A holiday update of WSBA events & issues from President Patrick Palace
On Dec. 2, the BOG Legislative Committee met for the first time. For those not familiar with this committee, it meets weekly just before, and while, the Legislature is in session. The Committee’s main role is to determine proactively whether the WSBA should take a position on pending legislation. Taking a position may mean to support the legislation, oppose, recommend changes, or stay neutral and take no position. The Committee has not taken a position yet, but is prepared to begin the legislative session under the leadership of Governor Vern Harkins and WSBA legislative liaison Kathryn Leathers.
This past week I also had the opportunity for lunch meetings around the area. I met with King County Council Woman Kathy Lambert to discuss the Council’s ongoing support for Civil legal aid and its desire to grow a more accessible and efficient court system. King County is blessed to have three lawyers on the council who understand the necessity of access to justice. I also met with members of the ABA Foundation, including Kathleen Hopkins and others who just happened to be past presidents of the WYLD. The American Bar Foundation is an organization “dedicated to advancing justice through rigorous research on the law, legal processes, and the law’s impact on our society.” Kathleen is the national Chair-elect of the Fellows. Find out more about the ABA Foundation here.
The Board of Judicial Administration (BJA) was also active this past week. WSBA’s Executive Director Paula Littlewood and I attended two meetings. BJA is active in a couple of projects. They are working to improve court security measures for computer information safety and court house safety. They are also working on reorganizing. Currently they are creating four standing committees which will be populated with voting members of the Board. Paula and I are not voting members but have offered to assist in the reorganization process wherever we may be useful.
On Dec 13, I attended the annual all WSBA staff meeting. This was a chance for me to meet all the staff (in one place) and to have a candid conversation. I talked about my history with the WSBA and they then asked me about whatever was on their minds. The questions were fun and on topics from “Why did you become a lawyer?” and “Why did you move to Tacoma?” to “What do want to accomplish this year?” I love our WSBA staff and it was fun to engage with them. I thank them for all their work this year and for their dedication to the profession.
My week ended with the Washington Association of Justice (WSAJ) annual Holly Ball. The WSAJ honored Justice Tom Chambers, who was a past president of WSTLA before becoming the President of the WSBA and a Supreme Court Justice. On that note, the WSBA is also honoring Justice Chambers. I encourage you to view the blog post on NW Sidebar that gives members a place to post their memories and to read posts from others. There are a number of touching comments there that are worth reading.
Hope you all have a Happy Holidays.