Edmonds attorney Adam Cornell has received the Washington State Bar Association’s 2016 Public Service Award. The award recognizes Cornell’s efforts to improve the foster care system at the federal and state levels.
Since 2002, Cornell has been a deputy prosecuting attorney in Snohomish County. He is currently district court supervisor at the Prosecutor’s Office, supervising 14 deputy prosecuting attorneys. According to the WSBA announcement, Cornell’s dedication to his career as a prosecutor exemplifies his commitment to serving others. Cornell was one of the first deputies assigned to Everett’s Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center, where child interview specialists conduct forensic interviews of children aged 3 to 17 at the request of any law enforcement agency. Cornell is recognized by colleagues as a constant force fighting on behalf of children who are victims of physical or sexual abuse.
A former foster child, Cornell has been a continual advocate for improvements to the foster care system at both state and federal levels. He planned and drafted Oregon House Bill 2431, the Foster Child Scholarship Bill, which became law on July 2, 2001. It established a fund endowed by the Legislature to help foster children attend college.
A frequent speaker at nonprofit events, Cornell openly shares the challenges of his upbringing in the foster care system, inspiring audiences with his personal tale of how the presence of a few caring adults fueled his triumph over adversity.
In 2004, Cornell received a governor’s appointment to the Washington Commission for National and Community Service (now ServeWashington). From 2006–09, he served as the board chair and led the Commission that applied for and received approximately $40 million in federal grants to fund a wide array of volunteer programs such as AmeriCorps. Cornell promoted the work of the Commission by regularly speaking to business and political leaders about the value of the commission and the necessity of funding it, devoting hundreds of hours of his own time while maintaining a full-time caseload.
Cornell has served on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, the Children’s Campaign Fund and the Child Welfare League of America. For a decade, Cornell has been on the Advisory Committee for the Center for Children and Youth Justice, aimed at reforming the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
Cornell also serves on the board of directors for Seattle Repertory Theatre, where is the vice chair; the Edmonds Community College Foundation board; and the board of Victim Support Services. In 2014, he received the prestigious Norm Maleng Service to Youth Award from the Center for Children and Youth Justice.