The Legislature closes week eight with bills, bills, and more bills. Lawmakers in both chambers have been working late to pass legislation out of the House and Senate before next week’s critical cutoff date. Bills still moving include legal financial obligation reform, the Voting Rights Act, pro bono services for military service members, and many others.
Some lawyers avoid collecting unpaid legal fees because the process makes them acutely uncomfortable or they’re concerned about a bar complaint that could result. While some clients may indeed take offense at your efforts to collect money owed you, using appropriate, empathetic, and consistent follow-up can lead to better client communication and interaction, improved cash flow, and no retaliation. And even if a complaint does arise, allowing a client relationship to fester without directly addressing the issue is not an effective strategy. Read more
Legislators in Olympia last week cleared the first milestone of the session – policy committee cutoff. Friday was the deadline for policy bills in both houses to be voted out of their policy committees. Amid the scramble, week 6 of the legislative session heard testimony and voting on several bills of interest to the WSBA. Read more
Law students often see themselves working at a public interest or legal-services setting. But after graduation, few new lawyers end up following that path. One study found just 4% of newer lawyers working in a public interest or legal services. Why might this be?
Certainly, it is not for lack of demand or the need for access to justice. Since the Great Recession, the need for affordable legal services has continued to grow, while governments continue to cut funding. Not only do these cuts harm people who can’t afford a lawyer, they also make finding a job in public-interest law and legal services increasingly difficult. Dwindling opportunities discourage newer lawyers from pursuing a career focused on social justice, even though their skills are badly needed. Read more
Friday ended Week 2 of the 2017 Washington State Legislative Session and a healthy round of bill introductions, committee hearings, and press conferences probing the process of budget-sausage making. Both fiscal and policy committees continued to hold hearings to flesh out a variety of issues, including increasing penalties for driving under the influence, legal financial-obligation changes, the Voting Rights Act, and matters related to cyber security.