From the Desk of the Executive Director
Bench-Bar Conference Set for November 11
By Andrew Prazuch
One of KCBA's most "highly regarded" programs will be offered again this fall - the annual Bench Bar Conference. Please save the date on your calendar!
Why do I call it highly regarded? Lots of reasons. The first is that I don't need a thesaurus to come up with adjectives to describe the program. I just need to look at the comments that past attendees have written on their evaluation forms in describing the program: "really excellent," "very good," "very nice," "great," "so valuable," "very informative," and "terrific" are among the most-repeated descriptions.
A second reason is that, of all our programs each year, the Bench-Bar Conference is the one best attended by judges in our state. This single-day program averages a dozen judge faculty members (always coupled with attorney panelists) and we see total attendance by at least 20 judges each year out of the 130 average overall attendance. You'll see judges from each level of the bench, from Municipal Court to District Court and from Superior Court to the Court of Appeals, all the way up to the Washington Supreme Court. At what other educational program could you find such a number and variety of judges under one roof other than a judges-only conference?
We include a great deal of interactive time for attorneys and judges to ask questions of each other, share opinions and even continue discussions that begin during a panel into refreshment breaks between sessions. I've heard both judges and lawyers tell me how much they value this chance to visit with each other outside the formality of the courthouse. What a great opportunity to build relationships with one another, whether attorneys and judges are in court or gathered together as members of the collective legal profession!
Another reason for the highly regarded label is that the overall program and individual sessions are deliberately designed to be broad and of interest to every attorney and judge in our region, no matter what hat you wear day to day (does anyone out there still wear hats?). While we might dedicate one or two of the day's sessions to litigation tips or updates on recent changes to local rules, the bulk of our sessions will be of interest to all judges and lawyers.
And if we accept the proposition that each of us serves as a steward of the overall justice system, then each of us has an obligation to be informed about the policy changes, opportunities and challenges facing the legal community, no matter how our own work in the legal profession takes shape. This one-day program is a great way to gain that up-to-date knowledge.
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