November 2013 Bar Bulletin
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Board Tackles I-502 Ethics Issues



The following are highlights from the KCBA Board of Trustees meeting held on September 18, convened by KCBA President Anne Daly.

The Board picked up its consideration of proposed changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct related to Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization measure passed in November. Daly gave a brief overview of the last meeting's discussion and decisions taken.

Peter Talevich, a trustee from the the KCBA Young Lawyers Division, reviewed the YLD's recommendations about the I-502 issues pending before the Board. American Bar Association Delegate Thomas Fitzpatrick explained the importance of approving the proposed comment to RPC 8.4, in addition to last month's Board recommendation for a new RPC 8.6. After discussion, the trustees voted 10-2 to recommend that the Supreme Court adopt a new comment to Rule 8.4. (At its October 16 meeting, the Board approved the adoption of an advisory ethics opinion addressing client issues associated with businesses operating under the I-502 regulations and attorneys' legal use of marijuana. See pages 12–13 for this opinion.)

First Vice President Steven Rovig briefed the trustees on the recent King County Council recommendation supporting an amendment to the King County Charter to make permanent the existence of the new King County Department of Public Defense. David Chapman, director of the King County Office of Public Defense, responded to trustees' questions about the charter amendment. Secretary Robert Wayne reminded the Board about its earlier discussions regarding public defense changes and presented additional comments in opposition to board approval.

On a 7-3 vote, with two abstentions, the Board defeated a motion to endorse the charter amendment. A second motion to take no position on the amendment was approved on a 7-1 vote, with three abstentions.

Information items were then presented to the Board. Daly announced that she was appointing three ad hoc committees to address issues that were identified at the Board's summer retreat and will report back in the months ahead to the full Board. The three groups will focus on leadership development, member services and technology.

Associate Executive Director Kathleen Jensen gave an update on the office move/lease renewal process, including a review of space needs, selection of the firm Flinn Ferguson as KCBA's commercial real estate broker, and pending interviews for selection of an architect/space planner.

Executive Director Andrew Prazuch next presented highlights from the draft June 30 financial statements showing revenues of $2.95 million, expenses of $3 million and a net loss for the fiscal year of $51,000. He explained that the current loss projection is not the final number and that additional revenues remain to be recognized along with additional fund transfers from the King County Bar Foundation. He still anticipates a year-end deficit due to a required accounting charge. Final numbers were to be shared with the Board and reviewed by the association's independent CPA firm during October for later presentation to the Board.

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