February marks Black History Month, a time for us to celebrate the significant contributions and accomplishments that Black Americans have made throughout our nation’s history.
Throughout this month, the Stritmatter Firm would like to highlight the work of Black civil rights attorneys in Washington State.
Today we shine the light of Lembhard (Lem) Howell.
Lem is a civil rights lawyer who has spent decades in the Seattle area fighting for the rights of Black and other disadvantaged communities. He is a founding member of the Loren Miller Bar Association (LMBA) and worked on several landmark civil rights cases in the state. In Central Contractors Assoc. v. Local Union No. 46., Lem was the lead attorney on the team that forced Washington’s trade labor unions to end discrimination against members and applicants of minority races who had historically been excluded from the construction industry. In Seattle School District No. 1, et. al. v. State, et.al., he joined a suit with the LMBA when it sued the State of Washington to ensure minority children received equal educational opportunities as white children.
Lem has worked on numerous cases against the Seattle Police Department (SPD) for misconduct against Black men and women ranging from beatings to killings. Many of these cases were lost, but Lem persisted. While Lem was not trying cases he worked on the Board of Governors for the Washington State Bar Association, was President of the LMBA, and mentored many minority lawyers. Lem is retired but he continues to work on civil rights issues. Currently, among other things, he is working as an expert to help Black Lives Matter protestors with civil rights claims against the SPD