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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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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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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LLLT counseling a couple

Limited License Legal Technician Program Under the Lens

Eight years after it was created, the future of the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) program is at a crossroads and, following a May 12 meeting with members of the LLLT Board, WSBA staff, and the Budget and Audit Committee, the Washington Supreme Court has been asked take action ranging from expanding the program to sunsetting it.

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Law books

Supreme Court Holds No Double Jeopardy for Lawyer Discipline

In a case of first impression in Washington, the Supreme Court recently held that the double jeopardy provisions of the United States and Washington Constitutions do not apply to lawyer discipline proceedings. In re Waechter, ___ Wn.2d ___, 419 P.3d 827, 2018 WL 2977072 (June 14, 2018), involved a lawyer who had allegedly converted client […]

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Supreme Court Approves RPC Amendments on Imputed Conflicts

The Supreme Court recently approved Rules of Professional Conduct amendments addressing imputed conflicts for public defenders. The Washington Supreme Court recently approved a package of related Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) amendments addressing imputed conflicts for public defenders. “Imputed” conflicts are those shared by all law practitioners working in a single firm. Some public defenders […]

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A wingtip shoe about to slip on a banana peel.

Idaho Soon to Require Malpractice Insurance

The Idaho Supreme Court now requires malpractice insurance for lawyers in that state. For Washington lawyers who are also licensed in Idaho, the Idaho Supreme Court recently amended its licensing rule to soon require malpractice insurance for lawyers in private practice.

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A gavel in a courtroom.

Court of Appeals Reiterates No Duty to Will Beneficiaries

Division I of the Court of Appeals in Reznick v. Livengood, Alskog, PLLC, 2016 WL 7470037 (Wn. App. Dec. 27, 2016) (unpublished), recently reiterated that will beneficiaries ordinarily do not have standing to bring a legal malpractice claim against the attorney who drew the will involved because they are not clients of the lawyer. In […]

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