Police shootout

State Supreme Court Case Could Determine Fate of King County’s Inquest Process

King County is one of the only jurisdictions in the country that requires an inquest every time a police officer kills a community member. But will these inquests continue to be largely pro forma processes that almost always appear to absolve officers of wrongdoing? Or will they become a meaningful tool for police accountability, a truly fair and transparent examination of what happened and why when law enforcement kills a member of the community? Families whose loved ones have been killed by law enforcement hope it is the latter.

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A woman in front of her computer working at home on Zoom.

ABA Issues New Ethics Opinion on Remote Working

The pandemic has forced many lawyers to work remotely. In some instances, that simply means working out of a home office in the same city that the lawyer’s firm is based. In others, however, lawyers have been working from second homes in states in which they are not licensed to practice law. The American Bar Association (ABA) recently addressed this latter aspect of remote work in a new ethics opinion—Formal Opinion 495, issued on Dec. 16.

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Accounting woman in a COVID mask

A Step-by-Step Guide to Year-End Bookkeeping for Law Firms

It’s that time again! Not just for holidays and eggnog, but also taxes, 1099s, and other year-end financial must-dos. And after the year we’ve had – what with PPP loans and unplanned expenses – the process will be more complicated than ever. If we set aside just a few minutes to organize our year-end now, we’ll find ourselves much less stressed when the new year and tax deadlines roll around. This practical, step-by-step guide will set you and your firm up for a year-end win and success in 2021.

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An empty courtroom

A View from the Respondents Regarding Subject Matter Jurisdiction

We were counsel for Olympic View Water and Sewer District in Ronald Wastewater District v. Olympic View Water & Sewer District. Benjamin Gould’s article in NWSidebar suggesting the Supreme Court’s reasoning in that case departed from past decisions of the court on subject-matter jurisdiction, fails to acknowledge supportive Supreme Court precedent.

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Law books

Supreme Court Applies Corporate Attorney-Client Privilege to ‘Functional Employees’

The Washington Supreme Court recently applied the corporate attorney-client privilege to “functional employees” in Hermanson v. Multicare Health Systems, Inc. In the privilege context, “functional employees” are not directly employed by a corporation but are sufficiently integrated into a company’s operations that some federal courts—including the 9th Circuit and Washington’s federal district courts—had concluded that they fall within the corporation’s attorney-client privilege.

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Lady Justice

Risk Management by the Numbers – New ABA Study on Malpractice Claims

Approximately every four years since 1985, the American Bar Association has published a “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims.” Plaintiffs’ personal injury and family law are the most frequent source of claims, according to the latest profile. Although the Profile does not correlate the severity of claims by practice area, the Profile’s “anecdotal observations” section suggests that business and commercial law have traditionally been higher-risk areas on this score.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I Dissent: The Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Perhaps the most impactful of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous dissents came in a case about gender pay inequity in the workplace: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007). Plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter began working as a supervisor at the Goodyear Tire plant in Gadsen, Alabama, in 1979. She worked there for 19 years and for most of that time was the only woman manager.

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NLG Legal Observers at protest

The Green Hats at the Protests: National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers

Perhaps you’ve seen us at a march or rally, or wandering around the former Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP). You can’t miss the green hats; they’re the brightly colored beacons that let everyone know who we are and why we are there. Or perhaps you heard about us in the news after we, too, were subjected to the police’s use of blast balls and pepper spray. We are National Lawyers Guild legal observers.

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A diverse group of attorneys

Mandatory Equity and Anti-Bias Training on the Table Again

Six months after an unsuccessful effort to incorporate new mandatory subject areas within the ethics education requirements for Washington legal professionals, the Washington Supreme Court MCLE Board has suggested a similar but more narrowly focused amendment that is so far being viewed more favorably by WSBA members.

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law books

Fine Print: Federal District Court Distinguishes Disciplinary and Malpractice Defense in Coverage Decision

Professional liability policies for lawyers and law firms often distinguish between disciplinary and malpractice defense. Some don’t cover disciplinary defense or, if they do, include a much lower coverage limit. A recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington underscored the practical impact of the distinction between disciplinary and malpractice coverage.

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