It’s hard to believe that 2021 is already over.
After a painfully slow 2020 during which the entire world was coming to grips with a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, things almost began to feel normal this past year, and the weeks and months seemed to fly by.
We started going out. We dared to think about things other than the virus. We gave our streaming services a much-needed break. The virus remained an ever-present part of life in 2021, but nowhere near what it was in the year before.
You can see that reflected in the variety of topics covered on NWSidebar this year. Although the pandemic has remained a challenge for lawyers and non-lawyers alike, the blogs over the past year began to stretch beyond the limitations of COVID life and back into some semblance of normalcy.
As has become our annual tradition, take a look back at 2021 to see the 10 most-read blogs of the year.
10. ABA Issues New Ethics Opinion on Remote Working
It’s clear now that remote work is not a passing fad brought on by the pandemic, but likely a new normal, even for traditionally brick-and-mortar offices. At the beginning of 2021, the WSBA’s go-to ethics expert, Mark Fucile, helped break down the latest guidance from the American Bar Association regarding lawyers who worked remotely from states in which they were not allowed to practice law.
9. Our Pandemic Movie Picks for Lawyers
Sure, Netflix now has a shuffle button so you can let an algorithm pick your next binge-session. But if you don’t trust an algorithm to guide your viewing habits, and especially if you’re a legal professional who can’t help but nitpick the often terrible depictions of lawyers and courtrooms in TV and in movies, it’s good to have actual humans provide recommendations once in a while. In this list, WSBA staff collaborated to come up with a few of our top movie picks, with lawyers specifically in mind.
8. What Renters Should Know About Tenant Right to Counsel and Eviction Law in Washington
For months, many feared about a pending tsunami of evictions that was expected to cause mass chaos for courts and result in the displacement of tens of thousands of Washington renters who had been financially harmed by the pandemic. The tsunami has yet to break as badly as feared, and in our state that’s due in no small part to legal protections and guarantees put in place to avert a larger crisis. In this blog, we explain what these new renter protections do.
7. Being the Lawyer the World Needs: How to Keep Growing Professionally and Up Your Trial Skills
“Our nation needs bridges, and bridges are built by those who look to the future and dedicate themselves to helping others.”
Administrative Law Judge Danielle Purcell thought back on those words from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s 2004 commencement speech at Stanford University. In doing so, she goes on to examine the process of professional growth as a practicing lawyer.
6. Washington Supreme Court Approves Major Changes to Lawyer Marketing Rules
In January at the end of a lengthy, collaborative review of lawyer marketing rules in Washington, “the Washington Supreme Court approved significant amendments to the RPCs governing both lawyer advertising and in-person solicitation,” ethics expert Fucile writes. In this blog, he gives a high-level breakdown of the long-sought changes.
5. What You Need to Know About the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act
After years of work involving a large swath of stakeholders, in 2021 the Nonprofit Corporations Committee of the WSBA Business Law Section was able to close the books on a top-to-bottom update of the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act. That committee’s chair, David Lawson, writes about the process of overhauling the Act and explains some of the biggest changes they made.
4. The Unsettled Policy Landscape of Drug Possession Laws in Washington
This year saw an unprecedented flurry of activity around Washington’s drug possession laws. Following the Supreme Court decision in State v. Blake, activists, policymakers, and legislators scrambled to not only make sense of the decision’s implications, but also how to readjust state laws accordingly. One of the groups at the center of those debates was the ACLU; its policy director of the Campaign for Smart Justice, Mark Cooke, answered some of the biggest questions about drug possession and its future in our state.
3. A Few Things Everyone Should Know About the WA Cares Fund
As of this writing, we’re just days away from the start date for a first-of-its-kind state payroll tax to create a trust to fund long-term care costs for Washingtonians. Who’s eligible? What are the benefits? Is it possible to opt out? The WSBA’s own director of HR and chief culture officer, Glynnis Klinefelter Sio, answers those questions and more.
2. Statewide Electronic Filing is on the Way to Washington Courts
In this blog, we sought to explain a plan led by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to roll out a new electronic system for case management and electronic filing (e-filing) for Washington’s district and municipal courts and probation offices. While this blog explained what was happening with the e-filing component of its Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Case Management System project, a subsequent kerfuffle, mainly over fees, resulted in the project’s delay (which you can read about here).
1. Take Our Quiz: Which Type of Legal Volunteer Are You?
Want to volunteer but don’t know where to start? You’re clearly not alone. In 2021, NWSidebar’s No. 1 most-read blog was our completely unscientific, but fun and informative quiz to help WSBA members determine which type of personality fits them best. And, through that, uncover the best volunteer opportunities to suit them.