“When decorum is repression, the only dignity free men have is to speak out.”

Abbie Hoffman

The Washington Capitol in Olympia

Washington’s 2023 Legislative Session: What’s in Store at the WSBA

The 2023 session of the Washington State Legislature began with lawmakers returning to Olympia for the first in-person session in two years. Legislators will consider a variety of issues this year. However, a primary focus of the 120-day “long” session is to pass a state budget for the next two years. The first day of session was Jan. 9 and it will continue through April 23. Between now and then the Senate and House of Representatives have important dates ahead of them.

Read More…
Dueling lightsabers in space environment

A Star Wars Exploration of the Law of Armed Conflict—Part I

With dozens of large-scale armed conflicts going on in the world, in Ukraine and elsewhere, a prospective client is bound to walk through your door one day, accused of war crimes. Well, the chances are at least higher if you practice this area of law. Should you receive such a client, this article will prepare you for your first war crimes case by exploring the violations of the law of armed conflict (LOAC) committed by everyone’s favorite war criminal, Darth Vader.

Read More…

Federal Court Disqualifies Law Firm for Conflict with Key Witness

The federal district court in Spokane recently disqualified a law firm for a conflict with a key adverse witness. Caldwell v. United States, 2022 WL 17408818 (E.D. Wash. Nov. 9, 2022) (unpublished), was a malpractice case stemming from the plaintiff’s treatment at a government medical facility. Although the U.S. government was the sole defendant, the focus of the case was on the doctor who allegedly failed to diagnose the plaintiff’s cancer. The plaintiff’s law firm had also represented the doctor in an unrelated employment matter.

Read More…
Illustration of male and female attorneys shaking hands from computer monitors

Top 10 NWSidebar Blog Posts of 2022

Roe v. Wade is out. Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta is in. The challenges of attracting new lawyers to Washington’s rural communities. Court decisions that clarify the Rules of Professional Conduct. A lot has happened in the past year. Surprisingly and thankfully, much of the news had nothing to do with the COVID pandemic. As has become tradition at NWSidebar, we looked back at the blogs of 2022 to see which stories resonated most with our readers. Read on to see the most-read articles of 2022.

Read More…
BarNews-DEC-JAN2023

The Clash at Midfield and More in Latest Issue of Bar News

In the case of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the U.S. Supreme Court was presented with a First Amendment controversy after a high school football coach began praying on the sidelines. When asked to decide whether such actions were protected speech or an unsanctioned blending of religious activities and public institutions, a 6-3 majority found that the coach’s First Amendment rights had been suppressed and reversed the lower court’s decision.

Read More…
Digital icon of the balance of justice. Concept of legal advice, law and defense.

How Amazon Went Global with Pro Bono

Amazon recently released its first ever Pro Bono Report, which describes some of the pro bono work provided by more than 700 Amazon lawyers and legal professionals across dozens of countries since the program’s formal launch in 2014. In total, Amazon lawyers and legal professionals have provided over 40,000 hours of service through Amazon’s pro bono program in that time. Amazon Associate General Counsels Sean Croman and James Cuneo answered a few of our questions about how Amazon’s pro bono program was created, how it creates meaningful opportunities for Amazon employees around the world to engage in pro bono service, and how other corporate legal departments might replicate their efforts.

Read More…
A lawyer questioning a witness in front of the judge in a courtroom.

Federal Court Rules Tardy Disqualification Motion Waived

The federal district court in Seattle recently issued a pointed reminder on disqualification motions: move promptly or risk waiver. Olson Kundig, Inc. v. 12th Avenue Iron, Inc., 2022 WL 14664715 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 25, 2022) (unpublished), involved patent and trademark claims between the plaintiff designer and the defendant manufacturer. The plaintiff’s law firm had done transactional work in the past for the defendant, but that work had concluded, and the defendant was a former client of the law firm.

Read More…
Lady Justice

Court of Appeals Discusses Professional Judgment Rule for Legal Malpractice

Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals in Seattle recently discussed the professional judgment rule in Dang v. Floyd, Pflueger & Ringer, PS, Wn. App.2d, 2022 WL 9732289 (Oct. 17, 2022). Under that rule, a lawyer is generally not liable for legal malpractice if the lawyer was simply exercising reasonable professional judgment. The plaintiff doctor in Dang argued that his defense counsel in a regulatory hearing before the Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission made decisions on witnesses and exhibits that led to an unfavorable outcome. The defendant law firm in the subsequent legal malpractice case moved for summary judgment relying on the professional judgment rule. The trial court granted the motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Read More…