Updated: March 24, 2023

Environmental & Land Use Law Section

The Environmental and Land Use Law (ELUL) Section represents a diverse membership with individuals who are often on different sides of an issue, but who are all committed to civil and professional cooperation for the protection and enhancement of shared communities. The ELUL Section provides benefits to members by initiating, implementing, and supporting opportunities for the interchange of ideas surrounding environmental and land use law. To further discussion among members, the ELUL Section hosts an annual midyear CLE conference each spring and Mini-CLEs throughout the year. It also supports law student development by providing scholarships and hosting networking events that create opportunities for law students to meet legal professionals.

The ELUL Section helps members keep up with this rapidly developing area of law. Accordingly, it regularly publishes information and provides access to scholarly analyses of fundamental and emerging environmental and land use law issues. The ELUL Section  website contains current, scholarly information on emerging trends in environmental and land use law, including analyses of cases, draft rules, and new statutes that affect this area of practice. During the legislative session, the ELUL Section shares information about bills that are relevant to environmental and land use law as a resource to further collaboration and discussion.

Annual Report  |   Budget  |   Bylaws  |  Year in Review  |  Section Member Resources  |   Legislation  |  Land Use and Environmental Mediation Committee

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Shape Your Section for the Future: Apply Today to Become a Section Leader

Application Deadline is 5 p.m. May 17, 2023.

The following section executive committee positions are open for applications. All terms begin Oct. 1, 2023.

  • Chair-elect: one-year position beginning Oct. 1, 2023, and ending Sept. 30, 2024.
  • At-Large Member (two positions open): three-year position beginning Oct. 1, 2023, and ending Sept. 30, 2026.

To learn more about roles and expectations for serving on the section executive committee, review this volunteer position description, which provides a general overview of section executive committee positions — these may differ for each section.

Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a current section member and should be eligible to vote in accordance with the section’s bylaws.

Application Process: Go to the myWSBA portal to complete the online application for open executive committee positions. The Section has requested that each applicant submit a statement of interest with your application. This document can be uploaded with your online application (pdf format only). Please be advised that application materials may be posted on this website for public viewing.

Note: If you are applying for more than one position on this or multiple sections’ committees, you must complete and submit all applications at the same time, as you will not be allowed back into the portal at a later time. Please make sure you are completing the applications within the application window for all of the relevant sections.

Nomination Process: The executive committee annually shall compile a list of Voting Members of the Section who are not currently members of the executive committee and who may serve on a nominating committee. The Immediate Past-Chair shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of not fewer than three persons from that list who are willing to serve on the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall make and report nominations at the annual meeting of the Section for the office of the Chair-elect and any open At-Large positions to succeed those whose terms will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. In formulating its report of nominations, the nominating committee shall maintain a view toward providing representation on the executive committee that reflects the geographic, practice-area, practice type, ethnic, gender, and other factors of diversity of the membership.

All candidates accepting the nomination of the nomination committee shall provide candidate statements to the Bar one week prior to the annual meeting. Candidates accepting a nomination from the floor of the annual meeting shall provide candidate statements to the Bar within three business days from the close of the midyear conference. All candidates shall apply through an electronic application process administered by the Bar.

Alternate Nomination Process: Other nominations may be made from the floor at the annual meeting. Candidates accepting a nomination from the floor of the annual meeting shall provide candidate statements to the Bar within three business days from the close of the midyear conference. All candidates shall apply through an electronic application process administered by the Bar.

Elections Process: All voting members of the section will receive an electronic ballot sent to their email in June 2023. Visit this webpage in early June for election updates and voting instructions.

Questions? 
For more information about the Section, its executive committee roles, and elections process, please review the Section’s bylaws. You may also contact any member of the current Section Executive Committee or email sections@wsba.org.


New! 2023 Environmental and Land Use Law Section Midyear Meeting & Conference

Register Now!

Presented in partnership with the WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law Section

Join us in-person or virtually for the Environmental and Land Use Midyear from May 11–13. We will be live from Icicle Village Resort as well as broadcasting via the internet. Hear from jurists and practitioners about crucial topics including: case updates, legislative updates, issues related to affordable housing, PFAS, ethics and representing tribal clients, and the ESA. However you chose to join us, be it in-person or via webcast, this will be an informative and interesting conference.

When: Thursday, May 11–Saturday, May 13

Time: Day 1: 12:25–5 p.m.; Day 2: 7:55 a.m.–1:45 p.m.; Day 3: 8:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Credits: 13 CLE credits (12 Law & Legal Procedure + 1 Ethics)

Tuition:
$389 — ELUL Section Members (discount applied at checkout)
$429 — Standard/Non-Section Members
$429 — Join the Section [add the Related Items ELUL Section membership ($40) to your cart during checkout and register at the Section member rate ($389)]

Keynote Speaker
Laura Watson - Director, Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia

Register Now!


Apply Now for 2023 Midyear Public Service Attorney Scholarships!

The Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the WSBA is prepared to give two $1,000 scholarships toward 2023 ELUL Midyear Conference costs and expenses. The ELUL Midyear Conference will be held May 11-13, 2023 at Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth, Washington. Scholarships may be used for conference registration, travel, room, and certain meal expenses.

Eligible applicants will meet the following requirements:

  • Work in public interest or public service (i.e., non-profit (501(c)(3)), or local, state or federal government);
  • Work in Washington State,
  • Practice in the field of environmental and/or land use law; and
  • Current member of the ELUL (membership may be established any time prior to scholarship application submittal).

HOW TO APPLY
Entrants should submit a short (one page or less) cover letter with their contact information and a brief statement to show compliance with the eligibility criteria for this scholarship. Entries should be in PDF format. Entrants must submit their entry by email to drwmson@gmail.com, with the subject line “WSBA 2023 ELUL Midyear Scholarship.” Entries must be received on or before 5:00pm PST on April 10, 2023.

SELECTION
Successful applicants will be selected at the discretion of a subcommittee of the ELUL Executive Committee. Awardees will be notified by April 14, 2023, and must confirm acceptance of the award (including intent to register for the conference) by April 17, 2023. Registration will be processed using scholarship funds, with the remaining amount awarded for other qualifying expenses upon submittal of receipts after the conference.


Advice for Law Students

The Environmental and Land Use Law Section Executive Committee has put together a collection of advice for law students. We hope you find this compilation of reflections and advice to be helpful as you navigate through the unique challenges of this unprecedented moment in history.


Get Involved!

Are you interested in speaking at a CLE seminar or in helping to organize a CLE? The section is always looking for ideas, speakers, and volunteers. To propose topics and speakers for our mini-CLEs, please contact an ELUL Executive Committee member.  To propose topics, speakers, or co-chairs for the ELUL's Annual Midyear Seminar, please contact Kyler Danielson. Co-chairs are selected in the fall of each year, and typically begin planning the next year’s Midyear Seminar toward the end of each current year.


The Benefits of Membership

The ELUL Blog

In 2020, ELUL shifted from a newsletter format to publication of articles on a blog. The blog is a free resource that provides updates and in-depth articles on cases, draft rules, new statutes, and other topics relevant to environmental and land use law practitioners. A host of talented and dedicated lawyers donate their time to make this publication the great success it is.

Spring 2017  │   Summer 2016  │  Spring 2016

November 2015  │   August 2015  │  February 2015

Archived issues are available to section members upon request. To request an issue, please email sections@wsba.org.

Midyear Seminar

Every year, the Section hosts a meeting that features a two-day CLE in a resort area in the state. The CLE program is carefully vetted through the Executive Committee to ensure that top-quality presentations focus on timely topics of current utility and interest to environmental and land use law practitioners. As most of us have practices that delve into the realms of both land use and environmental law, the CLE allows us to get up to date on both areas of the law. Again, opportunities abound to network in a relaxed atmosphere ideal for forging new friendships and working relationships. We work hard to keep the cost as low as possible for our members and provide scholarships to qualified individuals. Your dues make this possible.

Mini-CLEs

The Section provides its members with low-cost mini-CLEs to coincide with significant cases and topics relevant to environmental and land use practitioners. Please watch social media, the ELUL list serve, and this website for upcoming mini-CLEs, and please contact Martha Wehling to propose topics or speakers. Your dues make this possible. 

Sponsoring Law School Students in Internships

The Section helps sponsor internships in the fields of land use and environmental law to deserving law students at the three law schools in Washington. The Executive Committee believes it is important for the Section to help students find their way into practice areas that are highly specialized and in which it is sometimes difficult to find relevant experience. We hope that by helping law students in internships, we will help grow the highly skilled lawyers of the future. Your dues make this possible.

Special Projects

Giving back to the community is important. The Executive Committee in the past several years has developed a high school curriculum for Law Day specifically geared toward environmental and land use law, undertaken a project on sustainability of law office practices, and hosted numerous free brown bags on topics of interest such as I-297 and the Endangered Species Act. We have also sponsored Earth Day and Habitat for Humanity Work Days. Your dues make this possible.

Scholarship Information

The WSBA Environmental and Land Use Law Section solicits donations from law firms and section members to fund scholarships for its midyear meeting and conference held each spring. Scholarships serve an educational and charitable purpose by helping attorneys and law students attend the midyear conference and CLE who would not otherwise be able to attend.

Please Donate to the Scholarship Fund

To contribute to the ELUL Section Scholarship Fund, please donate online or contact the Washington State Bar Foundation. Donations are fully tax-deductible.


Executive Committee 

Chair: Donya Burns (2022-2023)

Chair-Elect: Martha Wehling (2022-2023)

Secretary: Thomas Wilcox (2022-2023)

Treasurer: Austin Watkins (2022-2023)

Immediate Past Chair: Kyler Danielson (2022-2023) 

Board of Governors Liaison*: Lauren Boyd (2022-2023) and Serena Sayani (2022-2023)

Young Lawyer LiaisonRachel Sinsheimer (2022-2024)

*Nonvoting member

Website, Communications, and Blog Editorial Board Liaisons*: Donya Burns, Gabby Gurian, and Caroline Cress

Mini-CLE Planning: Jason Foust

Blog Editors*: Clifford Kato Derek Gauthier & Chris Pierce-Wright

At-Large Members
Albert Chang (2020-2023)
Robie Russell (2020-2023)
Caroline Cress (2021-2024)
Thomas Wilcox (2021-2024)
Austin Watkins (2022-2025)
Gabrielle Gurian (2022-2025)
Jason Foust (2022-2025)

The WSBA ELUL Executive Committee generally conducts meetings via Zoom video conference on the second Tuesday of each month, from 2-3:30 p.m. 

For more information about the Executive Committee members, check out their biographies


Join Our List Serve and Follow Us on Social Media

To join the section list serve or for general section questions, please send your email address and bar number to sections@wsba.org. For more information and to get involved with the section, please contact Section Chair, Donya Burns. The ELUL Section is on Facebook and LinkedIn; please follow us to receive the most recent updates.