State lawmakers began their 2017 regular session under heavy pressure to fund basic education. Fiscal committees held hearings on Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2017-19 budget. The governor also urged lawmakers to work together to rebuild the state’s mental health system, in addition to funding schools.
The 2017 regular legislative session is now underway in Olympia. Lawmakers have significant issues to tackle this year, including closing a budget deficit upwards of $5 billion that encompasses fully funding basic education under the McCleary decision, mental health obligations, and other emergent public policy needs. Read on to see the WSBA’s legislative agenda.
The Washington State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics recently released an advisory opinion surveying regulatory and risk management issues for lawyers practicing in so-called “virtual offices.” This emerging practice arrangement can range from a solo attorney working from home to an entire firm that lacks a traditional brick-and-mortar location. Virtual offices typically rely instead on electronic resources, such as cloud-based email, filing, and billing systems.
The Alaska Bar concludes the use of email-hitchhiking “web bugs” is improper.
The Alaska Bar Association recently released a new ethics opinion on so-called “web bugs” — electronic trackers placed in email to allow the sender to see (among other things) where the recipient forwarded the email and how long the email was reviewed. In the scenario that gave rise to the opinion, an Alaska Bar member had received an email with a web bug from opposing counsel. Although the recipient discovered the web bug, the apparent intent was to track the information secretly. The recipient asked the Alaska Bar about the propriety of using web bugs. The Alaska Bar in Ethics Opinion 2016-1 concluded that the use of web bugs is improper. The opinion is available on the Alaska Bar website. Read more
No attorney-client privilege for communications between corporate or governmental counsel and former employees, state Supreme Court rules.
In a case of first impression in Washington, the state Supreme Court recently held that communications between corporate or governmental counsel and former employees do not fall within the attorney-client privilege even if the communications concern matters that occurred during a former employee’s work for the corporation or government agency involved. The Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision in Newman v. Highland School District No. 203, ___ Wn.2d ___, ___ P.3d ___, 2016 WL 6126472 (Oct. 20, 2016), was on discretionary review. Read more