On Saturday, September 10, 2011, the WSBA Young Lawyers Division (WYLD) will host the Washington First Responder Will Clinic (Washington Will Clinic) at the Starbucks Support Center, 2401 Utah Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98134, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This event is being offered free of charge to Seattle police and fire fighters and their spouses or state-registered domestic partners (an appointment is required).

The Washington First Responder Will Clinic was originally inspired by the tragic events of 9/11 and a strong desire for attorneys to give back to first responders in their local communities. The September 10 clinic date was chosen to mark the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11 and to honor the ultimate sacrifice made by first responders that day.

At the Washington Will Clinic, volunteer attorneys provide free estate-planning advice and documents, such as wills, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives, to first responders who risk their lives every day protecting our local communities. Attorneys Ford Clary and Jenni Frere Volk introduced the program to Washington in 2006.

The September clinic will be the twentieth clinic held in Washington and will also mark its 1,000th client served since the program’s inception. Across the state, the will clinic has provided more than $500,000 worth of free legal services to first responders and their families.

Renee Maher, the surviving spouse of Federal Way Officer Patrick Maher, who was shot and killed in August 2003, is a strong supporter of the clinics. “I was a licensed attorney when Patrick was killed and we were completely unprepared,” she says. “The absolute worst time to have to answer questions about estate planning is when your spouse has just suddenly and tragically passed away….I am so grateful to see these incredible members of the WSBA step up to help our first responder families. They are making more of a difference than they will ever know. It is so important to get these documents finished and sometimes our law enforcement families just don’t know who to ask for help, or they think it will cost a fortune to get their most important documents completed.
 
“After 9/11, everyone wanted to help; everyone wanted to do something for our first responders. These clinics are the perfect way to channel that energy. WSBA members can impact these families by donating a little bit of time, knowing that they are making a huge difference.”

The Washington Will Clinic takes an extraordinary amount of volunteer manpower to run each clinic efficiently and professionally. It takes nearly 100 volunteers to staff the Seattle Will Clinic, as well as significant communication among the organizers, the WSBA, and the police and fire departments. “Ford and I recognize that the volunteers are the backbone of the clinic, and without them, we would not be successful. There is no question that our volunteers have made this program into what it is today — they are reliable, professional, and extremely devoted to the Clinic,” says Volk. 

The 2011 Washington Will Clinic schedule includes clinics in the Tri-Cities, Shoreline, Spokane, Seattle, Redmond, and Puyallup. For more information or to participate directly in the clinic, please visit www.wsba.org/willclinic (click on the “Volunteer with the Washington Will Clinic” link) or contact the Washington Will Clinic at willclinic@wsba.org.

The Washington Will Clinic is made possible by the generous support of the WYLD Public Service Committee; the WSBA Real Property, Probate and Trust Section; the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division through a subgrant from the ABA Fund for Justice and Education; and Starbucks Coffee Company. The clinic is always looking for volunteers and donations of paper, printer ink, and other supplies. If you would like to get involved, please contact Jenni Frere Volk or Ford Clary at willclinic@wsba.org.


About the Washington State Bar Association
The WSBA is an arm of the Washington State Supreme Court, exercising a governmental function authorized by Court to license the state’s 34,460 lawyers. The WSBA both regulates lawyers under the authority of the Court and serves its members as a professional association — all without public funding. As a regulatory agency, the WSBA administers the bar admission process, including the bar exam; provides record-keeping and licensing functions; and administers the lawyer-discipline system. As a professional association, the WSBA provides continuing legal education for attorneys, in addition to numerous other educational and member-service activities.

The governance of the WSBA is vested in its Board of Governors. There are three governors from the seventh congressional district; one from each of the other eight districts; and three at-large, one of whom represents the Young Lawyers Division. The president is Steven G. Toole, of Bellevue. The president-elect is Stephen R. Crossland, of Cashmere, and the immediate past-president is Salvador A. Mungia, of Tacoma. The Board meets regularly (every six weeks) at various locations around the state, and its meetings are open to the public. Much of the work of the Bar is carried out through its numerous standing committees, 27 sections, and a Young Lawyers Division with its many committees.

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