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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Melting clock

Sen. Patty Murray looked at her clock and asked why?

Murray is one of 15 cosponsors on the bipartisan bill, which has floated in legislative limbo for years, reemerging annually in, to date, unsuccessful attempts to put an end to the “fall back” time change. In March, Sen. Marco Rubio, who first put the bill forward, once again reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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