There is one constant about serving as WSBA President, and that is that this job has me out connecting with and meeting WSBA members and others in the legal community near every single day.
To recap last week, on Tuesday I attended the South Asian Bar’s annual event at FareStart. Like many of the other minority bars, SABAW puts a lot of energy into its scholarship program. In just the last three years SABAW has awarded over $26,000 in scholarships. Even more impressive is that many of the past scholarship recipients are now in leadership positions in SABAW. Way to go!
Thursday, I met with the other officers of the Board and Executive Director Paula Littlewood to plan the agenda for the upcoming board meeting on November 16-17. I was particularly pleased to learn that the MCLE Board and representatives from our own Board of Governors were able to reach a compromise on a recommendation to the Supreme Court for new CLE rules that would expand the number of credits that could be earned from pro bono work and allow some credits to be earned for such topics as leadership development and work-life balance. This compromise will be before us at our November meeting.
Thursday evening I attended the Foreign Student Reception hosted by our International Practice Section. The guests were all LL.M. students at Washington law schools and, like most law students, they were energized and enthusiastic about the law and their careers in it. Almost all intend to return to their home countries to practice, but they are hoping to work in areas such as trade and intellectual property where they will have ongoing contacts here in the U.S. As someone whose practice almost always involves the interpretation of state law, I marvel at practices that transcend even national boundaries and young attorneys equipped to take advantage of our shrinking world.
On Friday, I attended the WSBA Legislative Committee’s annual stakeholder meeting where all the various participants in the judicial system come together to share information about their agendas for the upcoming legislative session. Budget continues to dominate the discussion as it has since the recession began taking its toll on state revenues. The courts—and the counties and cities responsible for funding them—will be trying to hold the line on more cuts. The fear is that, even if state revenues rebound somewhat, if will not be enough to fund K-12 education to the level mandated by the Supreme Court’s decision in the McCleary case.
Have a great week.