Labor and Employment Law Section

employment contractWelcome to the Washington State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section, one of the larger sections of the state Bar with more than 1,000 members. The Section includes members who practice many different aspects of labor and employment law, including lawyers representing private- and public-sector employers, unions, management, and individual employees as well as law professors, arbitrators, and other neutrals. Section members practice throughout the state. Lawyers interested in joining the Section can read additional information.

Save the Date!
Friday, Nov. 18, 2016
16th Annual CLE

Washington State Convention Center in Seattle (and by webcast). 

Presented by the Labor and Employment Law Section of the WSBA

Don’t miss it! Last November’s day long CLE was very successful, with rave reviews from attendees and total attendance of 240 registrations. This continued the Section’s multiple-year streak of record-breaking attendance.   The increase in the number of attendees participating via Webcast shows that the Section’s high-quality CLE is being made accessible to attorneys across the state.

During the day-long event, attendees will enjoy interactive and highly-engaging presentations on important labor and employment topics ranging from the year’s legal developments in state and federal law to workplace specialty topics by the experts.  The day will also include a hosted a networking lunch.  Besides mingling with fellow labor and employment lawyers, the lunch will showcase a special tradition of our Section which helps budding labor and employment lawyers get invaluable experience. The Section awards a summer internship to one student each from our three in-state law schools to do summer labor and employment work in positions that might not typically be paid, such as those with government agencies or public interest work. We will have the opportunity to meet and congratulate the grant recipients. 

We look forward to another excellent CLE in November of 2016.   Be sure to watch the website and the list-serve for specific SAVE THE DATE information and program details as we get closer to November. 

Election Results and 2016 Executive Committee Members

The WSBA Labor & Employment Law Section is one of the largest and fastest-growing sections of the Bar. The Executive Committee meets monthly to plan and coordinate the activities of the Section. In accordance with the Section’s bylaws, the Executive Committee is composed of 13 members. Four practice primarily as defense counsel in the private sector; two serve as counsel in the public sector; one is a neutral; three practice primarily as plaintiff's counsel in the private sector; and three serve as counsel for labor unions.  We also have a Young Lawyers Division liaison who practices labor or employment law. We strive for diversity in every way, including representation from across the state.  

The Section recently elected three new members for a public sector seat, a plaintiff’s counsel seat and a union counsel seat – those seats being vacated by Marie Gallagher, Alex Higgins, and Margaret Cary. Many thanks to Marie, Alex, and Margaret, for their years of dedication and hard work on behalf of all Section members.

There was a very strong group of candidates for the open seats.  The newly-elected Executive Committee members, by sector, are as follows:

Public Sector: Jamal Whitehead.  Jamal is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington.  He represents the United States and its agencies in a wide array of civil lawsuits, with his primary focus being in employment law disputes.

Labor Union: Brad Medlin. Brad is an attorney at Robblee Detwiller & Black. He represents labor unions, individual workers, and laborers in labor arbitrations, as well as in state and federal court.

Plaintiff: Jillian Cutler is an attorney at Frank Freed Subit & Thomas. Her practice focuses on representing employees in discrimination, retaliation, and disability rights cases. She also represents public sector unions in labor matters.

The Executive Committee also selected its Young Lawyer Liaison from an incredibly skilled, diverse, and talented batch of applicants. Emily Arneson is an attorney at the Spokane firm of Witherspoon Kelley. Her litigation practice focuses on employment law, where she counsels both private and public employers, in both unionized and non-unionized work forces.

Finally, we are very pleased to welcome our new Board of Governors Liaison, Angela Hayes. Angie is a member of the Section, who practices labor and employment law in-house with Associated Industries in Spokane.


2016 Executive Committee and Liaisons

Chair: Leslie Hagin (plaintiff counsel)

Treasurer: William M. Symmes (defense counsel)

Secretary: Laura Ewan (union counsel)

Other Members: Keller W. Allen (defense counsel); Jillian Cutler (plaintiff counsel); Brad Medlin (union counsel); Erica Shelley Nelson (union counsel); Grace O’Connor (public sector counsel); Katie Rosen (defense counsel); James Shaker (defense counsel); Shelly Shapiro (neutral); Victoria Vreeland (plaintiff counsel); Jamal Whitehead (public sector counsel)

Board of Governors Liaison: Angela Hayes (in-house counsel, associated industries)

Young Lawyer Liaison: Emily Arneson (defense counsel)

Resources for Members
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Contact the Section

Section members: To join the Section list serve and for general questions, please send your email address and Bar number to For more information and to get involved with the Section, please contact the Section chair, Leslie Hagin.

Section Administration

Bylaws, Annual Report, and Executive Committee


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