Readers pick Judge Dave Larson for best city leader

Larson joined the Federal Way Municipal Court in 2008.

Every city needs strong leaders. Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Dave Larson was recently voted the best city leader by Federal Way residents.

The Mirror asked Judge Larson a few questions about his career and perspectives on leading the community.

Why did you choose a career in law?

There are many reasons why I chose the law as a career, but the primary reason is the sense of purpose one has if they realize that justice, dignity, fairness, truth, and freedom are as essential to human life as breathing. Lawyers and judges have the opportunity to breathe life into justice, dignity, fairness, truth, and freedom, but only if we do not lose sight of our role in society.

Looking back on your career, what moments stand out from the courtroom?

I was a trial lawyer for 23 years before becoming a judge. I have now been a trial judge for 14 years. In that 37 years, I have witnessed many times when the legal system worked as intended by delivering solutions based upon justice, dignity, fairness, truth, and freedom. Sadly, I have also witnessed too many times where we, as lawyers and judges, lose sight of our role. The resulting reduction in justice, dignity, fairness, truth, and freedom make the people and communities we serve the ultimate victims of our failures and public trust and confidence in the courts more difficult.

How do you define what it means to serve the community?

True service occurs when you realize that serving others is not a sacrifice because it actually adds purpose to your own life.

What is your proudest accomplishment working in Federal Way Municipal Court?

I joined a court in 2008 that had significant issues. My proudest accomplishment is that our court evolved into a model court with a great working environment and an ethic of becoming an asset for the community through service. The ultimate credit belongs to the people I work with, and my role was to just lead in a manner that allowed us to find “our way” instead of leading in a manner that focused more on just getting “my way.”