mr. Purcell was in private practice at Perkins Coie in Seattle, where he specialized in constitutional law, election law, and antitrust issues. He had previously served in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of General Counsel, where he worked on a range of security and immigration issues. Mr. Purcell received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Washington. He then obtained a Masters in Economics from University College Dublin. He received his law degree at Harvard, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Purcell then served as a law clerk to Judge David Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court.

Colleen Melody serves as Chief of the Civil Rights Unit in the Washington State Attorney General's Office. The Civil Rights Unit enforces federal and state anti-discrimination laws and works to protect the rights of all Washingtonians and successfully challenged the first travel ban Executive Order in Washington v. Trump. Prior to joining the Washington Attorney General's Office, Ms. Melody served as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC. There, she brought enforcement actions to remedy discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability. Ms. Melody graduated from the University of Washington School of Law, where she was a recipient of the William H. Gates Public Service Law Scholarship. Following law school, she served as a law clerk to Judge Ronald M. Gould of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17061917.