June 2022 Bar Bulletin
Friend of the Legal Profession Award
By Kimberly Reppart of Forsberg & Umlauf P.S.
Attorney Rachel Black had a baby the same year she became a partner candidate: 2005. Home on maternity leave and unsure of how her new role as a mother would affect her career, Rachel found support from another mother attorney she met at a parenting group. Rachel soon realized that her connection with another attorney navigating the return to full-time practice while balancing new motherhood was invaluable, but there were no resources in the Seattle legal community providing similar support to mama attorneys. Rachel and her friend, Lorraine Lewis Phillips, determined to start an organization uniquely focused on providing attorney mothers with support, mentorship and networking opportunities. Rachel and Lorraine sent out an email blast and they were soon bombarded with messages from women all over Seattle, many of whom devoted countless hours to setting up Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association Seattle (MAMA Seattle). “Clearly,” reflected Rachel Black, “we were fulfilling a need.”
The King County Bar Association is pleased to honor MAMA Seattle with the 2022 Friend of the Legal Profession Award. MAMA Seattle’s mission is to empower mother attorneys and to support the professional and personal development women practicing both law and parenthood. MAMA Seattle organizes robust programming in several formats. Its popular focused lunchtime seminars and panel discussions addressing topics of particular interest to lawyers balancing motherhood, including:
- Work-life balance
- Financial planning
- Careers in private practice, in-house counsel positions and government work
- Talking to children about drugs and alcohol
- Marketing and networking techniques
- Impact of COVID on women in the legal profession
In 2016, MAMA Seattle sponsored Washington’s first chapter of the Ladder Down program, a year-long program that provides training and career development through a combination of coaches, sponsors, and participants to empower women lawyers in three critical areas: leadership, business development, and mentoring. The program requires goal-driven commitment and comprises monthly large group training sessions and periodic small group accountability sessions. Ladder Down provides women lawyers with the skills needed to develop an independent book of business resulting in increased compensation, promotion, effective competition for leadership positions and successful pursuit of professional opportunities.
A central component of MAMA Seattle’s mission is its mentoring program designed to connect a first-time law-student or attorney mother with a practicing mother who can provide advice, support and encouragement on managing motherhood and work responsibilities. As shared by a former MAMA Seattle board member:
“After joining MAMAS while on maternity leave last year, I found myself struggling with the work-motherhood balance during my first six months back. I am truly grateful for the time, support and compassion from other MAMAS members. If nothing else, I was able to take solace that these successful women found a way to make it work — perhaps I could as well.”
MAMA Seattle also hosts an active online forum, where jobs are posted, referrals are made and members seek advice on a variety of issues including how to tell clients and superiors about a pregnancy and how to transition to maternity leave and back. It offers scholarships for mother law students and has a committee working on legislation regarding lactation facilities in courthouses.
Past president Lori Hurl says, “Women struggle every day with balancing the never-ending demands of being a mother and a lawyer. But at the end of the day, we know we can do this because we see, we learn, and we lean on other incredible women in this organization.”
You can help MAMA Seattle as it continuously advances the importance of supporting working parents in the profession by taking a short survey on the impact of parenthood on lawyers in private practice. This issue of the Bar Bulletin contains a QR code for the survey, which can be taken by any attorney of any gender identity who has ever been in private practice in King County, whether a parent or not.
KCBA is proud to recognize MAMAS’ commitment to supporting hundreds, if not thousands of practicing attorney mothers who are able to contribute their time, talent and creativity to their clients, careers and the greater Seattle legal community because of the mentorship and encouragement of their peers.
Outstanding Lawyer Award
Roy A. Umlauf
By Marty Pujolar
It is a privilege to write in honor of KCBA’s 2022 Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award recipient, Roy Umlauf. Roy, along with Carl Forsberg, founded Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S. in 1993. Roy was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2019. The honor is extended by invitation only to experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality. It is this same high standard of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality that makes Roy an outstanding choice for KCBA’s 2022 Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award.
Roy is selfless with his time and commitment to firm and bar. Roy is a member, executive board member, and past president of the Washington State Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Roy has held multiple leadership positions with the Washington State Defense Trial Lawyers Association and has received its highest honor, the Jack Scholfield Award. Roy is also a trustee of the Foundation for Washington State Courts. When Covid first threatened to shut down King County Courts, Roy was integral in working with Judges, WDTL, KCBA, ABOTA, and others in developing virtual jury trial processes that have become an example for courts in other jurisdictions.
Roy is a problem solver. As stated by Roy’s longtime friend and law partner, Carl Forsberg, “some people think outside of the box, Roy lives outside of box!” Instead of being frozen by the uncertainties of Covid, Roy was focused on connecting with and strengthening relationships with clients through virtual communication, education, collaboration, and training. This is just one example of how Roy sees opportunities rather than problems. Roy is constantly coming up with new and creative ways to present his cases to the ultimate benefit of his clients.
Roy is always thinking how he can assist, train, and mentor others both inside and outside of his firm to make them better lawyers and to further their careers. I can personally attest to, and am grateful for Roy’s mentoring and tutelage over the years. Roy encourages attorneys to challenge themselves for professional growth. Outside of his firm, Roy has taught over 100 CLEs and is an adjunct professor at Seattle University Law School.
Roy is well liked and held in high esteem by attorneys and staff in his firm. Roy is quick with a smile and a kind word to everyone in the office and brings the essential element of “fun” to firm activities. Roy genuinely cares about the well-being of everyone in the firm. When Covid first threatened to lock down Seattle, the firm held a meeting and made a commitment to keep all employees while adapting to restrictions.
Roy is highly respected by both sides of the bar and judiciary. Plaintiff attorney Michael Wampold captures Roy’s essence perfectly: “If the legal profession had one lawyer to model themselves from, I would nominate Roy Umlauf. He works hard for his clients but always maintains his professionalism. He is funny, kind, generous, and an incredibly good lawyer. For anyone who disputes that you can be a zealous advocate and a true professional, I would cite to Roy Umlauf.” Plaintiff attorney Ann Rosato further provides: “When I get a Notice of Appearance with Roy’s name, I know that the case will be well-defended by an excellent opponent, but I also know that Roy will be a pleasure to work with, fair, honest, and thoughtful in all of our dealings. Roy practices with the utmost professionalism, and it’s just fun to have a case against him. Put simply, he is a class act.”
Roy embodies both inspiration and aspiration. Not only does Roy inspire those who he works with, but those who he works with also aspire to reach and uphold the high level of professionalism and standard of excellence set by Roy. Congratulations Roy on being the recipient of KCBA’s 2022 Outstanding Lawyer Award. Very well deserved!
Outstanding Judge Award
Judge James E. Rogers
By Mike Wampold and Kinnon Williams
King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers, described by his colleagues as a steady hand, was instrumental in shepherding the King County Court system through the Covid-19 pandemic. In his role as Presiding Judge, Judge Rogers was responsible for obtaining funding and overseeing technological upgrades and implementing the robust public health and safety protocols needed to address the tremendous backlog caused by the pandemic. With this funding the Court was able to hire additional staff and judicial officers while at the same time keeping the other departments in the courthouse running strong. Under Judge Rogers’s leadership, King County kept the wheels of justice moving by trying civil and family trials remotely. During the pandemic King County tried over a hundred remote jury trials and hundreds of remote bench trials. No other major county court system in the country tried anywhere close to this number of remote trials.
Many of the innovations employed to try cases remotely under Judge Rogers’s leadership have proved to be so effective they are likely to remain. For example, doing voir dire using remote technology has proved to be revolutionary. Instead of citizens having to spend days in the courthouse only to find out they were not selected for a trial, now people can report for an hour or so on their computers. This innovation has allowed people to participate in trial who could not have participated before. The participation rate of summoned jurors has skyrocketed. Further, many judges have observed that the economic, racial, and ethnic diversity of those participating on juries has increased noticeably. Judge Rogers’s leadership and willingness to innovate during the dark days of the pandemic, has accelerated this positive change in the justice system that hopefully will be a model for the nation. When the history of justice in the time of Covid is written, Judge Rogers will go down as one of the most important leaders and a beacon in an otherwise dark period for the justice system.
Judge Rogers also is widely considered one of the best trial judges in the region. He’s a mentor to many less experienced judges in the courthouse. Litigants of all stripes are pleased when they learn that he will be the trial judge. He has a great judicial demeanor, an excellent sense of humor and legendary patience, even with difficult lawyers and parties. It is for these and many other reasons that Judge Jim Rogers is well deserving of this award.
First elected to King County Superior Court in 2005, Judge Rogers served as Presiding Judge from 2019 through 2021, following acting as Assistant Presiding Judge from 2016 through 2018 and Chief Criminal Judge in 2014 to 2015. A fourth-generation Seattleite and third-generation Washington Husky, Judge Rogers graduated from the University of Washington in 1982 with a degree in history. He later went on to serve in Sierra Leone as a Peace Corps volunteer returning to the states to enter law school and graduating from Georgetown University in 1988.
As a lifelong volunteer, Judge Rogers has remained active on many boards and commissions including the Washington Pattern Instruction Committee, the Superior Court Judges Association Judicial Education Committee, and Freedom Education Project Puget Sound Board, which provides college education and reentry assistance to women incarcerated in prison. He previously served on the Washington Courts Board of Judicial Administration, the Sex Offender Policy Board, and the University Heights Community Center Board.
Outstanding New lawyer Award
Conrad A. Reynoldson
By Benjamin Byers
This year, the New Lawyer Division (“NLD”) considered three finalists for this award, each highlighting remarkable and inspirational attorneys in our community: Fadi Assaf, Matthew Woods, and Conrad Reynoldson. Each of these finalists met all of the criteria for the award, and the ONL commends and congratulates each of these nominees. After a long and thorough deliberation, NLD is proud to announce Conrad Reynoldson, the founding member of the disability rights law firm Washington Civil & Disability Advocate, as this year’s Outstanding New Lawyer. Conrad stands out for his significant contributions to the legal profession not only in his groundbreaking representative work, but also in his efforts to train the next generation of disability rights attorneys.
As his nominator, Taryn Darling, described:
“Conrad is a power chair using attorney who founded his own law firm in 2017 — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit disability rights law . . . He founded his firm to advocate for the disability community in Washington state and beyond through systemic litigation, education, and legislative advocacy. One of his recent impact litigation cases included advocating for plaintiffs for equal access at Mariner’s Stadium under the ADA, where he successfully convinced the Ninth Circuit to remand the case because the district court had erred by failing to analyze the additional requirement that a person using a wheelchair must be able to see the playing surface over the heads of the persons standing two rows in front.”
Conrad has been repeatedly recognized for his work — he received a DO-IT Trailblazer Award in 2012, the Carlson-Parker Award from Pacific Justice Institute in 2016, the Ron Adams Outstanding Advocate Award from the Northwest Access Fund in 2017, and the Public Service & Leadership Award, Young Lawyers Committee of Washington State Bar Association in 2018.
Conrad also serves as a Commissioner on the Washington Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is an at large board member of the Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association. What particularly impressed NLD — and what set Conrad apart from the other finalists — was Conrad’s commitment to training the next generation of disability rights attorneys. Despite only employing two attorneys, Conrad’s law firm regularly takes on two to four interns at a time, providing them with opportunities to do substantive work that “moves the needle” for the disability community.
NLD is proud to select Conrad as this year’s Outstanding New Lawyer.
Pro Bono Award
Caroline D. Davis
By Judy Lin, Pro Bono Services Director
The King County Bar Association is proud to recognize Caroline Davis for the Pro Bono Award.
Caroline Davis has been a valued volunteer for the Kinship Care Solutions Project and the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy (DV LEAD) Project. Caroline has made significant contributions through her exceptional pro bono client advocacy and mediation services in helping to resolve contested family law cases.
Caroline has volunteered for the Kinship Care Solutions Project representing relatives who are caring for children who have been abandoned, abused, and neglected by their parents. Caroline’s representation stands out for many reasons. The cases that she has accepted have required her to tackle complex legal issues, learn and apply new law, navigate multiple legal proceedings (e.g., guardianship, family, immigration, dependency) and pursue creative legal options. On top of that, these cases have required quick legal action to provide stability and safety to vulnerable children. Caroline uses her many years of legal experience, compassion for our clients’ situations, and her courage to think outside the box in order to bring effective results. In two of her recent cases that she handled for the Kinship Care Solutions Project, her diligent advocacy in nonparental custody and minor guardianship cases helped undocumented, abused children to apply for humanitarian immigration relief thereby promising them safer and better futures in the U.S.
One of Caroline’s pro bono clients said, “Ms. Davis took our custody case when nobody else would. It was just too complicated. . . . Ms. Davis's hard work and dedication resulted in my nephew's very complicated custody case getting approved and him being able to apply for legal status in the United States.”
In addition to her client representation, Caroline has provided pro bono mediation in contested protection order/parenting plan and minor guardianship cases for the Kinship and DV LEAD Projects. Again, these cases have involved highly sensitive facts involving domestic violence and child abuse and complicated legal issues. Caroline leverages her legal expertise to help parties focus on the best interests of the child and facilitated negotiated settlements thereby avoiding the trauma and uncertainties of trial.
According to Kim Todaro, Managing Attorney for the DV LEAD Project, “For years, Caroline has sought out ways to support the DV LEAD Project (formerly the Mentor Program) by offering her unique skill set in both mentoring attorneys new to the practice in court appearances and generously offering her time to provide pro bono services in mediation in complicated cases where children are at risk. Caroline has never turned down a request to assist in a case. This is a well-deserved recognition for a true supporter of our pro bono family law programs.”
For her commitment and compassion in advocating for our clients and increasing access to justice, KCBA is proud to recognize Caroline Davis for the Pro Bono Award.