What a difference a month can make! I am honored to introduce myself as your WSBA President, a role I assumed unexpectedly in March when Brad Furlong resigned his leadership position for medical reasons. As President-Elect since last September, I have greatly admired Brad’s fierce advocacy for the rule of law and diversity and inclusion; to him, I extend my sincere appreciation as well as my assurance that I will carry forward that same passion through his term and into my own, which will run through September 2019. Be well, friend, and thank you for your service to our profession.
I am a 20-year member of the bar, born and raised in Yakima, and proud to serve this community as a solo practitioner focused on trial advocacy in matters of personal injury, wrongful death, civil rights, police misconduct, and medical malpractice. Before college, I worked in Alaska as a commercial fisherman and deep-sea diver, which taught me to work hard and accept the risks that come from living a full life. I also learned the joy of exploration, which still shapes my daily life—from thoroughly getting to know my clients’ stories to building schools in Cambodia.
I love my family above all else, and if you can’t find me in the office, I’ll be spending time with my wife Laura and our three teenage children, Jack, Grant, and Maddie (as well as my less official kin, who convene on Sundays during football season wearing blue and green). I also teach mock trial in local high schools and am an adjunct faculty member in the LL.M Trial Advocacy Degree Program for Temple University School of Law.
Looking ahead to the next 18 months, WSBA’s mission will serve as the blueprint for my term as President: “To serve the public and members of the Bar, to ensure the integrity of the legal profession, and to champion justice.” Foremost, WSBA must remain a leader helping our members prepare for the future of the practice of law.
One of my most important responsibil- ities is to guide the Board of Governors toward big-picture issues like evolving models of legal regulation, innovation in practice and technology, and our great need to expand access to justice.
The foundation for these future-oriented conversations is rooted in diversity of people, thought, and practice. The legacy of inequity for marginalized communities must be addressed. We simply cannot keep pace with the changing world by doing things the way they have always been done, perpetuating a legal system that does not work well—or at all—for many.
In navigating my leadership role, I will rely on my core values: amplifying diverse voices, listening a lot, understanding deeply, earning trust, ascribing good intentions and—when stuck—getting everyone together in a room for a conversation.
Please join with me, the Board of Governors, and WSBA staff on this jour- ney—we can accomplish nothing on our own. We will get out on the road on a listening tour, and if you have a specific event you’d like me to attend or a group you’d like me to meet with, please let me know. I want to hear from you.
It’s an honor to serve and to be a colleague. NWL