The Cowlitz Wahkiakum Legal Aid Program is operated as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose purpose is to provide legal assistance to those who cannot afford it. We provide legal advice and forms clinics, and match up volunteer lawyers with CLEAR qualified clients.
The Board is made up of community members who are passionate about Access to Justice.
Our board meets at the CWLAP offices on the First Wednesday of each month at Noon. Please check our calendar below for more information on board meetings. Our other events can be found under the News/Events tab above.
Executive Committee of the Board
The Executive Committee manages day to day decision making in between regularly scheduled full board meetings. They are charged with signing checks, daily oversight and work closely with the Executive Director.
Summer is an independent Court Appointed Guardian for incapacitated adults in Cowlitz and Lewis Counties.
Summer is a third generation Cowlitz County resident and a local advocate for justice and transparency in government. She and her husband, Michael, stay busy raising their two young boys.
Alice Millward works with the Clark County, WA Panning Department. She was a long-time Judicial Administrative Assistant to Judge Gary Bashor of the Cowlitz County Superior Court.
Alice received her Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
Alice has three amazing kids in college.
Over the past 25 years, Teresa Purcell has consulted and collaborated on over 200 political, issue, public relations, and media campaigns throughout the United States. Teresa has served as a consultant, lobbyist, executive director, and senior project director and has worked with state-based organizations across the country – 34 states in total – as well as with many national organizations. In 1992, she managed the successful, long-shot campaign for the first female Senator elected from Washington State, U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
In 2001, Teresa founded Purcell Public Affairs Inc. to provide clients with expertise in strategy, communications, and mobilization. She specializes in strategic planning, communications, fundraising, public opinion research, message development, campaign planning, training, organizational development, issue management, and media relations. Teresa has extensive experience in non-partisan civic engagement, and issue education program development & implementation, and program evaluation.
Teresa has run several multi-state civic engagement programs involving both state and national organizations. She has extensive experience in targeting and engaging under-represented voting populations on a variety of issues – including social justice, reproductive rights and justice, and environmental issues. She brings a unique understanding of the election process, mastery of campaign tools and tactics, expert knowledge of best practices, and a desire to ensure that resources are wisely invested to build long-term capacity.
A native of Washington State and a graduate of the University of Washington, after having spent many years living in Washington D.C., Olympia, and Seattle, Teresa now resides in her hometown of Longview, Washington.
Rev. Liz Kearny
Rev. Liz Kearny is a co-pastor at Longview Presbyterian Church and an Associate Chaplain at St. John Medical Center.
A Pacific Northwest native, she and her husband moved to Longview in August of 2016 after receiving their Masters in Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.
Rev. Kearny began serving on the Legal Aid board in January of 2017 and is thrilled for the opportunity to work on behalf of marginalized communities in need of legal advocacy in Cowlitz County.
Keith is one of the Court Appointed Family Law Guardian ad Litems for Cowlitz County Superior Court.
He served many years on the Juvenile Court Staff as a Probation Officer and did numerous adoption home studies in that capacity, a vocation he has continued in his private practice.
Tribal Planner for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in Cowlitz County, Washington
Meredith Long is a civil attorney in private practice in Longview, Washington. Meredith is a Longview native who recently returned after many years on the east coast, where she earned her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Meredith is the immediate past-president of the Cowlitz Wahkiakum Bar Association and currently serves on the board of Community Home Health and Hospice in Longview.
David Rorden is a Longview attorney whose practice emphasizes Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate and Guardianships.
He is a former longtime reporter and editor for The Longview Daily News.
He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of Washington and earned his law degree from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College.
David is a member of the Washington chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, of which he was named chapter member of the year and served a term as president. He has served as a director of Longview Rotary, Community Home Health & Hospice, Cowlitz County Guidance Association, Arc of Cowlitz Valley and Jerry Chapman Ministries.
He is married with two grown daughters and a grandson.
This often involved working with the juvenile court. He has also been an advocate for equal rights and positive interpersonal relationships. He has always had an interest in the rights of individuals and how to insure people have their basic needs for living met. He is working with his church as a liaison with other agencies or resources for the homeless in our community. Until recently, he has been a certified judge on the Pacific Northwest 4H Horse Judges list.
He has always enjoyed riding horses (both teaching and gaining new skills), music, gardening, and his various pets. Upon retiring Robert began taking music classes at Lower Columbia College. During that time he performed in numerous concerts and went to New York City with the LCC choir to perform in Carnegie Hall. He also sings with the Castle Rock Men’s Ensemble, LCC Community Choir, SW Washington Symphony Chorale, and various other groups. He has sung for many solo opportunities and has recently started to sing for his own in solo concerts. Just for fun he has a YouTube channel to share past performances with his family and friends (or anyone else who cares LOL). He recently performed as the “Funeral Singer” in a short movie and hopes to occasionally sing in local plays (such as NW StageWorks production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance”).
Robert appreciates his husband’s patience with all his activities as he often says Robert “cannot say ‘no’ to anything”! Robert’s attitude is keeps him busy and out of his hair!
Americorp worker currently working at Cowlitz County CASA.
Advisory Board Members
Judge John A. HaysAdvisory Board
Rev. Francisco UribeAdvisory Board
Kevin D. RahnAdvisory Board
Judge Anne CruserAdvisory Board
Debra BurchettAdvisory Board
Judge Marilyn HaanAdvisory Board
Judge John A. Hays
John was elected to Position 3 of the District Court Bench in Fall, 2018.
Prior to his election he was a private attorney in Longview licensed in 1986.
He has represented defendants in Class A, B and C felonies in Cowlitz County Superior Court and has represented defendants in over 100 felony jury trials. Since 1988, he has represented clients in Cowlitz, Clark, Lewis, Wahkiakum, Skamania, Pacific, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties in cases to the Washington State Court of Appeals for both criminal and civil matters.
John also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for Cowlitz County.
John has a deep understanding of the issues experienced by those in poverty and we look forward to his contributions to the oversight of the organization.
Rev. Francisco Uribe
Francisco Javier Uribe Alvarez was born and raised in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia, South America. He earned a degree in Law and master’s degree in Commercial Law and then worked as an attorney from 1999 to 2012. While working he earned a 4 year degree in biblical studies. In 2012 he, his wife Luz, and their two daughters moved to Texas where he attended Rio Grande Bible College and studied two more years in biblical theology.
Francisco and his family moved to the Longview / Kelso area. They came to begin a new Spanish speaking church, in partnership with First Baptist Church of Longview, WA. Pastor Francisco Uribe’s life is now serving people who speak mostly or only English and people who speak mostly or only Spanish.
Kevin D. Rahn
Before Practicing law, Kevin practiced as a Certified Public Accountant for over six years. Kevin spent approximately four of those six years working in the tax department of a big four international accounting firm.
Kevin’s legal practice includes Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, estate planning and administration, business formation and business transactions. Kevin is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Castle Rock.
He has served as an advisory board member for the Salvation Army and is a former board member of the Lower Columbia College Foundation and Cowlitz County Mental Health. Kevin and his wife Diana have three children.
Judge Anne Cruser
Judge Cruser began her legal career in 1998. She spent eight years in private practice doing appellate criminal defense throughout the counties in southwest Washington, criminal trial defense, juvenile representation in Cowlitz County, and parent representation in dependency and termination cases at the appellate level. 1998. She was a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office where she was the supervising attorney for the appellate division.
Judge Cruser also served as a Judge Pro Tem in Cowlitz County District Court for five years. She has served on the Washington Pattern Instructions Committee for the Washington State Bar Association and provided training sessions for attorneys and search and seizure training for law enforcement.
Judge Cruser was appointed by Governer Jay Inslee and joined the Cowlitz County Superior Court Bench on September 16, 2017.
Debra was elected to Position 1 of the Cowlitz County District Court effective January, 2019.
Prior to that Debra has been the owner of a law practice and served as public defender for cities of Kelso, Kalama and Castle Rock.
Debra is also a single adoptive mom of the most beautiful, amazing boy in the entire universe. Have totally remodeled home and Josh and I live with Summer, our Golden Retriever, Brian our Chiweenie and 3 cats, Belles, Candy and Missy.
Debra got her BA at Northeastern University in Chicago and Law Degree at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She worked at IBM as a marketing rep for years in a past life.
Judge Marilyn Haan
Judge Marilyn K. Haan graduated from Central Washington University (Law and Justice/BA cum laude) in 1984 and University of Puget Sound School of Law in 1988 (JD).
Judge Haan is currently the Juvenile Court Presiding Judge.
She previously served for over twelve years as a part-time Judge/Commissioner pro tem in Skagit County. Her prior experience also includes public service as municipal/litigation attorney, deputy prosecutor and public defender, as well as private practice in primarily criminal, personal injury and family law. She served as the City Attorney for the City of Longview prior to her appointment to the bench in 2011 by Governor Chris Gregoire.
She heads the Cowlitz County Superior Court Local Rules committee and Case Flow Management of the Superior Court’s Strategic Plan. In addition she serves on the statewide Criminal Law and Rules Committee, Judicial Assistance Services Program and Rural Courts Committee.