What are NFTs? Find Out in the Latest Issue of Bar News

Cover of June 2021 Bar News

If you’re confused by the things you’ve heard about NFTs, that’s a good thing. The latest buzz in the conjoined world of tech and financial markets is all the rage, even though most reasonable people have no idea what would compel someone to spend tens of millions of dollars in order to say they own an original JPG that can easily be downloaded and reproduced across the internet for free.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, dominated headlines and compelled widespread head scratching as such stories emerged as a New York Times article about NFTs which the article’s author sold as an NFT for half a million dollars, or a batch of Taco Bell GIFs that buyers scooped up for a few bucks and reportedly resold for up to $18,000.

So what the heck is an NFT and what are people actually buying?

In the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, attorneys David Sheldon and Leron Vandsburger answer some key NFT questions and explain the rights that are transferred through an NFT transaction and what legal professionals should know before talking to a client about whether to get into NFTs.

In addition, Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Lisa H. Mansfield offers an in-depth interview with the first person of color to serve as Washington Supreme Court chief justice: Steven González. Their wide-ranging conversation covers such topics as the importance of judicial diversity, short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the judicial system, access to justice, and more.

In an article that looks at IP law in a far more tangible area than the nebulous NFT dimension, Brian Lewis explores three major developments in intellectual property law. Ethics columnist Mark Fucile cautions that words matter in his breakdown of the terminology section of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Our innovation in law columnist Jordan Couch argues that legal tech is boring now, but also why that’s a good thing.

The issue also includes our usual slew of updates from the WSBA Board of Governors as well as some news and insights from Executive Director Terra Nevitt about recent developments in the administration of the bar exam due to COVID-19, as well as broader questions that have been raised about the exam itself.

Find these stories and more in the June issue of Bar News!