Washington Defense Lawyers Join Forces for Foster Youth

Elementary school kids arrive at school from the school bus

Summer is generally a time when legal professionals are dealing with the daily demands of their practice or taking time to enjoy the one month of guaranteed sunshine in the Pacific Northwest (yes, lawyers can take vacations, too); however this past August members of the Washington Defense Trial Layers (WDTL) rolled up their sleeves to gather school supplies and backpacks for children in foster care with Treehouse.

Founded in 1988, Treehouse is a leading Washington nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the academic gap between kids in foster care and their peers. The nonprofit helps more than 7,000 foster youth through programs designed for success in school.

WDTL members collectively donated three carloads of school supplies—crayons, pens, glue sticks, folders, notebooks, loose-leaf paper, pens, calculators, and more—and 272 backpacks. Those donations meant hundreds of foster kids not only went back to school in style this fall, but also provided the necessary tools to be successful in the classroom. For this year’s drive, WDTL added a competitive incentive by offering a pizza party to the firm or person who donated the most backpacks.

WDTL congratulates Forsberg & Umlauf for donating the most backpacks and extends thanks to Physician Direct Services for providing the pizza party. Bravo to Carrie Cook, legal assistant at Betts, Patterson Mines, for donating the most backpacks as an individual. “Best in Show” went to ExamWorks, which performs independent medical examinations, peer and bill reviews, and case management, for donating an ultra-fashionable, high-end backpack. Further kudos to Preg O’Donnell & Gillett for donating the most school supplies, and a special shout out to those who donated soccer gear during this year’s drive.

Finally, honorary mention goes to Heather (who didn’t provide her last name). A Seattle resident, she’s not a lawyer and has no affiliation with WDTL but donated a large bag of school supplies that included several calculators and two backpacks. When asked how she even knew about WDTL’s back-to-school drive, she simply respond that she wanted to help contribute to the success and future of foster youth. She shared that she comes from somewhat limited means, but supporting the back-to-school drive for Treehouse was important. Heather’s kindness and giving spirit epitomizes what the back-to-school drive is all about. So, hats off for her desire to help foster youth, and for all the WDTL members who supported this year’s drive for Treehouse.

For those interested in learning more about community service opportunities through WDTL, please contact Gauri Locker at: gauri.locker@atg.wa.gov.