of any major proposals likely won’t take
place during your term as president,
do you foresee the structure of WSBA
governance being significantly transformed in the coming years?
The WSBA and the profession are in a period of transition and I see that continuing over the next 5–10 years. There are
many good ideas in the Governance Task
Force report that are in the best interest
of the profession. However, any significant structural changes to the WSBA will
secondary. Although you may not be
directly involved in this issue as WSBA
president, what are your thoughts on
whether WSBA members should expect
the organization to look out for their interests, too?
I believe that even framing the ques-
tion as primary and secondary duties
is setting up a false dichotomy. I do not
believe that a duty to the profession
and the public is really any different
than serving the interest of members or
tions, the loss in efficiency and coordina-
tion provided by the unified mandatory
model has generally not been a positive
recipe for long-term health of the profes-
sion, protection of the public, or service
to its members. These models also make
it harder to unify a message for the pro-
fession and for the independence of prac-
tice and the judiciary. If our board and
Supreme Court keep the quality of the
profession in mind in making decisions
about unified versus divided governance
systems, then I do not see them choosing
take three-sided project teamwork. The
Board of Governors, the Supreme Court,
and the Legislature all have some part in
any significant restructuring of the Bar,
and that level of change would require
some unprecedented cooperation among
the three entities to accomplish a positive
However, that kind of broad structural
change may not be necessary for immediate and concrete changes that would
benefit the members and the profession.
There are some changes that the WSBA
can implement that would enhance how
the WSBA works and would not require
fundamental restructuring of the Bar.
Changes can be made to how the Board
works, and how the Board interacts with
the Supreme Court, that can have immediate and positive changes for the WSBA,
for the practice of law, and for the public.
As the Board works on this next year,
we can make a good start on constructive
changes, and if we perform well at those,
then any action on the larger structural
recommendations will certainly be easier
to implement if all the stakeholders can
agree on a direction.
One theme that runs through the Governance Task Force proposal and has
prompted much discussion among the
Board is an explicit acknowledgement
that Board members’ duty is to protect
the Bar as an institution, the justice
system, and the public, and that while
supporting WSBA members’ interests
in some ways is permissible, it is clearly
constituents, and the two are certainly
not hierarchical or exclusive priorities.
Serving our members, educating our
members, and preparing our members
to serve their clients are all to the better,
for the practice, for the legal system, and
for the public. Likewise, educating and
protecting the public, as well as supporting an efficient and independent judicial
system, will only enhance the ability of
our members to serve their clients by
fostering mutual trust in their legal relationships and the legal system.
Probably the ultimate issue regarding
WSBA governance is the question of
whether the Bar will remain a mandatory, or “unified,” bar or whether
regulatory functions might one day
be transferred to the Supreme Court
or another entity, in which case any
“trade association” aspects would
be carried out solely by one or more
voluntary bar associations. Legislation to that effect has been proposed
from time to time. Although it hasn’t
gained traction so far, do you believe
the mandatory bar concept will survive long-term in Washington?
Unified, mandatory bar associations
have historically demonstrated that they
are the best situated to handle the chal-
lenges of managing and regulating the
profession. I would defer to our executive
staff for the statistics, but in reviewing
the ability of bar associations to perform
with divided voluntary/mandatory func-
a divided system, because the problems
it solves are outweighed by the benefits
of a unified bar.
Who has had the biggest overall posi-
tive influence on you, in your legal ca-
reer or otherwise?
It seems like a cop-out answer, but the list
is too numerous to be fair to all the people
who have had a positive influence on me.
I have had two professions as an adult,
and a wide-ranging education, making
the number of people who have had formative roles in my development truly uncountable. I would feel ashamed to think
I missed someone and I can easily say I
could never choose any single person.
As an alternative, I offer some quotations
which have had a positive meaning to me,
reflect my leadership style, and are “go
to” motivations to serve.
On the topic of why I serve others:
“It is clear that something is seriously
lacking in the way we humans are going
about things. But what is it that we lack?
The fundamental problem, I believe, is
that at every level we are giving too much
attention to the external, material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics
and inner values. By inner values, I mean
the qualities that we all appreciate in others, and toward which we all have a natural instinct, bequeathed by our biological
nature as animals that survive and thrive
only in an environment of concern, af-
THE BOARD IS GOING TO HAVE AN AMAZING LEVEL OF INPUT AND IMPACT
IN HOW THAT FUTURE OF THE PROFESSION LOOKS, AND WE HAVE A VERY
TALENTED AND DIVERSE BOARD TAKING ON THOSE CHALLENGES.