What Richard Dykstra, L’73, took away with him when he graduated from Northeastern’s School of Law, in addition to his juris doctor, was a profound insight into the role of lawyers in society.
“I learned in law school that there’s an inequality in power,” says Dykstra, “and lawyers are critical in rectifying that balance.”
Initially interested in civil rights law, he did two co-ops at a boutique firm in his native Seattle that emphasized that type of work, which Dykstra says was unusual for that time. He also got a large-firm perspective during a co-op at Nutter
McClennen & Fish, in Boston.
“In every co-op, I learned the importance of first impressions, and through repetition, built the confidence that was so helpful later when interacting with other lawyers, judges, juries, and clients,” says Dykstra. His colleagues and clients concur.
Dykstra is included on the Super Lawyers list, identified in Best Lawyers as one of the Best Lawyers in America, and named one of Washington’s Most Amazing Lawyers in Washington CEO magazine.
Known as a brilliant courtroom strategist with the highest of standards, he is preeminent in the intricacies of insurance law, a specialization he developed at a Seattle firm after completing a clerkship. Dykstra is a noted advocate for policyholder rights and recently prevailed in arguing a case before the Washington State Supreme Court on mandatory arbitration in insurance policies.
He says that unraveling the complexities of insurance law turned out to be an ideal lens for viewing how to solve real-world problems, which he accomplishes with a singular notion in mind: Everyone has to be accountable to the rules.