At the age of eight, the Honorable Donald Haley worked alongside his father in the cotton fields of Roanoke, Louisiana. Even then, he knew he would not be tied to the back-breaking work of the fields, and he knew he would follow the words of wisdom from his father who would constantly say to him, “No one can take knowledge away from you.” His Black teachers at the Jefferson Davis Parish Training Colored School also gave him a sense of self-esteem and a clear understanding of his African-American roots. Supported by his father’s words and the example of many African-Americans who succeeded despite the immense odds against them, Judge Haley knew he too could be a success at whatever he chose to do.
In 1958 Judge Haley was graduated from the University of Washington’s School of Law, and from 1968 to 1982 he practiced law in the firm of Lundin, Estep, Sindell, Haley & Hanson. During that time, Judge Haley was involved in a number of bar-related activities and committees. Judge Haley served as Chair of the Public Information Committee of the Seattle-King County Bar Association, as a member of the Association’s Nominating Committee, its Internal and Client Relations Subcommittee and Human Relations Committee, and its Bench-Bar Press Conference Committee. Judge Haley also served on the Washington State Bar Association’s Rules and Instructions and Trial Practice Seminar Committees, the Seattle County Bar Association Criminal Law Section, and as President of the Loren Miller Bar Association from 1982 to 1983.
Until his recent retirement, Judge Haley served on the King County Superior Court bench since 1983. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Superior Court Judges’ Association of the State of Washington (1990–1992), as its President-Elect (1992–1993), President – Judge (1993–1994), Immediate Past President (1994–1995), and representative to its Bench-Bar Press Liaison (“Fire Brigade”) of the Bench-Bar Press Committee and Legislative Committee. In July 1998, at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA), Judge Haley was installed as chair of the ABA’s National Conference of State Trial Judges.
Judge Haley continues to serve the judicial community and various community groups because he realizes how very fortunate he is to have realized his dreams, and that he must continue to be vigilant so that those who follow might have the same opportunities.