Why Legal Professionals Should Embrace a Legal Regulatory Lab

The Washington Supreme Court’s Practice of Law Board recently met with the Washington Supreme Court justices to update justices on the latest version of the Board’s Blueprint for a Legal Regulatory Lab, a new framework for regulating innovative legal services and business models. A legal regulatory lab is not a physical place; rather, it is a process that uses Supreme Court orders to define a set of customized regulations to allow legal professionals and entrepreneurs to safely test new services.

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BarNews March 2022

Volunteering and Professional Growth in the New Issue of Bar News

The fact is that the WSBA could not exist without its thousands of volunteers; at least, not exist in the same way. Without volunteers, an organization like the WSBA could be functional, but shallow; good enough, but never great for its members and the public. As described in the latest edition of Washington State Bar News, WSBA volunteers and their perspectives are needed “to inform the work of the WSBA and affect the direction of the profession.” WSBA Volunteer Engagement Advisor Paris Eriksen explains in the article “24 Ways to Give Back” that “volunteers speak up, criticize, critique, rethink, retool, and ask questions.” Also in this issue, you’ll find the continuation of our “Inside Scoop” column, which crowdsources valuable information for lawyers, whether they’re new to practice, venturing into new areas of law, or simply curious to learn from others’ experiences. In this month’s column, various contributors share their professional tips and tricks when it comes to “Motivation, Mentorship, and Managing Your Time.”

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Documentary crew

5 Must-See Documentaries for Lawyers

For a lawyer, examining people’s lives and solving mysteries are part of the job. And there are many documentaries that highlight these aspects of the profession. Here are my five must-see documentaries to check out today.

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Lady Justice

What You Need to Know About the Latest WSBA Bar Structure Review

The basic question remains the same: Does the structure of an integrated bar association like that in Washington, and 31 other states like it, infringe on its members’ constitutional rights? To provide further clarity in answering that question, for the second time in three years, the structure of the Washington State Bar Association is undergoing a Washington Supreme Court-requested diagnosis.

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The Ups and Downs of Starting Your Own Law Practice

For a lawyer who’s thinking about striking out on their own and starting a firm, there are naturally pros and cons. You gain more autonomy in how you practice, but lose the structure of an established firm. You get to choose how you run your business, but you also take on more risk.

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Feb 2022 Cover of Bar News with Justice Whitener

Black History Month, Bar Structure, and More in the February Bar News

Justice G. Helen Whitener is at the intersection of several identities: a gay woman, someone living with a disability, a first-generation immigrant, and the first Black woman to serve on the Washington Supreme Court. In a wide-ranging interview with Justice Whitener, which is the featured story in the latest issue of the new Washington State Bar News, Hon. Lisa H. Mansfield asked the mentor, educator, and trailblazing judge, “In our society, a combination of all five intersecting identities does not necessarily add up to a life of success and abundance. In your case, it has. What has been your journey to achieving such abundance?”

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LHHC members

Lawyers Continue to Help Feed Children During the Pandemic

In 1991, Lawyers Helping Hungry Children (LHHC) was founded by Seattle attorney Robert Mussehl and a group of dedicated lawyers who sought to end childhood hunger. For the past 22 years, LHHC has helped fund anti-hunger programs and advocated for children. LHHC currenty funds the City of Sumner Food Service Program, the Emergency Feeding Program, and Northwest Harvest, which service those in need of food throughout King County; LHHC also has a chapter in Tacoma. LHHC also funds Care, which provides nutritional food to children across the globe. Care currently works in over 100 countries, reaching close to 10 million children. LHHC remains a group of lawyers committed to ending childhood hunger.

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Multi-colored fractal background

Strange New Trip: The Emerging World of Psychedelic Law and Decriminalization

After substances like LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), and notably psilocybin (magic mushrooms) were classified as federally prohibited Schedule 1 drugs, a new wave of research into their therapeutic potential is growing, state and local governments are decriminalizing their use, and new areas of law are opening up. “Now there’s what’s referred to as a psychedelic renaissance …,” said Kathryn Tucker, special counsel at Emerge Law Group. “It’s just an incredible surge of interest.”

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Capitol in Olympia

Washington’s 2022 Legislative Session and What’s on Calendar at WSBA

The 2022 session of the Washington State Legislature began much like last year’s session—virtually and with a long to-do list! Legislators will consider a variety of issues this year. However, the general focus of the 60-day “short” session is to refine bills passed during the first half of the 2021-2022 biennium. The first day of session was Jan. 10, and it will continue through March 10.

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Diverse professional coworkers fist bumping during seminar or conference

Legal Multitasking: The Advantages of Multiple Section Membership

More than 10,000 WSBA members are also members of the nearly 30 sections spread across the many diverse practice areas of the law. Through sections, these members band together to share knowledge, perfect their skills, and push the boundaries of the legal profession. Just as no single legal professional is limited to one area of law, a number of WSBA members are actually members of multiple sections. Nicholas Pleasants, for example, is one such lawyer. A solo practitioner and owner of Pleasants Law Firm, he participates in three WSBA sections. Read on to find out why he does it and what he gets out of it.

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Books

Washington Supreme Court Outlines Contours of Confidentiality Rule

The Washington Supreme Court recently addressed the scope of the confidentiality rule RPC 1.6 in In re Cross. Cross had represented a client in a criminal case arising out of an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle the client was driving. When the criminal case resolved, Cross and the client held a confidential discussion about the possibility of pursuing a product liability claim against the ATV manufacturer. Based on Cross’s advice, the client decided not to file a product liability claim. A passenger in the ATV accident later sued Cross’s by-then former client. When the former client’s defense lawyer in the civil case moved to add an affirmative defense attributing the accident to a product defect, the passenger opposed the motion. To support the opposition, the passenger’s lawyer obtained a declaration from Cross in which he disclosed the confidential conversation he had with the former client evaluating the possibility of bringing a product claim and revealing that the former client had decided not to pursue such a claim in light of the costs and risks. A bar grievance followed.

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US Supreme Court

8 Supreme Court Cases to Watch in the 2021-2022 Term

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021-2022 term is in session and, as usual, there will be some closely watched cases. The Court now sits at a 6-3 conservative supermajority after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020. The justices will hear a number of notable cases this term, including ones that could have significant outcomes for abortion access and gun rights. Here are eight of the most noteworthy cases the Court will hear during its 2021-2022 term.

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2021 Year Concept.

NWSidebar’s Top 10 Most-Read Blogs in 2021

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

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Christmas office party

Gift Ideas for the Lawyer or Law Student in Your Life

Unfortunately, you probably can’t get lawyers and law students the gift they really want: eliminating their student loans. However, there’s still time to find a gift that will delight the legal wonk in your life. We can’t endorse specific products, but the WSBA ranks are chockfull of lawyers full of ideas. Here are a few WSBA-approved gift ideas for the lawyer or law student in your life.

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