How Policing in Washington is Changing After the 2021 Legislative Session

What is needed for police reform? Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in cities throughout America to highlight the urgent need to address that question. Here in Washington, officers kill more 35 people each year on average, although this is a low estimate as it only tracks shootings and not other modes of police killing. Two years ago, voters passed Initiative 940, which set new standards for use of deadly force and established requirements for law enforcement to receive de-escalation, mental health, and first-aid training. Yet, officers have killed more than 100 people in Washington since the initiative went into effect.

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A Few Things Everyone Should Know About the WA Cares Fund

Washington is the first state in the nation to create a trust to fund long-term care costs for its residents, which will be funded through a mandatory payroll tax of .0058 percent. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, all W2 employees will be taxed $0.58 per $100 of income, with no cap on wages. Self-employed earners can opt-in to the program when the state makes applications available in January 2022.

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Enjoy a Summer of Reading With Bar News

Unlike last summer, this year you can do actual things. If you want, you can even go to a beach. While you’re there, building up stockpiles of Vitamin D to get you through the coming winter, there are few ways better to laze away a few warm, sunny hours than sticking your nose in a good book. Although this summer is very (fortunately) different from last year, at least one thing remains (also fortunately) consistent: the Washington State Bar News annual summer reading list. In the latest issue, check out the top picks for books as recommended by members, and even a few titles written by members.

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Federal Court Looks at Prospective Client Rule

The federal district court in Seattle recently discussed the prospective client rule—RPC 1.18—in denying a motion to disqualify a law firm. Collins v. Nova Association Management Partners LLC, No. C20-1206-JCC, 2021 WL 2184879 (W.D. Wash. May 28, 2021) (unpublished), involved Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and related claims by a condominium unit owner against his owners association and its management company.

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Legal Regulatory Sandbox Could Incubate Innovation in Washington

Judiciaries in Washington and other states are wrangling over how the practice of law can catch up with rapidly evolving demand and new technology. The answer might come in a Legal Regulatory Sandbox proposed by the Washington Supreme Court’s Practice of Law Board. Imagine a website that could guide people through contesting traffic infractions. More […]

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10 Popular Legal Podcasts You Should Hear

From advice backed by research to engaging storytelling to, perhaps, a little humor here and there, legal podcasts run the gamut regarding style and content. From learning the basics to polishing your skills in the legal field, listeners will get a good dose of legal wisdom from experts in the profession and related industries. Here are 10 popular legal podcasts you can, and should, listen to right now:

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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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Cover of June 2021 Bar News

What are NFTs? Find Out in the Latest Issue of Bar News

In the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, attorneys David Sheldon and Leron Vandsburger answer some key NFT questions and explain the rights that are transferred through an NFT transaction and what legal professionals should know before talking to a client about whether to get into NFTs.

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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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