On Board > A Summary of the March 2022 Board of Governors Meeting

March 10-11, 2022

The WSBA Board of Governors determines the Bar’s general policies and approves its annual budget.

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Bar structure. The Washington Supreme Court has asked the Board to make a recommendation about whether the WSBA must change structure (in light of federal litigation about the integrated-bar structure) or should change structure (to best achieve its mission). In response, the Board has launched a study process to evaluate case law, consider what an ideal bar structure looks like, and, perhaps most importantly, to hear from members. Materials, resources, and meeting access and recordings are all online at: www.wsba.org/about-wsba/who-we-are/board-of-governors/bar-structure-study. In addition to specific outreach opportunities and comment periods during meetings, you can send feedback to boardfeedback@wsba.org.

Honoring Chief Justice Fairhurst. The WSBA’s highest honor—the APEX Award of Merit—has been renamed the Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst Award of Merit. The Board noted that the late Chief Justice Fairhurst “was a legal luminary and model of WSBA service and professionalism.” 

Serve and volunteer! If you are interested in running for President-Elect or the open Governor at Large seat, apply by April 15 at www.wsba.org/about-wsba/who-we-are/board-elections/meet-the-candidates. The WSBA is also accepting applications for a wide array of committee and board volunteer appointments (there’s something for everyone!) for the 2023 fiscal year. Visit www.wsba.org/connect-serve/volunteer-opportunities to find out more. 

Local Heroes. Congratulations to our two newly minted Local Heroes, an award bestowed by the WSBA president to recognize colleagues who have made noteworthy contributions to their communities. 

  • Heidi L. Raedel Magaro, nominated by the Thurston County Bar Association, is an avid volunteer and leader in groups including Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services, the Capitol Chapter of Washington Women Lawyers, the Thurston County Bar Association, the South Puget Sound Estate Planning Council, and the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section and the Elder Law Section of the WSBA.
  • Alan Craig Anderson, nominated by the Government Lawyers Bar Association of Washington, has a long and excellent career in public service law, supplemented by his dedicated service to the community through the Thurston County Volunteer Legal Service’s Housing Justice Project. 

Volunteer vaccination requirement. The Board decided a booster shot is included in its previously adopted requirement that all volunteers doing in-person work for the WSBA must be “fully” vaccinated. The Board agreed it would not revisit the question about whether to revoke the vaccination requirement until the Washington Supreme Court revokes its own similar mandate. Per current health guidelines, masks will be optional at WSBA events. 

USPS delays and the impact on the legal process. After receiving a letter from a concerned member, the Board has been considering how unreliable and delayed service by the United States Postal System (USPS) might impact legal processes, specifically the authority that “service shall be deemed complete upon the third day following the day upon which they are placed in the mail” found in CR 5(b)(2)(a). The Board asked the WSBA Court Rules Committee to take up the issue by gathering stakeholder input and, potentially, drafting rule amendments to account for increasing mail-service delays and unreliability.

Annual meeting with the Washington Supreme Court.
The court and Board met via Zoom and discussed the ongoing bar-structure study process, the February 2022 bar exam, the WSBA’s member engagement survey, and the WSBA climate and culture. 

2022 legislative priorities and WSBA-sponsored bills. The 2022 session of the Washington State Legislature adjourned March 10. The WSBA’s two bar-request bills, put forth by the Business Law Section, were ultimately combined into one bill and signed into law. Click here for more information. 

The WSBA’s involvement with the proposed Legal Regulatory Lab. The Practice of Law Board, which is a Supreme Court board administered by the WSBA, has developed a proposal to the Washington Supreme Court to begin a Legal Regulatory Lab. The Lab would allow legal professionals and entrepreneurs to offer nontraditional legal services to consumers in Washington state. The Practice of Law Board is exploring whether the WSBA could/should be involved in regulatory functions for the Legal Regulatory Lab, which is meant to be self-funded by application fees. The Board asked for a fiscal analysis as the Legal Regulatory Lab proposal moves forward with the court. 

Other business 

The Board also:

  • Approved an emergency bylaw amendment to alter the date when the WSBA pulls voting data for elections; the change was necessary this year to allow the WSBA to incorporate recently altered congressional boundaries into its member record system. 
  • Heard an annual report from the Character and Fitness Board.
  • Heard a report about WSBA volunteer engagement.
  • Discussed how to conduct the annual process to review the WSBA Executive Director’s performance. The Board ultimately decided to use an outside HR firm to develop the evaluation process. 
  • Approved a request from the WSBA Diversity Committee to submit comments in support of proposed amendments to RPC 8.4 and other court rules.
  • Approved a request from the Family Law Section to submit comments to suggested changes to the Code of Judicial Conduct. 
  • Amended a document the Board approved in November, which outlines the roles and responsibilities of governors and the executive director. 

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The agenda, materials, and video recording from this Board of Governors meeting, as well as past meetings, are online here: www.wsba.org/about-wsba/who-we-are/board-of-governors.

SAVE THE DATE > The next regular meeting is May 19-20 in Spokane. To subscribe to the Board Meeting Notification list, email barleaders@wsba.org.