The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors will hold its next meeting on Thursday, January 26 at the Indian Summer Country Club in Olympia. Third District Governor Brian Kelly, of Chehalis, will welcome the Board to the capital city. The public meeting will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. On Friday, January 27, the Board will have its annual private meeting with the Washington State Supreme Court.

The Board will welcome members of the local bench and bar at lunch. Toni Hood, of Olympia, is president of the Thurston County Bar Association. Jason McGill, of Olympia, is president of the Government Lawyers Bar Association. A highlight of the luncheon will be the presentation of two Local Hero Awards by WSBA President Stephen Crossland. Leslie Owen, nominated by the Thurston County Bar Association, and Jennifer Meyer, nominated by the Government Lawyers Bar Association, both of Olympia, will receive awards. As the Board of Governors travels around the state, these awards are presented to local attorneys who have made noteworthy contributions to their communities.

Chair of the Board of Governors Diversity Committee, Governor Roger Leishman, of Seattle, will update the Board on diversity matters, including the WSBA membership study, currently underway. The Board is scheduled to vote on whether to affirm its September 19, 2008, Resolution Regarding Marriage and the Law and support legislation providing for equal access for same-sex couples to civil marriage and its attendant legal rights and obligations.

Washington State Bar Foundation President Sally Savage, of Pullman, and Foundation Director of Development Megan McNally will present the first reading of a proposal to add the opportunity for members to make a donation to the Foundation as part of the annual license-renewal process.

WSBA delegate to the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates Deborah Perluss will present proposed standards for language access in the courts for those with limited English proficiency. She will also present a resolution from the ABA Commission on Disability Rights that urges entities that administer law-school admission testing to provide accommodations that best ensure the skills (and not their disabilities) of test-takers are measured. The Board will be asked to support these two items, which will be on the agenda for the ABA Midyear Meeting in February. The WSBA has seven delegates to the ABA House of Delegates.

Also on the pre-lunch agenda are Governors’ and Liaisons’ Forums, during which governors and others in attendance may bring non-agenda items to the attention of the Board.

Governor Marc Silverman, of Bellevue, who chairs the Board’s Immigration Advisory Work Group, will present a draft suggested comment to Washington’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for action. The suggested comment is intended to provide clear guidance to lawyers as to what is and what is not permitted in the context of civil litigation involving individuals who are unauthorized immigrants or who are perceived to be so, in order to protect access to the civil justice system regardless of a person’s immigration status or ethnicity.

Treasurer and Fifth District Governor Nancy Isserlis, of Spokane, and Deputy Director for Finance and Administration Julie Mass will present the 2011 audited financial statements (the WSBA’s fiscal year runs October through September). The WSBA received an unqualified opinion — the highest opinion possible — from its independent auditors.

Seattle attorney Lish Whitson, chair of the Local Rules Task Force, will present the first reading of revised Family Law Civil Rules. After approval at a later meeting, they will be submitted to the Supreme Court for consideration. Created in 2007, the Task Force’s mandate is to review the purpose and function of local rules; the impact of local rules on courts, litigants and the trial bar; and possible means to mitigate the detrimental effects of the ever-increasing number of local rules on lawyers practicing in multiple courts. 

Board Legislative Committee Chair Leland Kerr, of Kennewick, and WSBA Legislative Liaison Kathryn Leathers will update the Board on legislative matters

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