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April 26, 2013

Friday 5: Things You Should Write About, Right Now

by WSBA
write a blog post
Baby Veronica. SB 5927. New apps. Check out our list of hot topics that we want you (yes, you) to write about!

write a blog postSCOTUS is in session. The legislature is in session. There’s a lot going on in the legal community right now. And we want YOU to write about it for NWSidebar! Here are 5 hot topics we’d love to see covered on NWSidebar.

1. Baby Veronica.

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a case that deals with the intersection of state custody laws and the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Court has been asked to answer 2 questions:

(1) Whether a non-custodial parent can invoke ICWA to block an adoption voluntarily and lawfully initiated by a non-Indian parent under state law.

(2) Whether ICWA defines “parent” in 25 U.S.C. § 1903(9) to include an unwed biological father who has not complied with state law rules to attain legal status as a parent.

Whichever side you come down on, the facts are heartbreaking. We want to know: How do you think the court should rule and why?

2. SB 5927.

This week, a bill was introduced in the State Senate that would give business owners the right to refuse services to gay and lesbian customers if doing so conflicts with their religious or philosophical beliefs. The bill contradicts AG Bob Ferguson’s announcement that under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation.

Make an argument: Is this bill about religious beliefs or is it unacceptable discrimination?

3. Public Defense Month.

April is Public Defense Month. So, public defenders, where are you? Okay, I know where you are. You’re behind a mile-high stack of cases, doing your best to provide representation to indigent defendants.

Climb out from behind the cases for just a moment and tell us your story. Why is this work rewarding for you? What would you change about the system? What are your 5 favorite things about being a public defender? Tell me, please!

4. Farewell to the essay-only bar exam.

The pass list for the February 2013 bar exam — the last essay-only bar exam we’ll offer —will be released Saturday morning. It’s the end of an era.

Indulge in a little nostalgia and share your memories of the bar exam. How many extra pens did you bring? Did you live in fear that your computer would crash? How did you celebrate when it was all over? I’ll go first: I would only use a particular type of gel-pen and click-pencil for my notes, and I was terrified at the prospect of having to hand write my exam, since I typed all my practice essays. When it was all done, I caught a ride back to Seattle and had a long nap.

5. A review of the new Washington Courts App for iPhone/iPad/iPod.

Earlier this week, Washington Courts a developer released the Washington Courts app for Washington practitioners. Selling for $2.99, the app includes access to PACER, the WSBA Lawyer Directory, rules and local rules, and a courthouse locator.

Have you tried the app? Is it a useful tool at a bargain price? If not, how would you improve it?

CORRECTION: This app was not released by and is not affiliated with Washington Courts (courts.wa.gov).

Any of these topics tickle your fancy? Did we miss something that you think the Washington legal community needs to know about? Well, start writing and submit a great blog post to NWSidebar!

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