Connect with Peers and Practitioners through WSBA's 29 Sections

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Sections members become part of active professional communities and gain access to an array of exclusive section member benefits. Over 10,000 WSBA members currently belong to one or more of the WSBA’s 29 sections. The section membership year begins Jan. 1.

Member Benefits

In the past year, WSBA Sections have sponsored approximately 70 CLE seminars and hosted multiple professional networking events around the state. Various sections offer a plethora of member benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • List serve communities
  • Newsletters, reports, deskbooks, and sourcebooks
  • Free and discounted CLEs
  • Opportunities to engage in the Washington state legislative process

...and more! Join a Section Today!

Interested in Section Leadership?

Each section is led by a group of volunteers who are elected to serve on the executive committee. Many find leading a section to be a rewarding experience because of the leadership growth, professional development, firsthand experience with the legislative process, and collegiality it offers. Executive committee discussions are productive and challenging, offering a unique opportunity to work with other legal professionals in a goal-oriented setting that benefits WSBA members and the greater legal community.

WSBA Sections are currently seeking section members to fill openings on their section executive committees for terms beginning Oct. 1, 2021. Consider applying to become a section leader!

Apply today!

For general sections questions, send an email with your Bar number to sections@wsba.org or call 800-945-9722.


WSBA Sections

 

Updated: Oct. 1, 2021

Civil Rights Law Section

Approved by the WSBA Board of Governors in December 2008, the Civil Rights Law Section invites you to become a member. Section membership is open to any Active member of the WSBA, as well as specially admitted members such as emeritus, military, or foreign house counsel. Any other interested person may become a non-voting subscriber of the Section upon payment of annual dues.

The Civil Rights Law Section sponsors CLEs on civil rights law and provides a forum for activities with civil rights organizations throughout the state. The Section focuses on the practice and policy of civil rights law, which includes the rights of racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual-orientation minorities; immigrants; those with a mental or physical disability; and the impoverished; as well as issues regarding freedom of speech; freedom from state-promulgated religion; and privacy rights.

The Section developed out of the WSBA Civil Rights Committee, which had been a standing committee since the Bar was formed in 1933.

Annual Report  |  Budget  |  Bylaws  |  Year in Review  |  Value Statement

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2021 CIVIL RIGHTS LAW SECTION AWARD CEREMONY


Each year, the Civil Rights Law Section (CRLS) recognizes individuals and organizations who have made notable contributions to the cause of civil rights.

Our Section’s mission is to educate and advocate for civil liberties and equal rights in the context of civil rights law and legal issues of Washington State residents. In pursuit of this mission, we believe that anti-racism, racial equity, and community-centered lawyering are central to the fair administration of justice and to advancing and protecting the civil rights of all people. Carrying the legacy and standing on the shoulders of those who have fought for equity and civil rights, we believe it is necessary for us to continue our obligation as lawyers to repair the harm done to communities of color caused by the legal system. We recognize that we do not have all the answers but the process of working collaboratively with and learning from impacted communities is a valuable place to start.

To that end, a primary focus of the CRLS Awards Ceremony this year is to recognize community members who have worked closely with impacted communities to make our system equitable and better for all.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CRLS 2021 Awards Ceremony will be held virtually on October 20, 2021 from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

Award recipients:

Christina Ellis – Frances B. North Civic Leader Award: Recipients of this award are attorneys, individuals or organizations that represent or advocate on behalf of people or legal issues regarding civil rights, civil liberties, or basic human rights such as freedom from discrimination, protection from abuse, or obtaining essential human services like healthcare and shelter.

The CRLS renamed its Civic Leader Award in 2019 to honor the life of Frances B. North (1919-2017), a Seattle civic leader known for her role in uniting the business sector, public schools, and city government to end segregation. Frances was the first African American woman allowed to work on the sales floor of Bests/Nordstrom. Frances brought friends, relations, and colleagues of diverse economic, cultural, religious, and ancestral backgrounds together to fight for civil rights and to celebrate in style. We honor those who carry her spirit and fortitude with this award.

Ms. Ellis was selected for this award for her selfless compassion and exceptional work aimed at dismantling racial disproportionality in education.

Junga Cha – Keeper of the Flame Award: Recipients of this award are legal professionals or legal organizations whose work carries forward civil rights protection, keeping the flame alive of past civil rights movements for future generations.  Their demonstrated commitment to protecting and advancing civil rights brings hope that our futures are in good hands.

The CRLS Executive Committee created this award in 2020 to encourage and honor those in the first half of their careers who use the tools of the legal profession toward societal healing and justice.

Ms. Cha was selected for this award for her tireless work protecting and enforcing the civil rights of communities of color in Whatcom and Skagit County and her efforts to pass on the torch to young advocates by teaching them about their civil rights and liberties.

Alejandra Gonza – Distinguished Service Award:  Recipients of this award are attorneys who have demonstrated throughout their career perseverance and commitment to the expansion or defense of civil rights protections at the local, state or national level.

Ms. Gonza was selected for this award for dedicating her career to holding institutions and corporations accountable for human rights violations as Executive Director of Global Rights Advocacy.

Tony Lee – Lifetime of Achievement Recognition

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Tony Lee. He is a civil and human rights icon who fought tirelessly as an advocate for immigrants and expanded funding for human and social service programs. We will take time to honor and recognize Mr. Lee’s lifetime of achievement. 

Vivian Caver – Lifetime of Achievement Recognition

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Ms. Vivian Caver, a civil rights giant and former legislator who fought to dismantle racial discrimination in Washington for more than half a century. We will take time to honor and recognize Ms. Caver’s lifetime of achievement. 

 

On the Passing of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Read the statement here by Molly Matter, Chair (2019-2020).


Latest Issue of the Civil Rights Law Section Newsletter

Read the Summer/Fall 2020 Issue here


Executive Committee Statement

Nationwide Black Lives Matter Protests and the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on Health, Safety, and Constitutional Rights

As legal professionals and Executive Committee members of the Civil Rights Law Section, it is our responsibility to inform and educate our members and the general public on pressing civil rights issues.  This letter was written in response to issues raised by the national Black Lives Matter movement to uphold and enforce the United States Constitution. We believe that our letter identifies those who have been most impacted by injustice and acknowledges our responsibilities as legal professionals to respond to the recent events that have undermined the administration of justice, namely the 1st, 4th, 14th and 15th Amendments. We consider the Washington Supreme Court’s June 4, 2020 letter to be in the same spirit.

Read the Executive Committee letter here.


Honoring a Legacy

Civil Rights Law Section Honors the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The mission of the Civil Rights Law Section is to educate and advocate for civil liberties and equal rights in the context of the legal issues of Washington state residents. 

Read the 2020 statement here.


WSBA Civil Rights Law Section Annual Awards

Each year, the Civil Rights Law Section recognizes individuals or organizations who have made a notable contribution to the cause of civil rights. Recipients are persons or entities who have championed the cause of equality for impoverished, under-served, minority or disabled populations in Washington state. Examples of exemplary work in this area would include, but are not limited to, those who regularly fight on local or state government levels for expansion or defense of civil rights protections, or who represent or advocate on behalf of people or issues concerning civil rights or basic human rights.

Distinguished Service Award

Recipients are attorneys who have demonstrated throughout their career perseverance and commitment to the expansion or defense of civil rights protections at the local, state or national level.

Keep of the Flame Award

Recipients are legal professionals or legal organizations whose work carries forward civil rights protection, keeping the flame alive of past civil rights movements for future generations.  Nominees are legal professionals or legal organizations whose demonstrated commitment to protecting and advancing civil rights brings hope to members of the Civil Rights Law Section that our futures are in good hands.

The Civil Rights Law Section Executive Committee created this award in 2020 to encourage and honor those in the first half of their careers who use the tools of the legal profession toward societal healing and justice. The first person to receive this award will be honored at the Civil Rights Law Section's Annual Membership Meeting and Reception in September 2020.

Frances B. North Civic Leader Award

Recipients are attorneys, individuals or organizations that represent or advocate on behalf of people or legal issues regarding civil rights, civil liberties, or basic human rights such as freedom from discrimination, protection from abuse, or obtaining essential human services such as food, healthcare and shelter.

The Civil Rights Law Section renamed its Civic Leader Award in 2019 to honor the life of Frances B. North (1919-2017), a Seattle civic leader known for her role in uniting the business sector, public schools, and city government to end segregation. Frances North was the first African American woman allowed to work on the sales floor of Bests/Nordstrom. Frances brought friends, relations, and colleagues of diverse economic, cultural, religious and ancestral backgrounds together to fight for civil rights and to celebrate in style. We honor those who carry her spirit and fortitude with this award.

List of Award Winners (past and present)

2020 Awards Reception

The 2020 Civies Awards were presented at a remotely-held reception and concert with Afro-Folk singer songwriter Naomi Wachira, to honor 2019 and 2020 recipients. View the ceremony below.


Newsletters

Fall 2020 │  June 2017  │  Winter 2015  │  Summer 2014

Archived issues are available to section members upon request. To request an issue, please email sections@wsba.org.


Executive Committee

Chair:  Laura Sierra (2021-2022)

Chair-Elect: vacant 

Secretary: vacant 

Treasurer: vacant

Immediate Past Chair: Tobin Klusty (2021-2022) 

Young Lawyer Liaison: vacant

BOG Liaison*: Alec Stephens

At-Large Members:
Chalia Stallings-Ala'ilima (2019-2022)
Anna Taylor Moritz (2020-2023)

Sarah Derry (2020-2023)

Cameron Sheldon (2021-2023) 

Christine Ybarra (2021-2024)

*Nonvoting member

The WSBA Civil Rights Law Section Executive Committee generally conducts meetings noon–1:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the WSBA offices and via teleconference. Please contact committee member for specific details on their upcoming meeting dates and locations.


For general questions, please email your inquiries to sections@wsba.org. To get involved with the Section and for more information, please contact the Section Chair, Laura Sierra