When Lawyers Decide to Make the Electorate Their Next Boss

Cover of NWLawyer

The transition from practicing law to crafting legislation is almost as entwined with the legal profession as the yellow legal pad. Many lawyers eventually find themselves drawn to public office, but why? What drove them to take the leap? How does legal training color their approach to public policy? Most importantly, what are they going to do with all that unspent energy and free time after leaving law for the notoriously carefree world of modern politics?

In the latest issue of NWLawyer, we pose these questions—the first two, anyway—and more to four public servants who span across the state, varying in their constituencies, genders, parties, and geographies. Read the lead feature this month to learn about the transition from law to public office through the viewpoints of State Sen. Sharon Brown, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, State Sen. Mike Padden, and U.S. Rep. Adam Smith.

Also, with winter behind us and spring rejuvenating the pummeled landscape of the Northwest, it’s easy to forget the wildfires that tore across the Western U.S. just months ago. But fire season across the West is only increasing in length and intensity. Four WSBA members put pen to paper to lend a legal perspective on wildfire and forest management, covering everything from public perception on wildfire and how it affects forest management policy and fire prevention, to timber law in our densely forested region, and even a personal account of what it’s like to step behind the teeth of an industrial chainsaw and almost saw into your leg during a summer job in Arizona.

Then check a few tips on meditation for lawyers, get an inside peek at the role of a WSBA volunteer custodian, and learn what type of tech hardware is needed for a law firm start-up.