Civil Rights Law Section

Civil Rights Section LogoApproved by the WSBA Board of Governors in December 2008, the Civil Rights Law Section invites you to become a member of the Section. Section membership is open to any active member of the WSBA, as well as specially admitted members such as emeritus, military, or foreign house counsel. Inactive attorneys, law students, and non-attorneys are encouraged to join as non-voting members.

The Civil Rights Law Section sponsors CLEs on civil-rights law and provides a forum for activities with civil-rights organizations throughout the state. The Section focuses on the practice and policy of civil-rights law, which includes the rights of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual-orientation minorities, immigrants, those who are mentally or physically disabled, the impoverished, and the homeless; freedom of speech; freedom from state-promulgated religion; and privacy rights.

The Section developed out of the WSBA Civil Rights Committee, which had been a standing committee since the bar association was formed in 1933.

Honoring a Legacy

The WSBA Civil Rights Law Section Honors the Legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The mission of the Civil Rights Law Section is to educate and advocate for civil liberties and equal rights in the context of the legal issues of Washington state residents. Included in the statement are highlights of how the section is advocating their mission in 2014-2015.

Read the full statement released by the WSBA Civil Rights Executive Committee.

2013 Awards

The WSBA Civil Rights Law Section's Civil Rights awards were presented at the Section's Annual Event on September 13, 2013. Nominations were received, and the following individual and group were voted as recipients of this year's awards:

Distinguished Service Award: Honorable Charles V. Johnson (retired)


From left to right:  Corbett Gordon, Section Executive Committee; Judge Charles V. Johnson, Distinguished Service Award recipient; Lembhard Howell, Keynote Speaker; Alec Stephens, Section Executive Committee Trustee 


Civic Leader Award: Washington United for Marriage  






Civil Rights Law Section Weighs In on Draft Resolution Regarding Arizona Immigration Bill (SB 1070)

At the June WSBA Board of Governors meeting, the BOG Diversity Committee proposed a resolution, at the request of the BOG, in response to recently passed immigration legislation in Arizona. The resolution was then referred to the Civil Rights Law Section for review and recommendations. The Section solicited feedback from other WSBA sections and at the BOG meeting held on September 23, 2010. Section Chair Tracy Flood presented the recommendations of the Civil Rights Law Section regarding the draft resolution.

BOG Diversity Committee — draft resolution on Arizona SB 1070 

Civil Rights Law Section recommendations to BOG



 On July 30, 2010, the Civil Rights Law Section held its first annual meeting in conjunction with the CLE program "Urgent Issues in Civil Rights: Human Trafficking, Immigration and Police Accountability" at Seattle University School of Law.

The Section conducted elections for officers to serve in 2010–2011. In addition to Sharon Payant, current chair-elect, who will serve as chair, the other officers include  Patricia Paul, chair-elect; Wilberforce Agyekum, secretary; and Michelle Raiford, treasurer.

Chair, Tracy S. Flood and Sharon Payant, chair-elect, presented awards to the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington (LBAW) and M. Lorena Gonzalez.  

LBAW was presented with the Civic Leader Award for their service and commitment to Civil Rights. Lorena Gonzalez was present with the Distinguished Service Award for her dedication and leadership in the area of Civil Rights Law. Lorena was also a panelist for the Police Accountability portion of the CLE "Policing the Police." Every seat was filled for the event.

The Latina/o Bar Association of Washington's purpose and mission is to represent the concerns and goals of Latino attorneys and to actively participate with the legal community of the State of Washington.  M.Lorena Gonzalez of Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender is dedicated to representing people in employment matters, wage and hour class actions, police misconduct and sexual assault and misconduct cases.


woman with a headsetContact the Section

For general questions, please email your inquiries to To get involved in the Section and for more information, please contact the Section Chair, Alec Stephens.  

Section Administration

Bylaws, Annual Report, and Executive Committee


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Current Bill Referrals

Bills referred to WSBA sections for review, and any positions taken, during the current Legislative Biennium


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