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Portrait of a lawyer holding a mask in front of his face with his diverse colleagues standing alongside him in an office

When Workplace Diversity Becomes a Trade Secret We All Lose

IBM is suing Microsoft for hiring its former chief diversity officer, according to a recent Seattle Times story. It’s a move that has some employment lawyers puzzled; non-compete agreements usually aren’t enforced over positions not tied to a company’s core product or business. As the WSBA’s Diversity and Inclusion specialist, I find it interesting to think about the idea of “IBM’s diversity trade secrets” and how the market intersects with the values and goals of diversity. In order to be competitive, companies are trying to claim ownership of their approach to diversity and inclusion, especially in recruiting.
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Green scale

The Paper Chase: Going Green in the Legal Field

This blog post is a reprint of the winning entry in the WSBA Business Law Section’s Green Writing Contest for law school students. The author, Greg Simpson, is in his final year at the Seattle University School of Law. His essay first appeared in the section’s fall newsletter.
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Washington Capitol

Legislative Update

It’s been a busy first half of the 2018 Washington legislative session! The big news out of Olympia: lawmakers resolved the contentious water rights issue that stalled the budget for months, allowing Gov. Jay Inslee to sign a $4.2 billion capital budget that pays for construction projects across the state.
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Black and white figures shaking hands

7 Tips for Negotiating Effectively

In law, negotiations between parties can end in a win-win for both sides or they can break down and leave your client further from their objective. It’s a delicate dance that requires a clear understanding or your client’s needs and desires as well as those of the opposing party. Here are seven tips for negotiating effectively.
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Recent Articles

22
Jan

Federal Court Decision Highlights Importance of Engagement Agreements

People holding up signs with question marks
A recent disqualification decision by the federal district court in Spokane highlights the importance of engagement agreements in defining who is — and who is not — the client.

People holding up signs with question marksA recent disqualification decision by the federal district court in Spokane highlights the importance of engagement agreements in defining who is — and who is not — the client. In Cox v. Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., 2017 WL 4640452 (E.D. Wash. Sept. 19, 2017) (unpublished), the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment to void a non-compete. Shortly after the defendants answered, the plaintiffs filed a motion to disqualify defense counsel. Although the motion had several facets — all of which were denied — one is particularly instructive. Read more »

12
Jan

New WSBA Advisory Opinion on Withdrawal

justice
WSBA’s Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion on withdrawal issues in for public court proceedings.

justice

The Washington State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion surveying withdrawal issues in the context of public court proceedings. Advisory Opinion 201701 primarily addresses what you can — and can’t — say in public court papers and related public proceedings. In doing so, the opinion analyzes the sensitive intersection between the withdrawal rule — RPC 1.16 — and the confidentiality rule — RPC 1.6. Read more »

10
Jan

Let the Session Begin!

Another legislative cycle is upon is. The 2018 session — scheduled for 60 days — began Monday, Jan. 8, and promises to be interesting.
Washington's flag
Long days and late nights marked this week in Washington’s Legislature.

Washington's Capitol in OlyAnother legislative cycle is upon us. The 2018 session – scheduled for 60 days – began Monday, Jan. 8, and promises to be interesting. Democrats will enjoy majorities in both the House and the Senate, but margins are thin enough that bipartisan support will be needed on many key issues.

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19
Dec

Setting the Bar Greener

A man, on the way to work, carrying bicycle beside a modern office building.

A man, on the way to work, carrying bicycle beside a modern office building.As chair of the Business Law Section’s Communications Committee at the Washington Bar Association, I recently edited the first Business Law newsletter edition focused entirely on issues of sustainability and climate change tailored to the interests of Washington business attorneys. Read more »

14
Dec

When “N#gg!r§”* Rise

Bird fleeing cage
Equity, inclusion, and justice within the legal profession are under attack and it’s time to fight back.

Bird fleeing cage*Warning: This word — the actual word — is a prominent part of the article below. It has been somewhat sanitized in the title because, I understand, it’s a word that can shock, cause discomfort, and shut down readers before they even get to the substance — but please understand, as a person of color, as an African American and as a gay black woman, I encounter this word and its accompanying degradation every day; hopefully that truth is even more shocking and uncomfortable.

Equity, inclusion, and justice within the legal profession are under attack and it’s time to fight back. The legal profession is not the place for racist individuals, biased laws, and hateful rhetoric, yet they continue to find space to flourish. Read more »