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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BarNews Oct 2021 cover

Praise for Pro Bono in the New Bar News

In 2020, nearly 2,500 WSBA members contributed about 178,000 hours of pro bono legal services. That’s more than 70 hours per person, on average. That’s almost twice the national average, according to the ABA. And that’s more than 20 hours beyond the pro bono hours needed to make the Pro Bono Publico Honor Roll.

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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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Federal Court Enforces Arbitration Provision in Engagement Agreement

The federal district court in Seattle recently enforced an arbitration provision in a lawyer’s engagement agreement in Dodo International, Inc. v. Parker, No. C20-1116-JCC, 2021 WL 4060402 (W.D. Wash. Sept. 7, 2021) (unpublished). The lawyer had represented some of the plaintiffs in a series of business transactions that the court described as “ill-fated.” Litigation followed against both the lawyer and the counterparties.

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US Supreme Court building

Washington Forms New National Chapter of the FBA

For the first time, the state of Washington has its own chapter within the Federal Bar Association (FBA). Washington’s new FBA chapter was initiated by Susan D. Pitchford and Diane Butler. Pitchford previously served as president of the FBA Oregon State Chapter, and Butler has experience with such nonprofit organizations as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, and the FBA.

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Cute pit bull dog

The Pitfalls of the Pit Bull Comparison

I adore pit bulls. With small exception, they are energetic, resourceful, agile, and loyal. They are an opposable thumb and bark translator away from making great attorneys. So why do I cringe when I am compared to one? The answer is not complicated. I cringe because I am a woman and because pit bulls are, well, dogs.

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Cover of Bar News Sept. 2021

New Columns for the New Normal in the New Bar News

Among the many problems with COVID-19, this interminable pandemic does not respect print editorial production schedules. Keep that in mind when you check the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, where you’ll likely find yourself wondering, “Since when are we going ‘back to the office?’”

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Many books on a bookshelf

Hidden Gems You Probably Didn’t Think are in the WSBA Lending Library

Sadly, many WSBA members are unaware that as members they have free access to hundreds of titles through the WSBA Lending Library. Even sadder, many WSBA members think the Lending Library is just another repository for dusty tombs of legal text that weigh as much as a neutron star but are far less interesting. Happily, many WSBA members, in this regard, are wrong.

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Female lawyer smiling at camera during meeting

Building a Culture of Gender Equity: Insights from a Majority-Women-Owned Firm

I am the managing shareholder of a 50+ attorney business law firm with 29 equity partners: 16 women and 13 men. Stokes Lawrence was founded 40 years ago by two men. While we did not consciously seek to be majority women owned, we have always attracted and been successful retaining women lawyers. In fact, our firm was recently admitted to the National Association of Women and Minority Owned Law Firms

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An empty courtroom

Federal Court Looks to Choice-of-Law Provision in Legal Malpractice Case

The federal district court in Seattle recently looked to a choice-of-law provision in an engagement agreement in denying summary judgment on the statute of limitations in a legal malpractice case. U.S. Bank, N.A. v. The Glogowski Law Firm, 2021 WL 3375942 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 3, 2021) (unpublished), involved legal malpractice claims by the plaintiff bank against the defendant law firm for work in Washington and Oregon. A choice-of-law provision in the engagement agreement involved, however, designated Minnesota law as controlling because the bank is headquartered there.

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Cherry blossoms near people at the University of Washington

Meet the 2021-2022 Law Student Representatives

Each year, the WSBA partners with Washington’s three law schools and selects a law student representative from each. These student representatives both serve as liaisons who communicate issues facing students to the WSBA, and who share WSBA resources with their fellow students. Read on to meet the 2021-2022 law school representatives.

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Digital law and justice graphic with document, gavel, and scale icons

Washington Delays Statewide E-Filing for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) announced on June 25 that it was delaying the e-filing component of its Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Case Management System (CLJ-CMS) project—also known as Odyssey File & Serve (OFS). Citing concerns raised by the legal community, “Upon careful and lengthy consideration of the comments received, and several productive discussions held with leaders in the District and Municipal Court Judges Association and the District and Municipal Court Managers Association, the Project Steering Committee has decided to delay implementation of OFS while we sort through the various issues and consider other options.”

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Coronavirus vaccination record card

Can Employers Require COVID Vaccines and Other Common Questions About Vaccinations at Work

As variants of COVID-19 surge, public health guidance fluctuates, and controversies continue to erupt over vaccinations and masks, businesses across the country grapple with whether, when, and how to return to work. Naturally, employers and employees have questions as they slowly move into a new normal. Among my clients, what follows are some of the most common questions related to COVID-19 and returning to work.

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Cybersecurity graphic

Quick Steps for Lawyers to Improve Cybersecurity and Protect Client Data

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of computers in 150 countries in a matter of hours were infected with a virus, locking the computers and demanding a ransom to regain access in the now famous WannaCry ransomware attack. How were all these computers infected? Well, remember that security patch update? The commonality between all of the hacked computers is that they failed to upgrade their security patches.

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