An American fighter jet pursues a UFO over a coastline somewhere

Core Secrets: One Attorney’s Involvement in Legal Representation Regarding UFOs

As someone with a fortuitous front-row-seat to what my client, UFO researcher Grant Cameron, has called the greatest UFO Super Bowl event of all time, my formal baptism-by-fire into the U.S. government disclosure of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)/Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) began in earnest on Jan. 2, 2019 at 2:37 p.m. PST. It was then, that I received a strange, encrypted text message that, little did I realize, would change my life and many others across the planet. Now that UFOs (and the non-zero possibility of their extraterrestrial origins) are being confirmed by the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and U.S. military agencies, it would only be prudent to get my fellow legal colleagues up to speed on these (possibly other-worldly) issues.

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Temple of Justice

The Unsettled Policy Landscape of Drug Possession Laws in Washington

On Feb. 25, the Washington Supreme Court struck down the state’s main drug possession crime in a case called State v. Blake. The ruling meant there was no state law making simple possession of drugs a crime unless the Legislature recriminalized it, which it has now done via passage of Engrossed Senate Bill (ESB) 5476. In the debate over ESB 5476, some stakeholders argued that the Blake decision was an opportunity for Washington to adopt a new approach to substance use disorders based on solutions that heal rather than continue to inflict harm on people and communities. Others advocated for recriminalization. ESB 5476 ended up taking elements of both of these approaches. It provides new statewide planning and resources for substance use services, but also recriminalizes possession.

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An empty courtroom

Court of Appeals Voids Fee-Sharing Agreement

Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals recently refused to enforce a fee-sharing agreement between two plaintiffs’ lawyers because the arrangement had not been confirmed in writing with the client as required by RPC 1.5(e)(1)(ii). Kayshel v. Chae, __ Wn. App.2d __, 483 P.3d 1285 (2021), involved an individual employment discrimination claim and a separate wage class action. The attorney who was retained initially by the client—the claimant in the individual case and the then-potential class representative in the class action—later associated another lawyer in the class action. The two lawyers eventually agreed on a fee split in percentage terms. They wrote the agreement by hand over breakfast and later confirmed the terms between themselves by email. Although the second lawyer related that he had received the client’s oral consent in a telephone call, the client was never presented with the written agreement.

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The Washington Capitol in Olympia

Washington Legislative Recap: 2021 Session Summary for Legal Professionals

On April 25, the Washington State Legislature closed its unprecedented 2021 Regular Session, capping 105 days in Olympia that for the first time was also conducted nearly entirely virtually. Despite a few technical glitches and Zoom missteps, that have become commonplace during pandemic life, the session went surprisingly smoothly and WSBA Legislative Affairs was busy throughout, monitoring hundreds of bills that are of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals.

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Official legal eviction order or notice to renter or tenant of home with face mask

What Renters Should Know About Tenant Right to Counsel and Eviction Law in Washington

For more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington renters who have been unable to pay their rent have at least been safe from being evicted. As of this writing, bills for that unpaid rent will come due July 1 for tens of thousands of Washingtonians. However, changes to Washington’s landlord-tenant law have created new protections to help people avoid evictions, mediate disputes with landlords, and guarantee that certain renters have free legal representation. On April 22, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5160. Originally sponsored by state Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, the legislation adds a number of tenant protections such as “providing for legal representation in eviction cases, establishing an eviction resolution pilot program for nonpayment of rent cases, and authorizing landlord access to certain rental assistance programs,” according to the final bill report.

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Cover of April/May 2021 Bar News depicting a cow

Home on the Range and a Home of Our Own in Latest Bar News

For many, dairy farms will bring to mind pleasant imagery of placid cows nibbling grass and farmworkers ambling in the pre-dawn hours with stool and milking bucket in hand. In reality, the job of a dairy farmworker involves handling sometimes dangerous fully grown cows, machinery that can lead to injury or death, and long hours in a risky environment. These are some of the reasons why dairy farmworkers fought and won the right to overtime pay after the landmark Washington Supreme Court decision Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Bros. In the newest issue of Washington State Bar News, Marc Lampson breaks down the court’s decision and provides a detailed history of dairy farming to explain how this battle for overtime pay and worker safety on dairy farms came about.

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A lawyer questioning a witness in front of the judge in a courtroom.

Being the Lawyer the World Needs: How to Keep Growing Professionally and Up Your Trial Skills

Since becoming a lawyer, have you ever wondered why you chose this career path? Have you ever wondered if you were cut out for the immense pressures that our profession seems to effortlessly lay upon our shoulders? I mean, first comes law school, then comes the LSAT, then comes trying to figure out how to actually practice law (in a baby carriage)! And for those of us trudging through trial practice, the learning, growing, memorizing—all in an effort to really make a difference in this world—never really seem to stop. The most seasoned attorney and the most novel attorney probably have more in common than one might think: respect for the law, respect for the judicial process, and respect for those needing legal help. For an attorney to succeed in their career endeavor, they must be willing to learn from others, adapt, and remember why they chose this profession in the first place.

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Well-Being Week Banner

What’s in Store for Well-Being Week at the WSBA

Over the past five years, there has been a steady and growing change in how we as a profession address the mental health of attorneys. And over the next five days, the WSBA is joining other organizations around the nation in a rallying cry to further end stigma, support one another, and promote changes leading toward a healthier profession and, in doing so, better representation for clients. From May 3 to 7, the WSBA is joining other bars, firms, and organizations in recognizing Well-Being Week in Law.

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Deputy testifies in court

The History and Mechanics of Qualified Immunity and Police Accountability

Among the many issues at the center of debates over police-involved killings, particularly killings of people of color, few are as impactful as qualified immunity. But for as often as qualified immunity is pulled into wider debates, the concept itself is idiosyncratic and opaque, perhaps even among legal professionals. It is not a law but a precedent, not an act of government but a judicially created doctrine. King County Superior Court Judge David Whedbee is one of the organizers behind a planned full-day event aimed at examining qualified immunity. On May 7, Whedbee and Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary I. Yu will cohost “Qualified Immunity 360,” sponsored by the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission and featuring panelist presentations and discussion “to educate practitioners, judges, law students, and the public on the mechanics, history, and public policy behind the doctrine.”

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Lawyer with takeaway coffee and flu mask on city street

Take It from a WSBA Volunteer: A Q&A With Nicholas Larson

Meet Nicholas Larson. All this week, the WSBA is joining others around the country during National Volunteer Week to recognize and celebrate the many invaluable volunteers who devote their time and expertise to carry out the WSBA mission of serving the public, ensuring the integrity of the legal profession, and championing justice.

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Take It from a WSBA Volunteer: A Q&A With Stacey L. Romberg

Meet Stacey Romberg. All this week, the WSBA is joining others around the country during National Volunteer Week to recognize and celebrate the many invaluable volunteers who devote their time and expertise to carry out the WSBA mission of serving the public, ensuring the integrity of the legal profession, and championing justice.

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A diverse group of legal volunteers.

Take It from a WSBA Volunteer: A Q&A with Michele Carney

Meet WSBA volunteer Michele Carney. All this week, the WSBA is joining others around the country during National Volunteer Week to recognize and celebrate the many invaluable volunteers who devote their time and expertise to carry out the WSBA mission of serving the public, ensuring the integrity of the legal profession, and championing justice.

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Image of a neon size that says quiz in all capital letters

Take Our Quiz: Which Type of Legal Volunteer Are You?

There are many available volunteer opportunities at the WSBA. Use this quiz to get some ideas for which roles align with your interests, skills, and professional goals. Please note that certain eligibility requirements may apply for a given volunteer role. To learn more and see all available roles, check WSBA Volunteer Opportunities and read the […]

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Derek Chauvin trial with Judge Tollefson commenting on KING 5

The Derek Chauvin Trial: Early Insights from WSBA President-Elect’s Judicial Perspective

Very little about the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is standard. The mere fact that there is a trial is somewhat unusual. Police-involved deaths rarely result in prosecutions, let alone convictions of the officers involved. (Despite about 1,000 police-involved deaths per year, since 2015 only 121 officers have been arrested on charges of murder or manslaughter resulting in 44 convictions, according to the New York Times.) Few police-involved deaths are as widely well-known as the summer day in 2020 and the now-infamous video showing Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, ending in Floyd’s death. And certainly, never before has such an intensely high-profile criminal case taken place amid the unprecedented courtroom restrictions to amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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