"I do remember that (former) Dean Ron Crossley once told us part of the purpose of a good liberal arts education is learning to be "comfortable with ambiguity." That's certainly a skill for navigating life in these strange and complicated times. It's a useful skill in law, too, where things rarely seem clear-cut."
“Someone – I can’t recall who – once said St. Andrews offers ‘timed release learning.’ You keep turning over things you learned, applying the experience of life to them, or drawing on what you learned way back when to assess a news story or a trend in the world.”
For Lindsay Thompson, the founding partner of Thompson Gipe, P.C., this timed-release learning has been key to his success since graduating as a politics major from St. Andrews in 1978.
“My St. Andrews education was strong enough for me to win a scholarship for overseas study, then admission to Oxford University,” Thompson said. “While there, I applied to a number of law schools, including one I’d learned about from my SA suitemate Phil Bradley (’75) in my freshman year – Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore.
“LC was the first to admit me and I thought it would be fun to see the West Coast. By the time I graduated law school in 1983, I knew the Pacific Northwest was where I wanted to stay.”
After a few years with a Vancouver, Wash. law firm, Thompson became deputy prosecuting attorney for Cowlitz County, Wash. He remained there working on appellate cases and felony drug prosecutions until 1993 when he started what is now Thompson Gipe.
“I think (my St. Andrews education) made possible everything that came after. The small classes and independent studies at SA fitted me out for the weekly one-on-one tutorials that are the backbone at Oxford education. It was a pretty easy segue from Neal Bushoven’s weekly papers to my weekly tutorial essays. A speed-reading course I picked up at SA came in handy as well, as all three of my degrees, and my work, require being able to read and absorb rather large volumes of information quickly.
“I think the experimental side of the SA curriculum – and the college’s sense of itself as an institution – made it easier for me to shift gears several times in my professional career – in and out of government service, for example, or seeing some opportunities to get in on the evolution of internet law.”
Thompson has been recognized throughout the years for his legal work. He was featured in the August issue of Washington Law and Politics magazine annual Super Lawyers Issue. Thompson recently received the Seattle Leadership Award from the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a New York-based civil rights litigation organization. While the award recognizes his work as a member of the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association to prevent discrimination in the legal profession, Thompson has earned notice for his anti-discrimination work in other forums.
Among his most notable trials was the winning defense of a lesbian pastor in the Methodist Church.
“I won the (Rev. Karen) Dammann Case in the Methodist Church Trial,” Thompson said. Ours is the only case in the denomination’s history where they put a minister on trial for being gay and lost. The delegates to the church’s quadrennial conference were so upset by the result, they outlawed the defense.”
Thompson also presented an amicus brief in the state’s supreme court regarding same sex marriage rights cases.
“I like being able to help people solve problems they can’t quite sort out on their own,” he said. “And you never know when a given case is going to turn out to get national, even international coverage and become part of the debate on one of the great public issues of the day.”
With this kind of success, Thompson has a very simple goal for his next accomplishment. “I would like being able to go on holiday more often than once every five years.”