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

Nov. 5, 2022

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

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TOP MEETING TAKEAWAYS

Volunteer Vaccination Policy Rescinded. In alignment with the Washington Supreme Court’s most recent COVID-19 directives, the Board rescinded its COVID-19 volunteer vaccination policy. The executive director will enact new health and safety procedures corresponding to public-health guidance. For current information on the policy, visit www.wsba.org/connect-serve/volunteer-with-wsba/covid-19-vaccination-information-for-volunteers.

Celebrating Rural Practitioners! Gov. Inslee proclaimed Nov. 15, 2022, as Rural and Small-Town Practice Day in the state of Washington, thanks to the advocacy of the WSBA’s Small Town and Rural Practice (STAR) Committee. That same day, we held a Zoom event detailing the critical need and significant opportunities for lawyers in rural communities. And let’s all give a big hooray for our legal colleagues working in far-flung areas of the state! Read some of their stories in the November 2022 issue of Bar News and on the NWSidebar blog. 

Congratulations to two newly minted Local Heroes. Ana Cecilia “Ceci” Lopez (nominated by the Whatcom County Bar) was recognized for her exceptional support of the Whatcom County community and her leadership and dedication as a legal educator. She is an assistant professor at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. She also serves on the board of the Bellingham Co-Op, is a fellow at the Washington Leadership Institute, and volunteers for LAW Advocates.

Annalise Martucci (nominated by the Skagit County Bar) was recognized for her compassion, devotion, and commitment to her clients and her community, and her outstanding pro bono and volunteer service. She recently joined the staff of the Office of Civil Legal Aid; previously, she was an assistant managing attorney at Northwest Justice Project (NJP), where she led the Screening Unit in handling intake for a statewide legal hotline. Martucci is also one of the founding board members of Skagit Legal Aid and an active member of Washington Women Lawyers. Read more at www.wsba.org/news-events/media-center/media-releases/.

Bar Licensure Task Force. The Washington Supreme Court’s Bar Licensure Task Force continues its work and expects to develop recommendations for possible bar-exam alternatives. At the January 2023 Board meeting, the task force co-chairs are scheduled to give an update, including information about an outreach plan to talk with members about the recommendations in summer 2023. For more information, contact Governor Brent Williams-Ruth (brentwr.bog@gmail.com), WSBA’s representative to the task force.

Inclusive Language in Court Rules. The Board approved the WSBA Court Rules and Procedures Committee’s recommendation to ask the Supreme Court to amend CrRLJ 4.7 to remove gendered language. The amendments do not change the substance of the rule. Board members noted there is more work to be done throughout the rules regarding inclusive language.

Council on Public Defense (CPD) Matters. Upon the CPD’s request, the Board approved an advisory statement on minimum experience for representation of persons accused of Class B and C felonies outlined in Indigent Defense Standard 14.2(E); the advisory statement will now be published on the WSBA’s website and distributed to public defenders. The Board also, at the CPD’s request, authorized submitting a letter to the Legislature in support of the Washington State Office of Public Defense’s annual budget request.

2023 Legislative Priorities and WSBA-Sponsored Bill. The Board approved the WSBA’s overall priorities for the upcoming session: monitoring and taking appropriate action on legislative proposals related to the practice of law and administration of justice, supporting legislative proposals approved by the Board under GR 12 constraints, and supporting legislative proposals initiated by WSBA Sections and approved by the Board. Apropos of the last priority, the Board approved the WSBA-request legislation put forth by the Business Law Section to amend the Washington Business Corporation Act regarding holding-company reorganization transactions and stock splits.

Washington State Bar Foundation Annual Report. The Foundation provides financial support for the WSBA’s programs that promote diversity within the legal profession and enhance the public’s access to and understanding of the justice system. Here are a few highlights from the Foundation’s last fiscal year: $305,000 designated to WSBA programs, including $50,000 for Powerful Communities grants, a film screening of Crime on the Bayou and a subsequent panel discussion, and continued support of the Moderate Means Program.

Other business

The Board also:

  • Heard an overview of the WSBA’s APR 6 Law Clerk Program, which is an alternative to law school for lawyer licensure in Washington.
  • Held its annual anti-harassment training.
  • Approved the WSBA Personnel Committee’s plan for the executive director evaluation process.
  • Discussed its recruitment policy and practices to engage potential new governors.  

MORE ONLINE > 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 Jan. 13-14 in Seattle. To subscribe to the Board Meeting Notification list, email barleaders@wsba.org.