President’s Corner > A Season for Giving Thanks



As I write this, we are approaching Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, a time of year for giving thanks, and I want to be sure to thank those who help to make our Bar Association, our local communities, and our country better through their contributions.


First and foremost, I want to note that, in the last couple of months, we have sadly lost two former WSBA presidents who dedicated several years of their lives to our organization.

Jan Eric Peterson. Former WSBA President Peterson served as fiscal year 2001 president from 2000 to 2001, during my 2L year at Gonzaga University School of Law. I am greatly impressed with the many accomplishments Jan achieved during a long and distinguished legal career. One of these was serving as president of the Washington Trial Lawyers Association (now the Washington State Association for Justice).

Jan was a partner of the law firm Peterson Wampold Rosato Feldman Luna, which he cofounded in 1973 after stints at the ACLU and OEO Legal Services. In speaking with numerous people who worked with him, I repeatedly heard that he was an amazing attorney and man, and that he gave a lot to the improvement of our legal profession. He came up with a great marketing slogan—”proud to be an attorney”—which united WSBA members during his presidential year and helped promote confidence and pride in our legal profession around the state.

William D. Hyslop. Former WSBA President Hyslop served as fiscal year 2016 president from 2015 to 2016. I had the honor of serving with him for 14 months on the Board of Governors, first during the end of his term as WSBA immediate past president, and then during his second term as immediate past president in FY 2018, when he agreed to serve after the resignation of the incumbent president.

Bill was someone I considered a mentor and a friend. He commanded respect and always had valuable input and thoughts to contribute. He served on the WSBA Board of Governors for seven years, three as a governor and four as an officer, including an extra year as immediate past president.

Bill served two terms as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, the only person to have served two terms in this role. He also had a successful private practice career at Lukins & Annis, P.S., where he served as a principal. Bill was a pillar of the Spokane community, involved in numerous public service projects to better the city. He contributed significantly to the legal community not only in Spokane County but statewide.

I wanted to share special thanks for both of these past WSBA presidents; as each day that I have the honor and privilege of serving as WSBA president I develop more respect and appreciation for those who came before me.


Immediate Past President Brian Tollefson and I sent out special thank you letters last month to the 955 WSBA members who volunteered at the Bar in fiscal year 2022. I want to publicly thank in this column each and every WSBA member who has dedicated their time, talents, and efforts in serving on various councils, committees, work groups, task forces, and other WSBA volunteer positions. As I have said, and will continue to say, it’s volunteers that allow the WSBA to fulfill its mission.


Veterans Day on Nov. 11 prompts special thanks to every WSBA member who has served our great country in the armed services. Veterans often are not given the special recognition and respect they deserve, and it is important to me. So as WSBA president, I sincerely thank each of you for serving our country. This thank you includes our WSBA President-Elect Hunter M. Abell, who currently is serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy, while also serving as an officer on the Board of Governors.


I would be remiss if I didn’t also include a thank you to all WSBA staff members who work in collaborative partnership with WSBA volunteers to achieve the organization’s mission. I have enjoyed getting to know and working collaboratively with the WSBA Executive Leadership Team, as well as many other WSBA employees over the last six years.

I would like to give specific special thanks to Bar News Editor Kirsten Lacko, Chief Communications and Outreach Officer Sara Niegowski, and the rest of the ultra-talented WSBA staff involved in putting together Bar News. Thank you for everything you do individually and collectively for our Bar Association!


Last but definitely not least, I would like to give specific thanks to the current WSBA Board of Governors. Having had the opportunity to serve on the Board of Governors since July 27, 2017, and having just finished our first regular Board meeting of the fiscal year, I am reminded of the amazing level of talent among those who choose to serve on the Board. I am also reminded of the many past governors and officers that I have had the honor of serving with and learning from. I truly believe that serving on the Board of Governors allows a WSBA volunteer to learn from fellow governors, and certainly has greatly assisted me in becoming a more confident and competent attorney. Serving on the Board can sometimes be a thankless job, but it is one of paramount importance, so I wanted to acknowledge and give special thanks to each of the currently serving governors. I encourage each of you to reach out to the current Board and also thank them for their service.

We have openings in fiscal year 2023 for governor positions, more information about which can be found on page 14. I urge each of you to give thoughtful consideration to running for open seats on the Board—and, whether you throw your hat into the ring or not, to be sure to vote in Board elections. Member participation in the election process has been very low, historically; at the last all-member election, less than 8 percent of total eligible members turned out to vote. As current president, I challenge each member to help raise those voter totals in the next election.

Finally, I want to again encourage each of you to consider the many volunteer opportunities available within the WSBA, and to get more involved in your Bar Association. Consider joining a WSBA practice section or affinity bar association, or get involved in your local county bar association. To end this month’s column in memory of and in honor of the late President Peterson, I am proud to be an attorney and a WSBA member! I hope that each of you reading this is as well.

About the author
About the author

Dan Clark is a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He can be reached at: