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So You Didn’t Pass the Bar: 3 Tips for Reassuring Someone Who Didn’t Make the Cut

Stressed bar candidate seeing he failed.There are few moments in life as pivotal as taking the bar exam. Being a lawyer is a dream, a life’s journey that has been incubating for years. But first you have to know the password to get in.

So much hinges on this exam: mountains of debt; the expectations of friends and family; and, of course, the belief in one’s own talents. Just the act of studying for the test can eat away at one’s mental health with thoughts like, “Maybe I’m an impostor and don’t belong to this club.” Read more »


The Birth of Baby Court, Mandatory Malpractice, and More Inside NWLawyer

Cover of NWLawyerConsider the effect that prolonged negative experiences can have on an infant or young child, or the consequences of separating parents and children, and it quickly becomes clear why an alternative court model would have such success. As the first of its kind in Washington, Pierce County’s Safe Babies Court Team, aka “Baby Court,” has already shown to save money, protect children, and keep families together. In the latest issue of NWLawyer, you’ll get a first-hand look at this innovative court model. Read more »


WSBA Law School Representatives: The New Class

Students in a law school lecture hallEvery year, hundreds of law school grads emerge bleary eyed and discombobulated, but with J.D.s in hand and the immeasurable feeling of accomplishment having passed the bar. Yet they might have spent those three years not knowing what programs and services the Washington State Bar Association offers for law students or getting familiar with the bar and its programs for members.

This year, as in previous years, we are thrilled to introduce a new batch of ambitious WSBA law school representatives who will serve as liaisons between our Washington law schools and the bar. Say hello to the new crew.


Gurpreet K. Dhatt, representative from Gonzaga School of Law Read more »


Of Character and Fitness: Who Should Be Allowed to Take the Bar Exam?

Cover Of July NWLawyerFor the first time in more than 30 years, the Washington Supreme Court issued an opinion on the character and fitness test for admission under the Admission and Practice Rules (APR). In re Simmons was an appeal from the WSBA Character and Fitness Board’s denial of Tarra Simmons’ application to sit for the bar exam. Simmons, a magna cum laude graduate of Seattle University School of Law, Dean’s Medal recipient, and Skadden Fellow, also had a troubled history of substance abuse and drug-related crimes that led to prison. In its unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Character and Fitness Board and provided some guidance as to the application of the factors for determining good moral character and fitness to practice law set out in the APRs. Simmons sat for the bar exam, passed it, and is now a member of the Washington State Bar Association.

But how did the two adjudicatory bodies looking at the same record reach opposite results? Who is Tarra Simmons? And, after a historic turn of events, what should WSBA members know about the internal workings of the Character and Fitness Board?

The July issue of NWLawyer takes a deep dive into these questions and more with an examination of the character and fitness review process, an analysis of the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Character and Fitness Board’s decision, and a first-hand account from Simmons herself. Read more »


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 funds from his trust account. Read more »