Escalating Cost of Civil Litigation Task Force

In January 2011, the Board of Governors created the Task Force on the Escalating Cost of Civil Litigation to assess the costs of civil litigation in Washington state courts and develop recommendations to control costs. The task force charter

, adopted by the Board, defined costs as attorney time and expenses advanced for the purpose of litigation. The task force will focus on the types of litigation that are typically filed in Superior Court and District Courts of Washington and survey neighboring and similarly situated states to compare the cost of litigation in Washington. Seattle attorney and former Board member, Russ Aoki, chairs the 17-member task force.


The task force includes 10 WSBA members — including at least two who practice in the federal courts and one who is licensed and practices in Oregon — a judge from each level of court (limited jurisdiction, superior, and appellate), and a representative of the court clerks' association. Member roster.


The task force first met on July 12, 2011, and has held regular meetings since its inception. The last meeting occurred on May 20, 2015. No additional meetings are currently scheduled. All meetings were held at the WSBA offices. 


May 2015

April 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

February 2014

Minutes archive

Work of the ECCL Task Force

In its ongoing discussions, the task force identified the following factors for consideration:

  • Attorney time (legal fees)
  • Case management (case schedules, trial dates, fast track)
  • Case type
  • Access to justice (making legal services more affordable)
  • Pro se litigants
  • Public perception of the legal system; impact on diverse Washington communities
  • Use of alternative dispute resolution
  • Litigation costs
  • Economic motives that may increase the cost of litigation

The task force formed four subcommittees to examine specific areas: Pleadings and Motion Practice (chaired by Eric de los Santos), Discovery (chaired by Todd Nunn), Alternative Dispute Resolution (chaired by Jerry McNaul), Trial Procedure (co-chaired by Hon. Richard McDermott and Gail Nunn), and District Court (chaired by Hon. Marcine Anderson). Additional WSBA members who are not members of the task force, but have knowledge and expertise in specific areas were added to the subcommittees to provide further assistance.  

In the fall of 2013, the task force surveyed over 6,000 Bar members for their perspectives on the costs of civil litigation and approaches to reduce costs. The survey was directed to WSBA sections involved in litigation, minority bar associations, the Washington State Association for Justice, and Washington Defense Trial Lawyers. In February 2015, the task force distributed a preliminary draft report which included the results of the survey and reports from the subcommittees to stakeholders for comment. Following the comment period, the task force met to consider the feedback it received and incorporated adjustments to the report's recommendations.  The task force issued its final report on June 15, 2015, which will be first presented to the Board of Governors at the July 24-25, 2015 meeting.

Interim Reports

Contact Us

Russ Aoki
Aoki Law PLLC
1720 Olive Way, Ste 1525
Seattle, WA 98101-1816

Jeanne Marie Clavere
Staff Liaison


ECCL Task Force Final Report

June 15, 2015