Q&A: 2013 WSBA Professionalism Award Winner Phillip Ginsberg
Phillip Ginsberg is the 2013 recipient of the WSBA Professionalism Award, in recognition of his career of advocacy and community involvement on behalf of individuals and groups experiencing discrimination.
Ginsberg is a co-founder of Save Darfur – Washington State. In 2011, he coordinated and moderated a symposium entitled “Combatting Islamophobia — Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” dedicated to breaking down barriers between Christians, Muslims and Jews. In 2009, he received the Council on American/Islamic Relations Humanitarian Award. Ginsberg is also a co-founder and charter member of the Seattle International District Rotary Club, which became the first rotary club in the world to admit women in 1986.
“Lawyers seek out Phil for guidance and advice because of the extraordinary integrity and fairness that he demonstrates,” said colleague Colleen Kinerk. “In his practice and community service, Phil has worked tirelessly for justice…. He has an abiding kindness that reflects a profound respect for all people, regardless of their faith, creed, nationality, race, age, gender, orientation or circumstances.”
The WSBA asked this year’s Professionalism Award winner a few questions, and you’ll find his responses below.
What is your motivation to practice law?
First, my dad’s dedication and engagement and my mother’s belief in social justice. Second, experiencing the 1963 March on Washington (2013 is the 50-year anniversary).
If you could make one change in the profession, what would it be?
Using the medical profession’s model, the expansion of civil representation by trained and supervised paralegals. (Learn more about the new Limited License Legal Technician program.)
What is important to you outside the practice of law?
Family, fitness (mental and physical), and a just society.
How do you see the legal profession changing in the next 10 years? What challenges will lawyers face, and how can they meet those challenges?
1. Expanded use of paralegals.
2. Fewer law schools and lawyers.
3. Revised fee agreements with more client participation.
4. Expedited, less costly discovery and motion practice with increased use of technology.
What advice do you have for new attorneys?
Identify your priorities and values. Find good mentors. Follow your best instincts.