Medical Malpractice. It’s All We Do.
Charles T. Conrad
Attorney at Law, Spokane, WA
206.443.8600 | cmglaw.com
It’s All We Do.
“Working with Chemnick
Moen Greenstreet on behalf
of my profoundly disabled
friend taught me four things:
1 They work tirelessly.
2 Their medical knowledge
seems to have no end.
3 Their integrity is
4 If they ever sue me, I will
just give them the money
and walk away.”
as long as those fees are not used in
ways that violate objecting members’
First Amendment rights. After Janus,
which did not explicitly overrule Keller,
we do not know whether Keller is still
good law. As this issue of NWLawyer
was going to press, however, the U.S.
Supreme Court granted certiorari and
vacated the judgment in Fleck v. Wetch,
868 F.2d 652 (8th Cir. 2017),⁴ a bar
membership case originating in North
Dakota that directly challenges Keller
as well as earlier case law (Lathrop v.
Donohue⁵); the Court remanded Fleck to
the 8th Circuit for further consideration
in light of Janus. Meanwhile, lawyers
in some mandatory bar states have
been quick to argue that the Janus
ruling applies to bar associations.
(See “Bar Membership After Janus”
on page 18 for a deeper analysis.) In
light of this shifting legal landscape,
the Washington Supreme Court in
September unanimously decided to
review WSBA’s structure. Chief Justice
Fairhurst referred to this period as a
“time out” and made it clear that WSBA
bylaw amendments are on hold until
bigger-picture questions are answered.
• What’s the question at hand?
Is WSBA’s integrated structure—and all
its related functions—compliant with
recent antitrust and First Amendment
decisions and, if not, what needs to
change? Bars across the nation are set up
in various ways. Some are voluntary, with
members choosing to join for professional
services and the state supreme court
overseeing all regulatory functions.
Others are mandatory, with members
required to join, and the bar may or may
not administer regulatory functions (e.g.,
Wisconsin is mandatory but does not
administer regulatory functions; Virginia
and North Carolina are mandatory but
only administer regulatory functions
and there is a second voluntary state bar
association as well in each of these states).
WSBA is an integrated bar, which means
members are required to join, and the bar
administers both regulatory functions as
well as professional-association services.
Unlike some other states with integrated
bars, in Washington, the Supreme Court
has delegated all regulatory functions
to WSBA to administer on its behalf.
Although WSBA administers these
regulatory systems, the Washington
Supreme Court retains final authority
over regulatory decisions such as
admissions or imposition of discipline.
The aforementioned federal precedent
has implications for both the regulatory
and professional association aspects of an
• What is WSBA’s role? As WSBA
leaders, we have for years been
closely tracking national trends in bar
restructuring and reporting back to the
Board of Governors and the Washington
Supreme Court. After the Janus decision,
President's Corner + Bar Notes