Have you ever started a role knowing you have huge shoes to fill? For the last year, I served alongside our 2022-2023 WSBA President Dan Clark. As I step into the role as the 2023-2024 WSBA president, I feel like a small child trying on their parent’s shoes and clomping awkwardly around the room.
The WSBA membership has been extraordinarily well-served by Dan in his various leadership roles within the organization. Dan is believed to be the longest-serving member of the Board of Governors (ever), the first WSBA Treasurer to be reelected to that role (ever), and the first WSBA president with a speaking disability (ever). Indeed, Dan is believed to be the first state bar association president in the United States with a speaking disability—you guessed it … ever.
Not that Dan let his speaking disability prevent him from expressing his feelings. Dan led the organization with passion, strength, and courage. During his service on the Board of Governors and as president, the WSBA held license fees flat for four straight years and will remain so through 2025. As the price of everything from homes and gasoline to eggs and cereal skyrocketed in recent years, the license fee to practice law in Washington has remained the same throughout Dan’s presidency, his terms as treasurer, and even beyond. During the past three complete fiscal years, the organization accrued a reserve of over $3.9 million dollars. That is a legacy of Dan’s, the Board’s, and WSBA staff’s careful stewardship of member dollars.
Although he took his role as WSBA president very seriously, Dan also brought humor to the position. Dan presided over Board of Governors meetings with an eye toward helping the organization make decisions, but was not above lightening the mood with a humorous comment or two.
Finally, Dan was passionate in his efforts to ensure the organization’s volunteers were recognized and honored for their efforts. He paid careful attention to ensuring that WSBA’s volunteers were thanked for their countless hours of service, often going out of his way to highlight the efforts of individuals who had not been previously recognized.
As I take these first few wobbly steps as your new WSBA president, I’m thankful to Dan for his leadership and service. Put simply: the shoes are huge to fill.
Thank you, Mr. President.