Two-Generation Family USA Military War Veteran Senior Men

AG Ferguson: Let’s Address the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Veterans and Service Members

As attorney general, I invite Washington’s legal community to consider how we all can support veterans and service members throughout the year. My office honors the service and sacrifices of those who have served in our armed forces by working to meet their civil legal needs through our Office of Military & Veterans Legal Assistance (OMVLA). Through the Military Engagement & Directed Advocacy by Lawyers (MEDAL) program, OMVLA facilitates direct representation for military service members and veterans. The MEDAL program receives requests for legal assistance and refers qualified requests to registered volunteer attorneys who can offer assistance with self-selected civil legal issues. OMVLA also coordinates training for volunteer attorneys to acquire the skills they need to address these civil legal needs.

Read More…
Bar News Nov 2021

As In Print, So Online: Washington State Bar News Unveils a New Website

Please visit the brand new http://wabarnews.org and have a look around. You can browse all the usual Bar News features and columns, share individual articles, and browse archived PDF versions of past issues dating as far back as 2006. The November issue of Bar News features “The Case That Stuck With Me” by Gonzaga Law Professor George Critchlow, who gives a detailed account of one of his first trials: a civil rights case in Pasco in 1976 in which two African Americans challenged the racial discrimination that prevented them from purchasing a home.

Read More…
Lady Justice

Essential Tips for Renewing Your Law License in Washington

On any given day, the WSBA Service Center can generally answer calls on demand, in most cases providing answers to questions after a few minutes on the phone. But as the licensing deadline approaches, wait times increase as members rush to complete the requirements to renew their license. That is especially true this year as the WSBA will be reviewing more MCLE reported credits than usual. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Supreme Court ordered a one-year extension of MCLE reporting for licensed legal professionals in 2018–2020 reporting period. This post offers a few essential tips to improve your license renewal experience and to help you avoid any last-minute issues.

Read More…
Grim Reaper pointing finger at a camera

7 Creepy Crawly Court Cases Worthy of Halloween

There is rarely levity in the court record, much less something that one would associate with the so-called “spooky season.” Understandably, a deep dive into historic court files rarely turns up anything that could fit under the more lighthearted side of Halloween. Because when a matter ends up in court, there’s rarely anything lighthearted about it. Even a search for keywords like “haunted,” “zombie,” or “ghoulish”—though they have that Halloweeney vibe on their own—most often brings up tales of actual horror.

Read More…
Hands in blue medical gloves filling a syringe with vaccine.

Inoculation Altercation: What Critics Misunderstand About the Washington Supreme Court Vaccination Order

Two months ago, the Washington Supreme Court issued an order requiring court employees and contractors either to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to qualify for a medical or religious exemption from vaccination. The court also “strongly encouraged” other Washington courts to adopt a similar requirement for themselves. Since then, there has been public criticism of the court’s order, including from within the legal community. The Washington Supreme Court’s power to issue the order comes from two sources: inherent and statutory.

Read More…

The Federal Government’s Focus on Debt Collection Post-COVID

When the pandemic began early last year, the government extended aid to families and businesses everywhere. Funding was provided, payments were deferred, and many people were temporarily spared from facing eviction. Now that the workforce is beginning to restabilize, creditors and other institutions that are owed a balance from individuals are pushing harder for repayment. In many places rent moratoriums have expired, allowing landlords the right to evict for nonpayment. Many people are being forced to prioritize payments to bring down either their consumer debt or medical debt, and it is not uncommon for them to prioritize their mortgage or rent payments over a credit card bill.

Read More…
BarNews Oct 2021 cover

Praise for Pro Bono in the New Bar News

In 2020, nearly 2,500 WSBA members contributed about 178,000 hours of pro bono legal services. That’s more than 70 hours per person, on average. That’s almost twice the national average, according to the ABA. And that’s more than 20 hours beyond the pro bono hours needed to make the Pro Bono Publico Honor Roll.

Read More…
a man with a personal injury finally gets some legal representation

Pandemic Pro Bono: Washington Lawyers Recognized Nationally For Pro Bono Contributions

Michael Terasaki started his new role in what he calls “Zoom land.” For Terasaki and others who coordinate pro bono and low bono legal services in Washington, the new normal amid the undulating cycles of pandemic chaos has been a stew of new opportunities and new limitations, rising needs for legal aid and limited resources to meet it. It’s not necessarily the case that volunteerism has fallen dramatically—its dipped slightly, he said—but the pandemic clobbered the available legal aid with a sudden and dramatic increase in clients.

Read More…

Federal Court Enforces Arbitration Provision in Engagement Agreement

The federal district court in Seattle recently enforced an arbitration provision in a lawyer’s engagement agreement in Dodo International, Inc. v. Parker, No. C20-1116-JCC, 2021 WL 4060402 (W.D. Wash. Sept. 7, 2021) (unpublished). The lawyer had represented some of the plaintiffs in a series of business transactions that the court described as “ill-fated.” Litigation followed against both the lawyer and the counterparties.

Read More…
US Supreme Court building

Washington Forms New National Chapter of the FBA

For the first time, the state of Washington has its own chapter within the Federal Bar Association (FBA). Washington’s new FBA chapter was initiated by Susan D. Pitchford and Diane Butler. Pitchford previously served as president of the FBA Oregon State Chapter, and Butler has experience with such nonprofit organizations as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, and the FBA.

Read More…
Cute pit bull dog

The Pitfalls of the Pit Bull Comparison

I adore pit bulls. With small exception, they are energetic, resourceful, agile, and loyal. They are an opposable thumb and bark translator away from making great attorneys. So why do I cringe when I am compared to one? The answer is not complicated. I cringe because I am a woman and because pit bulls are, well, dogs.

Read More…
Cover of Bar News Sept. 2021

New Columns for the New Normal in the New Bar News

Among the many problems with COVID-19, this interminable pandemic does not respect print editorial production schedules. Keep that in mind when you check the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, where you’ll likely find yourself wondering, “Since when are we going ‘back to the office?’”

Read More…
Many books on a bookshelf

Hidden Gems You Probably Didn’t Think are in the WSBA Lending Library

Sadly, many WSBA members are unaware that as members they have free access to hundreds of titles through the WSBA Lending Library. Even sadder, many WSBA members think the Lending Library is just another repository for dusty tombs of legal text that weigh as much as a neutron star but are far less interesting. Happily, many WSBA members, in this regard, are wrong.

Read More…
Female lawyer smiling at camera during meeting

Building a Culture of Gender Equity: Insights from a Majority-Women-Owned Firm

I am the managing shareholder of a 50+ attorney business law firm with 29 equity partners: 16 women and 13 men. Stokes Lawrence was founded 40 years ago by two men. While we did not consciously seek to be majority women owned, we have always attracted and been successful retaining women lawyers. In fact, our firm was recently admitted to the National Association of Women and Minority Owned Law Firms

Read More…