Vini Samuel appointed to Grays Harbor Superior Court; replacing Judge Edwards on Jan. 1

Montesano Mayor Vini Samuel will transition from the Administrative branch to the Judicial branch at the start of the new year.

On Friday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he has appointed Samuel to the Grays Harbor County Superior Court, set to replace Judge David Edwards, who will retire from the bench after December 31, 2023. 

Currently, Samuel serves as the Mayor of the City of Montesano, with her term scheduled to end as of December 31.

Samuel has operated a private law firm in Montesano since 2004, focusing on family law, as well as estate planning, real estate and probate.

Prior to 2004, Samuel’s practice also includes handling criminal matters, bankruptcies and serving as a guardian ad litem. 

According to the Seattle University of Law and other sources, “In 2015 she was elected as the town’s first female mayor, and the first Indian-American woman to serve as mayor of a U.S. city.”

During her career, she has also served as a pro tem judge on the Grays Harbor District Court bench, as well as a hearings officer for the City of Montesano. She has worked primarily in Grays Harbor since 1997 but also regularly appeared in Pacific County, Quinault Tribal Court, and Thurston County courts.   

According to Inslee, Samuel has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Grays Harbor County community, not only as a community leader in her mayoral role, but also as a Rotarian, a lifetime member of the Friends of the Library, a member of Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia State Parks, and a member of the Grays Harbor Communications E-911 Board of Directors.

“In addition to her leadership skills, Mayor Samuel will bring over 25 years of legal experience to the bench,” said Inslee. “I’m pleased that she will bring her work ethic, compassion and skills to the Grays Harbor County Superior Court bench.”

Samuel earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University where she now serves on the University’s Foundation Board. She earned her law degree from Seattle University School of Law.