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Stressed bar candidate seeing he failed.

So You Didn’t Pass the Bar: 3 Tips for Reassuring Someone Who Didn’t Make the Cut

There are few moments in life as pivotal as taking the bar exam. Being a lawyer is a dream, a life’s journey that has been incubating for years. But first you have to know the password to get in.

So much hinges on this exam: mountains of debt; the expectations of friends and family; and, of course, the belief in one’s own talents. Just the act of studying for the test can eat away at one’s mental health with thoughts like, “Maybe I’m an impostor and don’t belong to this club.”

While studying for the exam and ultimately taking it is intensely challenging, failing it is even harder. If someone you know does not pass the bar, here are a few gestures that can be quite reassuring.

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Cover of NWLawyer

The Birth of Baby Court, Mandatory Malpractice, and More Inside NWLawyer

Consider the effect that prolonged negative experiences can have on an infant or young child, or the consequences of separating parents and children, and it quickly becomes clear why an alternative court model would have such success. As the first of its kind in Washington, Pierce County’s Safe Babies Court Team, aka “Baby Court,” has already shown to save money, protect children, and keep families together. In the latest issue of NWLawyer, you’ll get a first-hand look at this innovative court model.
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The UW Quad

WSBA Law School Representatives: The New Class

Every year, hundreds of law school grads emerge bleary eyed and discombobulated, but with J.D.s in hand and the immeasurable feeling of accomplishment having passed the bar. Yet they might have spent those three years not knowing what programs and services the Washington State Bar Association offers for law students or getting familiar with the bar and its programs for members.

This year, as in previous years, we are thrilled to introduce a new batch of ambitious WSBA law school representatives who will serve as liaisons between law schools and the bar. Say hello to the new crew.

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Recent Articles


Of Character and Fitness: Who Should Be Allowed to Take the Bar Exam?

Cover Of July NWLawyerFor the first time in more than 30 years, the Washington Supreme Court issued an opinion on the character and fitness test for admission under the Admission and Practice Rules (APR). In re Simmons was an appeal from the WSBA Character and Fitness Board’s denial of Tarra Simmons’ application to sit for the bar exam. Simmons, a magna cum laude graduate of Seattle University School of Law, Dean’s Medal recipient, and Skadden Fellow, also had a troubled history of substance abuse and drug-related crimes that led to prison. In its unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Character and Fitness Board and provided some guidance as to the application of the factors for determining good moral character and fitness to practice law set out in the APRs. Simmons sat for the bar exam, passed it, and is now a member of the Washington State Bar Association.

But how did the two adjudicatory bodies looking at the same record reach opposite results? Who is Tarra Simmons? And, after a historic turn of events, what should WSBA members know about the internal workings of the Character and Fitness Board?

The July issue of NWLawyer takes a deep dive into these questions and more with an examination of the character and fitness review process, an analysis of the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Character and Fitness Board’s decision, and a first-hand account from Simmons herself. Read more »


Supreme Court Holds No Double Jeopardy for Lawyer Discipline

In a case of first impression in Washington, the Supreme Court recently held that the double jeopardy provisions of the United States and Washington Constitutions do not apply to lawyer discipline proceedings. In re Waechter, ___ Wn.2d ___, 419 P.3d 827, 2018 WL 2977072 (June 14, 2018), involved a lawyer who had allegedly converted client funds from his trust account. Read more »


The Intake Process: What Lawyers Can Learn From a Mexico City Ceviche Delivery

Delivery scooterWe were holed up in our apartment in Ciudad de Mexico as rain turned the streets into navigable waterways. Although the city is nestled in a vast mountain valley, “CDMX” has a great seafood scene and our hearts were set on ceviche. That we were apartment-bound turned out to be no problem. I scrolled through Uber Eats and found the top-rated spot miles away on the far side of Chapultepec park. Click, click, click. Twenty minutes later, a poncho-enshrouded biker showed up with citrusy prawns and piping hot soup.

Wow. Read more »


A Lawyer, a Movie, and 30 Years of Tag

Cartoon of men playing tagPatrick Schultheis has been practicing law for 29 years—about as long as his group of friends has been playing the same game of tag.

Their story was first picked up by The Wall Street Journal, and has been covered by CBS Sunday Morning and ESPN as well. Now, after nearly 30 years of tag, the story has been made into a movie, “Tag,” released in June. WSBA Editorial Advisory Committee Chair Renee McFarland asked Schultheis about the game, how it started, and how it piqued Hollywood’s attention. Here’s their full Q&A, a portion of which appears in the July issue of NWLawyer. Read more »


Supreme Court Punts on Skagit Tribal Sovereign Immunity

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe flag

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe flagA recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court over a land dispute between two Skagit County land owners and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe provided some clarification on an earlier Washington Supreme Court precedent, but left open a much larger question concerning tribal sovereign immunity. Read more »