On Board > A Summary of the June 2023 Board of Governors Meeting

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

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.

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June 23-24, 2023


2024 WSBA Budget Taking Shape. The Board saw a first draft of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which maintains programs and services while purposefully using a portion of available reserves to keep license fees stable (the 2024 license fee has already been approved by the Washington Supreme Court). Looking toward the future, Board members discussed values and priorities when it comes to setting the license fee and developing the budget to best carry out the WSBA’s mission— especially in light of annual increases in the basic costs of doing business as well as potential new programs and services.

Local Heroes. The WSBA honored Hon. Michael Evans and Zachary H. Stoumbos. The Local Hero Award recognizes colleagues who make noteworthy contributions to their communities. Judge Evans was nominated by the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Bar Association for his many years of service on the bench dedicated to access to justice. Mr. Stoumbos was nominated by the Clark County Bar Association in recognition of his volunteerism and exceptional professionalism as a legal leader and mentor.

Redefinition of Eligibility for Washington Young Lawyers Committee. After a nationwide study and collection of feedback, leaders of the WSBA Washington Young Lawyers Committee are proposing changes to the WSBA Bylaws that would expand the definition of what is “new” or “young.” Specifically, the recommendation is to remove any age restrictions and make eligibility for the WYLC and associated programs/services contingent upon years of practice; and to extend the years of practice cap from 5 to 10 years. The purpose is to expand WYLC programming and support more new lawyers. The Board expects to vote on the proposed bylaw changes at a future meeting.

Proposed New Comments to RPC 1.2 and RPC 8.4 Regarding Reproductive Rights. In August 2022, the Washington State Attorney General asked the Board to confirm that lawyers who advise clients in accessing or providing reproductive health care that is lawful and protected in Washington are not in violation of legal ethical requirements nor subject to professional discipline. In response, the Board asked the WSBA’s Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) to study the issue and make a recommendation. The basic scenario, the CPE found, involves a Washington lawyer giving advice which is being treated by a prosecutor in another jurisdiction as possible criminal activity. After much consideration, the CPE presented a recommendation that the Washington Supreme Court adopt new comments to Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.2 and 8.4 (along the lines of the “special circumstances” Comment [18] previously adopted with respect to Washington’s marijuana laws). The Board asked the CPE to consider extending the scope of the proposed comments to include other potential conflicts between state and federal laws, while still specifically referencing reproductive rights as an example.

Justice and Fairness in Our Legal System. The WSBA’s Equity and Disparity Work Group was chartered in 2020 to review rules, regulations, and laws to identify those that impede real justice and fairness in Washington. A subcommittee has identified General Rule 12.2(c) as one such regulation and has proposed changes to it. The Board expects to decide at a future meeting whether to recommend the changes to the court; before then, the subcommittee is seeking member feedback via this form: https://forms.office.com/g/hX9jKw9Nqs.

SAVE THE DATE > The next regular meeting is Aug. 11-12 in Richland. To subscribe to the Board Meeting Notification list, email barleaders@wsba.org.