I welcome you to the WSBA’s new blog. I’m excited about the opportunities it brings – the ability to share information, ideas, and opinions while engaging and interacting about subjects of interest.
To give you a better window into the presidency and what it entails, on Mondays I plan on sharing highlights from my previous week. While only into my third week as WSBA president, I find the pace has been a bit grueling, but the experiences very rewarding.
Last Tuesday, I participated in the Red Mass at Seattle University with members of the faculty and judiciary. Justice Gonzales was the honoree, and Justices Wiggins and Fairhurst also participated. The president of the university, Father Steve Sundborg, officiated. His homily was about authority, the kind that comes with position and the kind that comes from within and is sometimes at odds with official authority. It made me think about the strange relationship that attorneys have with authority. While the whole idea behind our legal system is to create and enforce rules for society—a.k.a. authority—attorneys not only enforce these rules, we also regularly challenge them. While some of us have jobs like prosecutor or public defender that appear to be on one side or the other, all of us have to play both roles for the system to work as it should.
Wednesday was a meeting with the State Supreme Court, in which we discussed administrative matters.At the end, Justice Fairhurst took the lead in thanking Justice Chambers for his long service to the WSBA and the Court. We took the opportunity to thank both Justice Chambers and Justice Fairhurst for their leadership on bar issues with the Court.
Thursday evening, I attended receptions for both the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington. Particularly affecting was the tribute to New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid, who died last year covering events in Syria. His brother Damon, a member of MELAW’s board, spoke about his brother’s work and the importance of bearing witness to what is going on in the Middle East.
On Friday, the WSBA officers met with the chair and vice chair of the MCLE Board. We appointed six members of the BOG — Pat Palace, James Armstrong, Tracy Flood, Dan Ford, Bill Viall, and Barb Rhoads-Weaver — to meet with the MCLE Board to see if we can reach agreement on a package of changes to the MCLE rules and regulations, including the pro bono and development credits.
Friday was also WSBA’s annual luncheon honoring its 50-year members. The class of ’62 numbered 45, about half of whom came to lunch with their spouses and families. I particularly noted the number of lawyer offspring among the class. Friday night I drove to Tacoma for the Washington Women Lawyers‘ annual awards dinner. Kitsap County Judge Karlynn Haberly and Thurston County Judge Lisa Sutton were honored, along with outstanding WWL members.
And last but not least, on Saturday, the ABA presented a Human Trafficking Summit, featuring ABA President Laurel Bellows and our own Chief Justice Barbara Madsen. Both did an excellent job of highlighting the scope of this problem here in Washington and across the country.
It was a busy but fulfilling week. I’m looking forward to a quieter one this week. I hope it’s a good week for you as well.