Sept. 2023 > Inbox


We welcome letters to the editor on issues presented in the magazine. Email letters to All opinions, statements, and conclusions expressed in letters to the editor represent the views of the respective authors and do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the WSBA or its Board of Governors. Publication of letters to the editor is not to be deemed an endorsement of the opinions, statements, and conclusions expressed by the author(s).

I read with interest Scott Crain’s letter to the editor in the July/Aug. Bar News. The letter, “Are We Discussing a Unitary Court of Appeals or Not?” brought to mind an opinion I wrote on the subject, Union Bank NA v. Vanderhoek Ass. LLC. 191 Wn. App. 836 (2015). The pertinent part begins at paragraph 30. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any other opinions that have addressed this issue.

Judge Rich Melnick (Ret.), Brush Prairie

Regarding the WSBA’s “burgeoning strategic plan” [Bar News, June, page 12, endnote 1]:  

Mission creep is no doubt the root cause for the WSBA’s “burgeoning strategic plan” and suggests more dues hikes; more employees; more commissions, councils, and working groups; more CLEs; more rules; more ESG; and more wokeness. 

The recent United States Supreme Court case of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which struck down racial preferences in admissions, should trickle down into the thinking of WSBA leaders and result in deemphasizing wokeness and downsizing the strategic plan.  

The reasoning of the Court in SFFA v. Harvard indicates merit is fair to all, affirmative action is not. Taking it a step further, one could deduce that systematic racism actually applies against white and Asian people among us, not Black people, on the assumption that Black people can only achieve if special privileges are extended to them.

Proof of this is the “burgeoning” creation of diversity, equity, and inclusion departments in universities and corporations where hiring practices smack of racial preference. Even the WSBA has gotten on board by hiring a diversity officer whose job is to develop a more expansive diversity plan. 

While the Court is leading us down a race-neutral/merit-based path, the WSBA is taking us in the opposite direction. It’s enough to make an attorney wish for a voluntary bar association.  

Inez Petersen, Enumclaw

I am writing in response to WSBA President Daniel D. Clark’s article “Get Involved With Your WSBA Board of Governors!” [Bar News, July/Aug.]. I agree with President Clark that serving on the Board of Governors is a valuable experience, and I would like to advocate for the consideration of paralegal representation.

As Clark mentioned, the Board of Governors is responsible for setting the policies and priorities of the WSBA. Paralegals are often the first point of contact for clients, and they have a deep understanding of the practical challenges that lawyers face. The WSBA Board’s decisions have a ripple effect throughout the legal field, and paralegals often bear the brunt of the practical realities that follow. They also provide insights into the needs of the legal community, and they can help to ensure that the WSBA’s policies are responsive to those needs.

In addition, paralegals have a unique perspective on the legal field and the challenges that people face in becoming attorneys. They can help the WSBA Board identify and address barriers to entry, such as educational costs, the lack of diversity in the legal profession, and the need for more affordable legal services. Paralegals are also skilled communicators and negotiators, often acting as the liaison with stakeholders and clients.

Of course, there are some who argue that paralegals are not qualified to serve on the Board of Governors because they are not licensed attorneys and cannot be members. However, I believe that this is a shortsighted view. Paralegals often have more experience with the day-to-day tasks of practicing law, such as drafting and filing documents, maintaining records, system organization, and interviewing clients. They are also committed to the legal profession, and they are willing to volunteer their time to serve the WSBA.

I urge the WSBA to consider creating a paralegal position to serve on the Board of Governors. As a paralegal and future attorney, I believe that we can make a significant contribution to the Board, and I am confident that we would be a valuable asset to the WSBA.

Jordan Boggs, Anacortes

This letter comments on “Unpacking the ‘E’ in DEI: Equity” [Bar News, March 2023]. The authors of this article, the WSBA Equity and Justice Team, state, “The goal of equity work is to produce fair and equal outcomes for all. This does not mean treating everyone equally.” 

What a bizarre contradiction. The Equity and Justice Team wants equal outcomes but does not want to treat people equally. So much for fairness. It appears that equity work involves deciding which favored group gets an extra advantage in order to achieve “equal outcomes for all.”

Fair and equal are often at odds with each other. Nothing in Mother Nature and nothing involving human beings is equal. Some people are smart, some not so smart. Some people complete high school and college, some drop out of high school and never attend college. Some people apply themselves in every endeavor, some lack ambition and accomplish nothing.

Even the communist paradise turned totalitarian nightmare of George Orwell’s Animal Farm recognized this. One day appearing on the barn for all the animals to read was the following: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

Just what kind of interruption is the Equity and Justice Team talking about when they say, “As practitioners of the law, we have a duty to identify and interrupt the processes that keep us from achieving a legal system that is fair and equitable for all”?

What is their interruption all about? If they are planning action like the other egalitarian regimes in history such as the French Revolution or the Cultural Revolution in China, it can get pretty ugly pretty fast. Are they planning censorship of ideas which dissent from those of the equity experts, for example? Or are they planning on hindering Caucasians and Asians from attaining good jobs and college admissions in favor of Black people and other non-white racial groups?

Racism in the name of equity is still racism. “Equity” may be the new racism. 

Patricia Michl, Ellensburg