SNAPSHOT- Douglas Pierce
Residence: Coeur d’Alene
Born: Everett, Washington
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Assumption College; Master of Education, University of Missouri; J.D., Western New England (College) University School of Law.
Person who influenced you most in life: maternal grandfather
Quality you admire most in someone else: casual honesty
Favorite quote: “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” - Teddy Roosevelt
Every case is the most important one in the world—to the client, at least.
As a trial lawyer, Douglas Pierce understands that: From a $10,000 credit card case to changing a custody agreement, even “small” legal matters can be life-changing to the people involved.
“That was an epiphany that I had early on,” he said.
Pierce grew up in Spokane, but his plans to attend college in Washington were derailed during his junior year of high school, when his family moved back east.
“I went kicking and screaming,” he recalled. “I did not want to leave.”
At college, he met his wife, Jane Kelley. The couple spent almost two decades bouncing around the country, working different jobs and pursuing their educations. Pierce earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri and became a teacher. He always planned to make his way back to the area where he grew up.
Pierce said he was “flirting with middle age” when he decided to fulfill a lifelong ambition by attending law school. By the time he graduated, Jane had landed a job at Eastern Washington University, where she still works.
“She brought me home 20 years to the day of when my dad took me away,” Pierce said.
Married for 29 years, Pierce and Jane have two children: a 23-year-old daughter who graduated from Lake City High School, and a 10-year-old son who’s active in Cub Scouts. Pierce, a former Eagle Scout, pitches in to help with his son’s troop. On weekends, the family can often be found on water skis or snow skis, depending on the season.
“If I’m not working, I’m with my family,” Pierce said. He’s in court at least four days a week, and he hopes to be elected as a district judge.
Pierce said his interest in the law stretches back a long way. His life has been full of lawyers: His grandfather, for instance, who had a major influence on him, both professionally and personally. Meanwhile, Pierce’s father-in-law was a lawyer who practiced in and around Boston for 50 years.
“He was my first mentor,” Pierce said of his father-in-law. “He was 86 when he passed away, and he’d been in court that morning. I was always able to pick up the phone and call him to get a pep talk.”
Going from trial lawyer to trial judge has always been part of Pierce’s plan. As a lawyer, he viewed his role as helping people by making his case to judges and juries; as a district judge, he said he’ll be in a position to effect change.
“I like to think that my experiences teaching school and being a lawyer have made me more open-minded than the average lawyer,” Pierce said. “I’m optimistic, maybe even confident, that if elected here, people would see me as giving them a fair shake. I would start by looking at the law, not thinking about how I want the case to end. That’s what I consider fairness from a judge.”