2021 Year Concept.

NWSidebar’s Top 10 Most-Read Blogs in 2021

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is already over. After a painfully slow 2020 during which the entire world was coming to grips with a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, things almost began to feel normal this past year, and the weeks and months seemed to fly by. We started going out. We dared to think about things other than the virus. We gave our streaming services a much-needed break. The virus remained an ever-present part of life in 2021, but nowhere near what it was in the year before. You can see that reflected in the variety of topics covered on NWSidebar this year. Although the pandemic has remained a challenge for lawyers and non-lawyers alike, the blogs over the past year began to stretch beyond the limitations of COVID life and back into some semblance of normalcy. As has become our annual tradition, take a look back at 2021 to see the 10 most-read blogs of the year

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Christmas office party

Gift Ideas for the Lawyer or Law Student in Your Life

Unfortunately, you probably can’t get lawyers and law students the gift they really want: eliminating their student loans. However, there’s still time to find a gift that will delight the legal wonk in your life. We can’t endorse specific products, but the WSBA ranks are chockfull of lawyers full of ideas. Here are a few WSBA-approved gift ideas for the lawyer or law student in your life.

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BarNews-DEC-JAN-2022

Analyzing the Year of the New Normal in Washington State Bar News

2021 has been a year of adaptation. Though we went into the year with cautious optimism of a return to normal, it seems that we are now coming to grips with a world in which we are collectively creating our new normal. As Mark Fucile explains in the latest Ethics & the Law column in Washington State Bar News, “there are a number of risk-management considerations for the work of a traditional law firm both inside and outside of a physical office.”

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Melting clock

Sen. Patty Murray looked at her clock and asked why?

Murray is one of 15 cosponsors on the bipartisan bill, which has floated in legislative limbo for years, reemerging annually in, to date, unsuccessful attempts to put an end to the “fall back” time change. In March, Sen. Marco Rubio, who first put the bill forward, once again reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act.

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Life ring floating in the vast expanse of sea

How Law Firms Can Prepare for Disasters with a Business Continuity Plan

It doesn’t take much to imagine the many disasters that, in an instant, could derail a law firm’s operations. Unexpected events that affect your health — pandemic, perhaps? — or others that affect your working space — think floods or fires — or cyberattacks can severely hamper your ability to provide legal services. Without a strategy to mitigate the effects of sudden calamity, you can lose time, money, and resources trying to recover. You could even end up the subject of discipline or malpractice claims if failure to prepare harms a client.

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Two-Generation Family USA Military War Veteran Senior Men

AG Ferguson: Let’s Address the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Veterans and Service Members

As attorney general, I invite Washington’s legal community to consider how we all can support veterans and service members throughout the year. My office honors the service and sacrifices of those who have served in our armed forces by working to meet their civil legal needs through our Office of Military & Veterans Legal Assistance (OMVLA). Through the Military Engagement & Directed Advocacy by Lawyers (MEDAL) program, OMVLA facilitates direct representation for military service members and veterans. The MEDAL program receives requests for legal assistance and refers qualified requests to registered volunteer attorneys who can offer assistance with self-selected civil legal issues. OMVLA also coordinates training for volunteer attorneys to acquire the skills they need to address these civil legal needs.

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Bar News Nov 2021

As In Print, So Online: Washington State Bar News Unveils a New Website

Please visit the brand new http://wabarnews.org and have a look around. You can browse all the usual Bar News features and columns, share individual articles, and browse archived PDF versions of past issues dating as far back as 2006. The November issue of Bar News features “The Case That Stuck With Me” by Gonzaga Law Professor George Critchlow, who gives a detailed account of one of his first trials: a civil rights case in Pasco in 1976 in which two African Americans challenged the racial discrimination that prevented them from purchasing a home.

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Lady Justice

Essential Tips for Renewing Your Law License in Washington

On any given day, the WSBA Service Center can generally answer calls on demand, in most cases providing answers to questions after a few minutes on the phone. But as the licensing deadline approaches, wait times increase as members rush to complete the requirements to renew their license. That is especially true this year as the WSBA will be reviewing more MCLE reported credits than usual. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Supreme Court ordered a one-year extension of MCLE reporting for licensed legal professionals in 2018–2020 reporting period. This post offers a few essential tips to improve your license renewal experience and to help you avoid any last-minute issues.

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Grim Reaper pointing finger at a camera

7 Creepy Crawly Court Cases Worthy of Halloween

There is rarely levity in the court record, much less something that one would associate with the so-called “spooky season.” Understandably, a deep dive into historic court files rarely turns up anything that could fit under the more lighthearted side of Halloween. Because when a matter ends up in court, there’s rarely anything lighthearted about it. Even a search for keywords like “haunted,” “zombie,” or “ghoulish”—though they have that Halloweeney vibe on their own—most often brings up tales of actual horror.

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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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