May 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Board Hears Plan for Statewide Judicial Evaluations

 

The following are highlights from the KCBA Board of Trustees meeting held on March 18, convened by KCBA President Steven Rovig.

Washington Supreme Court Justice Charles Wiggins, King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl, retired Judge Terence Lukens and Robert Mitchell briefed the trustees on an effort they are leading to request that the Washington Supreme Court make mandatory for all counties a statewide judicial performance evaluation process. Among the reasons cited by the proponents in favor of the effort are that voters statewide need better information about judges and that the bench can improve its performance through reliable feedback.

Judicial Officer Survey Committee Chair Carl Forsberg and Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee Co-chair Jesse Dubow spoke on behalf of the chairs of KCBA's judicial-related committees to offer some initial feedback for trustees to consider. Among their concerns was that the proposal might favor sitting judges over challengers; that county and minority bar association candidate evaluation ratings might be negatively impacted; and that the ability for candidates to respond to concerns during in-person interviews could be lost.

Trustees then further engaged the proponents with additional questions about the proposal. The Board was to resume discussion at its April meeting.

Second Vice President Battuello reviewed the recommendations for 2015 annual awards. By voice vote, the Board approved the following recipients: Llew Pritchard for the Outstanding Lawyer Award; U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marsha Pechman for the William L. Dwyer Outstanding Jurist Award; Daniel Gandara for the Helen M. Geisness Outstanding Service Award; Joanna Plichta Boisen for the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award; and Robert Heller for the Pro Bono Award. Please see page 32 for registration for this year's Annual Dinner.

Rovig briefed the trustees about ongoing discussions over challenges in maintaining student and volunteer participation in the Future of the Law Institute; reported on a meeting with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien regarding the Child and Family Justice Center; and reviewed a letter he recently sent to proponents of pending legislative changes to the mandatory arbitration process, reaffirming KCBA's overall support of the program.

Executive Director Andrew Prazuch gave an update on the Breakfast With Champions planning; explained that this year's membership renewal cycle ends on March 31; asked for trustees' assistance to recruit additional new members to reach this year's membership goal; and presented an update on the ongoing communications audit (please see page 2 for more information on the communications audit).

Treasurer Jennifer Payseno reported that as of January 31, KCBA had received $2.5 million in revenue, with $1.7 million in expenses, for net income of $743,000. In addition the Association has $1.6 million in cash and cash equivalents and $866,000 in reserves. She also noted that the January MLK Luncheon revenues were down slightly over last year. Finally, she notified trustees that new financial controls for the KCBA Employment & Labor Law Section have been implemented.

YLD Chair Lori Hurl also gave the report from the Young Lawyers Division, noting that the annual Fun Run included 100 participants. She also shared that the YLD's annual "Bridging the Gap" CLE included excellent speakers and had been well received.


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