"Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population."

Albert Einstein

An American fighter jet pursues a UFO over a coastline somewhere

Core Secrets: One Attorney’s Involvement in Legal Representation Regarding UFOs

As someone with a fortuitous front-row-seat to what my client, UFO researcher Grant Cameron, has called the greatest UFO “Super Bowl” event of all time, my formal baptism-by-fire into the U.S. government disclosure of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)/Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) began in earnest on Jan. 2, 2019 at 2:37 p.m. PST. It was then, that I received a strange, encrypted text message that, little did I realize, would change my life and many others across the planet. Now that UFOs (and the non-zero possibility of their extraterrestrial origins) are being confirmed by the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and U.S. military agencies, it would only be prudent to get my fellow legal colleagues up to speed on these (possibly other-worldly) issues.

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Cover of June 2021 Bar News

What are NFTs? Find Out in the Latest Issue of Bar News

In the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, attorneys David Sheldon and Leron Vandsburger answer some key NFT questions and explain the rights that are transferred through an NFT transaction and what legal professionals should know before talking to a client about whether to get into NFTs.

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Temple of Justice

The Unsettled Policy Landscape of Drug Possession Laws in Washington

On Feb. 25, the Washington Supreme Court struck down the state’s main drug possession crime in a case called State v. Blake. The ruling meant there was no state law making simple possession of drugs a crime unless the Legislature recriminalized it, which it has now done via passage of Engrossed Senate Bill (ESB) 5476. In the debate over ESB 5476, some stakeholders argued that the Blake decision was an opportunity for Washington to adopt a new approach to substance use disorders based on solutions that heal rather than continue to inflict harm on people and communities. Others advocated for recriminalization. ESB 5476 ended up taking elements of both of these approaches. It provides new statewide planning and resources for substance use services, but also recriminalizes possession.

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An empty courtroom

Court of Appeals Voids Fee-Sharing Agreement

Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals recently refused to enforce a fee-sharing agreement between two plaintiffs’ lawyers because the arrangement had not been confirmed in writing with the client as required by RPC 1.5(e)(1)(ii). Kayshel v. Chae, __ Wn. App.2d __, 483 P.3d 1285 (2021), involved an individual employment discrimination claim and a separate wage class action. The attorney who was retained initially by the client—the claimant in the individual case and the then-potential class representative in the class action—later associated another lawyer in the class action. The two lawyers eventually agreed on a fee split in percentage terms. They wrote the agreement by hand over breakfast and later confirmed the terms between themselves by email. Although the second lawyer related that he had received the client’s oral consent in a telephone call, the client was never presented with the written agreement.

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The Washington Capitol in Olympia

Washington Legislative Recap: 2021 Session Summary for Legal Professionals

On April 25, the Washington State Legislature closed its unprecedented 2021 Regular Session, capping 105 days in Olympia that for the first time was also conducted nearly entirely virtually. Despite a few technical glitches and Zoom missteps, that have become commonplace during pandemic life, the session went surprisingly smoothly and WSBA Legislative Affairs was busy throughout, monitoring hundreds of bills that are of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals.

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Official legal eviction order or notice to renter or tenant of home with face mask

What Renters Should Know About Tenant Right to Counsel and Eviction Law in Washington

For more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington renters who have been unable to pay their rent have at least been safe from being evicted. As of this writing, bills for that unpaid rent will come due July 1 for tens of thousands of Washingtonians. However, changes to Washington’s landlord-tenant law have created new protections to help people avoid evictions, mediate disputes with landlords, and guarantee that certain renters have free legal representation. On April 22, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5160. Originally sponsored by state Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, the legislation adds a number of tenant protections such as “providing for legal representation in eviction cases, establishing an eviction resolution pilot program for nonpayment of rent cases, and authorizing landlord access to certain rental assistance programs,” according to the final bill report.

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