WASHINGTON, D.C. –
On Dec. 13, 2021, the Washington State Bar Association presented Reserve Master Chief Legalman Sally A. Webster – who also works as an attorney for Microsoft Corporation – with the organization’s Pro Bono and Public Service Award at the 2021 APEX Awards virtual event.
The APEX – Acknowledging Professional Excellence – Awards honor exemplary members of the state’s legal community, including legal professionals, judges, and members of the public, and celebrates the incredible accomplishments of Washington’s legal luminaries.
The Pro Bono and Public Service Award is presented to an individual, a lawyer, other legal professional, law firm, or other legal entity for outstanding cumulative efforts in providing pro bono services, or who contributes in meaningful ways to the public, the community, or the legal profession.
“This isn’t an award for me. The way I look at it, it’s an award for the Navy Reserve. It’s an award for the Navy’s legal community, and we all work together. It’s a team effort,” said Webster.
Webster took the unique step of volunteering for the Navy Reserve five years after acquiring her civilian job in Microsoft's legal department. She joined the Navy Reserve in September 2003, and she completed basic training at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. in April 2004.
“I didn’t become a U.S. citizen until I was in my adulthood. I’m actually from the U.K., originally,” said Webster. “Right after I became a U.S. citizen, I went down to the recruiter’s office. It was after [the attacks of] Sept. 11, and one of the options was to join the Navy and work in the legal field, so that’s what I did.”
Webster graduated from the Legalman Accession Course with honors in June 2005 and the Legal Officer Course with high honors in June 2006. Years later, in March 2017, she graduated from the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy.
Webster earned a Law Degree (LL.B. honors) in 1999 from the University of Sheffield School of Law, and a Master of Laws in International Law (LL.M) in 2006 from Seattle University School of Law. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association.
On Aug. 1, 2018, Webster was appointed as command master chief of the Navy Reserve Law Program (NRLP) and senior enlisted advisor to the deputy judge advocate general for Reserve Affairs and Operations (DJAG RA&O).
“The command master chief of the NRLP is its highest enlisted position … She is the boss of all bosses for all Reserve enlisted Legalmen,” said Reserve Capt. Eric M. Pederson, a member of the NRLP who currently serves as executive officer at the Naval Reserve Forces Command legal office.
Webster’s history of assignments include tours at Navy Reserve Region Legal Service Office Northwest; Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Eighteen in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Navy Region Northwest – Reserve Component Command in Everett, Wash.
In 2008, Webster received the Rear Admiral Hugh H. Howell, Jr. Award of Excellence, presented by Rear Adm. N.C. Joerg, who was serving as DJAG RA&O. Additionally, Webster earned her Seabee Combat Warfare qualification in February 2007.
“She truly is someone who everyone goes to for advice and direction. Her legal knowledge, experience, and her leadership ability have been profoundly impactful on the entire NRLP,” said Poulsbo, Wash. attorney and retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony R. Hinson.
Webster also has previously volunteered with organizations helping unaccompanied immigrant children and Microsoft's military veterans employee network. Her colleagues, past and present, said Webster’s service, integrity, and mentorship have left a positive mark on them and others with whom they have worked.
“It’s been a fantastic ride and I would not do anything differently. It’s been a challenge at times to combine a civilian legal career with a military legal career, but I’ve had some of the best times in my life, doing what I’ve done in the Navy and also at my civilian company. I think that you always need to challenge yourself,” said Webster.