Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

President's Page: Join Us Once Again for Breakfast with Champions – Live and In Person!

April 2022 Bar Bulletin

By Jeffrey Frank 

Breakfast with Champions is back, live and in person! This event has often been characterized as the best of its kind. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we had to go virtual the last two years. While we made the most of those events, we missed the chance to see our friends and colleagues in person. Perhaps you have grown accustomed to watching Zoom presentations while multi-tasking in your sweat pants. However, I implore you to consider the following scene — a room full of lawyers, uncharacteristically silent, listening intently to the remarks from an inspiring keynote speaker, the thought provoking comments from a diversity scholar, and the heart-wrenching story from a pro bono client. That is the scene you will experience, in person, if you join us for this year’s Breakfast with Champions!

We will gather for this year’s Breakfast on May 12, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. at The Westin Seattle. Our Keynote Speaker will be Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, author of several acclaimed books, including Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy, and speechwriter for and deputy domestic policy advisor to President Bill Clinton, among many other accomplishments. Mr. Liu’s message of engaged citizenship aligns wonderfully with the mission of the King County Bar Foundation, which includes active public service and the engagement in public policy.

Contributions from our sponsors and those attending the Breakfast support more than 50 minority law students from Seattle University and the University of Washington Law Schools. This year you will get to meet one of these incredibly impressive scholarship recipients. I suspect you will leave the event thinking our bar will be in good hands in the coming years.

Your donations will also support King County Bar Association’s pro bono programs, which continue to provide last-resort safety and security to thousands of those in our community who have rarely met lawyers, much less hired one. The consequences faced by someone with severe housing insecurity and personal safety needs cannot be overstated. Without the support of our incredibly hard-working pro bono attorneys and volunteers, these individuals would likely need to navigate the court system on their own.

The ethic of the lawyers in our community who help those in need stretches back to the remarkable beginning the King County Bar Association. If you had a chance to read the February edition of the Bar Bulletin you know why a group of civic-minded citizens saw the need for an association of ethical and responsible lawyers.1 I will not repeat the entire story here but will pull one of the key points from that article regarding the founding principles of KCBA, which were grounded in the notion of public service for those in need. During the tragic anti-Chinese rioting of 1886, members of the local bar jumped to action, initially joining with others in the community in their attempts to suppress the forced expulsion of the Chinese living in the Puget Sound. Sadly, some of those involved in the expulsion effort were lawyers. After forming what is now the King County Bar Association, the new leadership passed its very first resolution, censuring the lawyers involved in the expulsion and calling them out as “pestilential agitators” and the “the worst enemies of society.”

While KCBA has ceded its ethics and professional responsibility duties to the WSBA, the call to serve is still at the core of what we do. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on those in our community who were already struggling to make ends meet. The demands on KCBA staff and volunteers working within our Pro bono programs has never been greater. Our neighbors who are at risk of being evicted from their homes can turn to the Housing Justice Project for help. KCBA also provides support to families experiencing domestic violence, which has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. These are no-barrier programs, which means we do not turn anyone away who financially qualifies, including undocumented individuals.

We are fortunate to be part of an association of lawyers who are engaged and committed to our community members in need. KCBA was founded on principles of justice and public service. Breakfast with Champions is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate those principles of justice and service, and to give concrete support to programs that are proven to help those in need. I hope to see you, bright and early at the Westin, on May 12th to resume that celebration! 

Jeffrey Frank is President of the King County Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.

1 See Anti-Chinese Riots, Hallers, and the King County Bar Association; a very thoughtfully crafted article by authors Lynne Hyde and Mark A. Griffin, February 2022 Bar Bulletin.

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