Escalating Cost of Civil Litigation Task Force

In January 2011, the Board of Governors approved a charter 

for the Task Force on the Escalating Cost of Civil Litigation. Seattle attorney and former Board member Russ Aoki chairs the group, which is assessing the costs of civil litigation in Washington state courts and recommendations to control costs. The charter defined costs as attorney time and expenses advanced for the purpose of litigation. The task force will focus on the types of litigation that are typically filed in Superior and District Courts of Washington and survey neighboring and similarly situated states to compare the cost of litigation in Washington.  


The task force includes 10 WSBA members — including at least two who practice in the federal courts, and one who is licensed and practices in Oregon — a judge from each level of court (limited jurisdiction, superior, and appellate), and a representative of the court clerks' association. Member roster.


The task force first met on July 12, 2011. Meetings were held on Dec. 17, 2014, Jan. 29, 2015, and April 20, 2015. Additional future meetings are scheduled for May 20, 2015, and June 17, 2015. All meetings are held at the WSBA offices. 


April 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

February 2014

Minutes archive 

In its ongoing discussions, the task force identified the following factors for consideration:

  • Attorney time (legal fees)
  • Case management (case schedules, trial dates, fast track)
  • Case type
  • Access to justice (making legal services more affordable)
  • Pro se litigants
  • Public perception of the legal system; impact on diverse Washington communities
  • Use of alternative dispute resolution
  • Litigation costs
  • Economic motives that may increase the cost of litigation

The task force formed 4 subcommittees: Pleadings and Motion Practice (chaired by Eric de los Santos), Discovery (chaired byTodd Nunn), Alternative Dispute Resolution (chaired by Jerry McNaul), and Trial Procedure (co-chaired by Hon. Richard McDermott and Gail Nunn). Additional WSBA members who were not appointed to the task force, but have knowledge and expertise in specific areas were added to the subcommittees to further assist their efforts.  

In the fall of 2013, the task force surveyed over 6,000 bar members for their perspectives on the costs of civil litigation and approaches to reduce costs. The survey was directed to sections involved in litigation, minority bar associations, the Washington State Association for Justice, and Washington Defense Trial Lawyers. The survey results will be incorporated into the final report and recommendations to the WSBA Board of Governers.

Interim Reports

Contact Us

Russ Aoki
Aoki Law PLLC
1720 Olive Way, Ste 1525
Seattle, WA 98101-1816

Jeanne Marie Clavere
Staff Liaison