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Journalist filming a Haitian refugee camp

5 Legal Takeaways from Mass Atrocities

In 2009, despite some internal warnings, the Obama administration began easing sanctions on the Myanmar government. Almost a decade later, with thousands of Rohingya killed and hundreds of thousands who’ve fled the genocide, it’s easy to wonder, what if more people were there to pressure our government? What if there were more people who recognized the early signs of a mass atrocity and who could have built a legal case that might have prevented it?

These are the types of question Regina Paulose, chair-elect of the World Peace Through Law Section, wonders about: What might be prevented if legal professionals are there to challenge governments and stir action?

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A gavel in a courtroom.

Appeals Court Considers Prosecutor’s Subpoena for Letter Held by Former Defense Counsel

Ethics guru Mark Fucile analyzes a Court of Appeals decision to overturn a lower court ruling of contempt after a criminal defendant’s former counsel refused to comply with a prosecutor’s subpoena to obtain the defendant’s handwritten apology to his victim.
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Joy Williams

The Little Biases in All of Us

The bad news is that everyone has implicit biases — beliefs that are so ingrained that we don’t even know they’re there. And those implicit biases often find a way out of our mouths or through our behaviors as microaggressions, which are usually meant as compliments, “but contain hidden insults,” according to the WSBA Diversity Dictionary. Out in the real world, this might take the form of someone telling Joy Williams that her hair is beautiful and then asking to touch it. For the person asking, specifically a white person, this might feel like a compliment; for Williams, a black woman, it translates to “you are not like me — you are other.”
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Lawyer's mingling

Shared Wisdom: Experienced Lawyers Pass on Their Knowledge at MentorLink Mixers

WSBA Communications Specialist Colin Rigley gets a taste of the conversation and counseling overheard inside WSBA’s recent MetorLink Mixer, which focused on alternative careers. He walked away with a few words of wisdom from the “Mindful Mediator” Roger Moss.
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Recent Articles

17
May

Why Business, and Other Lawyers Should Pay Attention to Blockchain

An abstract digital interface showing the concept of blockchain technology with binary hash data inside each block.
It is important that business lawyers know what blockchain is.

An abstract digital interface showing the concept of blockchain technology with binary hash data inside each block. It has become almost impossible to avoid conversations about blockchain. Most of us are familiar with at least one form of blockchain: digital cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. But this technology has a much wider reach than bitcoin alone. Blockchain is not only a new technology that may revolutionize the internet, but one that will also have a profound effect on the practice of law.

It is important that business lawyers know what blockchain is — at a minimum to be able to answer a question from a client — but also over time to embrace this technology to the benefit of your career and firm. Read more »

10
May

Oh, Those Dreaded Words: ‘Can I Get Your Advice on Something?’

A family enjoying dinner and conversation.
Just as I lifted the fork to my open mouth, I heard the words that every attorney dreads most: “Can I get your advice on something?”

A family enjoying dinner and conversation.When it comes to Thanksgiving mac and cheese, my mother is basically Marie Curie. Four cheeses, added at four different times, melted at four different temperatures until the crispy top snaps like a potato chip. I wait all year for this.

So naturally I’d been watching what I was eating all day in preparation. I scooped a cheesy pile onto my plate along with other delectable fare, made a bee-line for the couch, and settled in to stuff my face. Read more »

30
Apr

When an Arm is a Gun, and More, in the April/May NWLawyer

NWLawyer cover
What’s in a name? If it’s in a courtroom setting, everything.

NWLawyer coverWhat’s in a name? If it’s in a courtroom setting, everything. In the April-May issue of NWLawyer, we look at the pivotal nuances involved in courtroom language interpretation and the three critical steps attorneys can take to make sure nothing is lost in translation. Read more »

24
Apr

CosmoLex: Easier Accounting for Solo & Small Law Firms

Illustration of two lawyers with computer symbols
A WSBA member recently test drove CosmoLex, one of the new discounted practice management software systems available for members of the Bar.

Illustration of two lawyers with computer symbolsI recently opened my solo law practice, and, as many solo attorneys can attest, one of the most challenging tasks I faced was picking a practice management system. Trying to crowdsource a solution only left me with more questions and choices than I could handle. I was simultaneously finding my way around legal accounting, particularly paying attention to trust accounting (IOLTA) issues. It was at the intersection of this quest that I learned about CosmoLex. I then was invited to serve on a statewide member panel to evaluate CosmoLex’s proposal to join the Washington State Bar Association’s Practice Management Discount Network. I was excited to participate. Read more »

18
Apr

Demystifying Addiction in the Legal Profession

Drunk guy holding glass of whiskey
The ABA calls it a crisis of the legal profession. A professor of psychiatry told The New York Times it’s “a conspiracy of silence.” Yet for many attorneys, alcohol and substance abuse are sometimes just part of the job.

Drunk guy holding glass of whiskeyThe American Bar Association (ABA) calls it a crisis of the legal profession. A professor of psychiatry told The New York Times it’s “a conspiracy of silence.” Yet for many attorneys, alcohol and substance abuse are sometimes just part of the job.

Fueled by stress, long hours, and an environment where drinking at work is often ignored – if not somewhat permissible – recent studies have confirmed a long-known reality: Attorneys are more prone to abuse drugs and alcohol than the population at large. About one in five active attorneys qualify as “problem drinkers,” and potentially as many as one-third of attorneys fall into that category. That’s at least three times the national rate of adults who have alcohol use disorder. Read more »