WSBA Board of Governors to Meet in Bellingham December 9–10
The Washington State Bar Association Board of Governors will hold its next meeting on December 9–10 at the Hotel Bellwether in Bellingham. Second District Governor Philip Buri, of Bellingham, will welcome the Board to his home city. The public meeting will be held on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Members of the local bench and bar will be the Board’s guests for Friday’s lunch. President of the Whatcom County Bar Association is Douglas Robertson, of Bellingham.
Chair of the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC) Task Force, G. Geoffrey Gibbs, of Everett, will present recommendations regarding rules addressing admonitions for Board approval. Over the past several months, the Task Force has presented numerous suggested rule changes to the Board, and their work is nearly complete. The Task Force was formed two years ago to undertake a comprehensive review of the ELC, the procedural rules that govern Washington’s lawyer-discipline system. Recommended rule changes will be submitted to the Supreme Court for consideration.
Chair of the Board of Governors Diversity Committee, Governor Roger Leishman, of Seattle, will update the Board on diversity matters, including leadership recruitment, the WSBA membership study, the Judicial Institute pilot project, the Race and Law Task Force, and the Board’s diversity goals.
Governor Marc Silverman, of Bellevue, who chairs the Board’s Immigration Advisory Work Group, will present the first reading of a draft suggested comment to Washington’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC). The suggested comment is intended to provide clear guidance to lawyers as to what is and what is not permitted in the context of civil litigation involving individuals who are unauthorized immigrants or who are perceived to be so, in order to protect access to the civil justice system regardless of a person’s immigration status or ethnicity.
Also on the agenda are Governors’ and Liaisons’ Forums, during which governors and others in attendance may bring non-agenda items to the attention of the Board.
Following lunch, former WSBA President and Chair of the Civil Legal Needs Work Group, Wayne Blair, of Bainbridge Island, will report on the Task Force’s work. Chartered in March 2011, the Work Group is charged with soliciting and reviewing all ideas and proposals for expanding civil legal assistance to low- and moderate-income populations, and making recommendations to the Washington State Supreme Court and the WSBA for expanding civil legal assistance.
Also on the agenda is discussion about adding Board representation in Washington’s newly created 10th congressional district. Since the Board is currently at its limit of 15 members, as set by the State Bar Act (RCW 2.48), it must determine how to add representation. Each governor represents WSBA members in his or her congressional district, with the exception of District 7 (which is subdivided into three districts, due to the large number of lawyers in Seattle) and the three at-large governor positions. Governor Lee Kerr, of Kennewick, chairs a committee studying the issue, and he will report on the committee’s work and lead the Board in discussion.
Washington State Bar Foundation President Sally Savage, of Pullman, will present the Foundation’s annual report. The fundraising arm of the WSBA, the Foundation’s sole mission is to support WSBA programs that promote diversity within the legal profession and enhance the public’s access to, and understanding of, the justice system. The 2010–11 fiscal year is distinguished as one in which the WSBA invested considerable resources into building the Foundation’s capacity to achieve its mission, and President Savage will report on the early results of this investment.
Saturday morning will be dedicated to legislative matters, presented by WSBA Legislative Committee Chair Richard Bartholomew, of Lacey, and WSBA Legislative Liaison Kathryn Leathers. The report and discussion will include recommendations from the WSBA Legislative Committee regarding bill sponsorship or support, and an update on the special session currently in progress.
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